The Porch

Welcome to DORO – Pull Up a Chair

Business and the Pancake Principles

When your typical process no longer works, how do you fix it?

The Best Mix!

On my last two attempts, my tested, trusted pancake recipe failed me. I learned to make them nearly 30 years ago at the apron of my grandmother who taught me to cook by “feeling.” We didn’t measure much. I still cook the same way today, trusting some invisible measuring cup in my wrist to tell me that it’s just the right amount of salt, cinnamon or garlic. Many business owners use that same internal clock.

While operating a business or managing a project, we often begin with a scripted sheet to outline the specific steps required to complete it. Continuity and consistency keep business on track. We amend it slightly to adjust to new technologies or additional staff, but the core of it remains. It’s been proven and it’s comfortable. It’s what we know to do. And we always trust our gut. Then along comes the project that doesn’t quite work with the set strategy we’ve used for years or very long months.  Something is off and we can’t identify it.

So how do we fix the pancake problem?  At first I was just going to throw out the batter and try again, and again, until I got the familiar taste and texture.  But as my old uncle would say, “If you keep doing what you always did, you gonna get what got.” Developing new procedures or updating old ones requires a certain amount of reflection and refocus.  I decided on this approach to the batter that I hope will also work with my business.

The Pancake Principles

  1. Call the Cooks – Someone else out there grapples with the same issues that you have. Someone you trust, who also shares your same focus on exceptional results has tackled the same topic. Ask them for feedback and tips.
  2. Try New Ingredients; Know Your Old Ones Well – Even if you haven’t changed your approach, it doesn’t mean that your subcontractors, vendors or other professionals have changed theirs. If something has shifted, stay in touch with the market to know where to find the best new talent.
  3. Don’t Throw Out Everything – Perhaps there’s just one small glitch in your method. Keep what works and identify the trouble spot as quickly as possible.
  4. Test Before Serving – Test any new processes or procedures with internal projects before using them with clients or customers. [I learned that lesson the hard way!]

Here’s to tasty brunch and the best product possible! Do you have anything to add? Please share!

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