Recently, I saw an episode of Restaurant Impossible that reaffirmed an important lesson about managing: everyone wants their boss to trust them, and there’s nothing like delegation to show trust. When trust isn’t present, it can crush an employee’s spirit … and organizational performance, right along with it.
On the Food Network show, Restaurant Impossible, chef Robert Irvine works with once-thriving and now-floundering restaurants to turn them around (in 48 hours or less!). Each episode features innumerable business lessons about failing to listen to customers, slowly degrading quality standards, and not keeping up with industry trends—and the stories are often heart-breaking (i.e., owners who have put their lives into an establishment, only to see their dreams slip away slowly day after day as business declines and debts mount).
This particular episode told the story of a once-successful family steakhouse that had lost its way—with the husband-and-wife ownership team working more and more hours and seeing fewer and fewer customers. Chef Irvine helped the husband see that his need for control was one of the central problems in the operation. Example: He spent hours each day portioning out the meat into 8 ounce filets, 12 ounce chops, etc. When asked why he couldn’t have his chefs do this as part of their daily routine, he replied: “Because I have to do it.” When asked how long his chefs had been with him, I was stunned by his answer: “25 years each.”
25 years and he didn’t even trust his chefs to trim meat. Not surprisingly, they Continue reading