Jun 202007

I don’t care if it works. It’s not our way. I don’t care if it’s expedient, effective or simpler. It’s not right. Those sound like counter-productive and potentially hostile kinds of comments.

NOW, put them in a different context.


These are the cookbooks of organizational success. By following the recipes, we can ensure great success. My two analogies come from my kitchen. I’m the chief cook in our house, and I love it. I was a short-order cook in high school and college, and found the experiences at a small-town restaurant to be enlightening. First, I “roast” my turkey with an inch+ of water in the bottom of the roaster. Talk to a purist. They’ll tell you that’s heresy. Talk to my family. They’ll tell you I make a VERY tender, moist turkey. When I cook an omelet, I add a healthy pinch of Bisquik® biscuit mix to the eggs. My two-egg omelet is as fat and fluffy and perfect as I could ever hope. Purists (and the gluten-free crowd) will tell you it’s not an omelet.

I’m wrestling with organizational purists right now–true chefs of the organizational world. They believe that actions like mine degrade cooking. They believe that I should not advocate any kinds of organizational short-cuts because they don’t serve the process the way(s) in which the process was meant to be served. I contend that every cook I know with whom I’ve shared these two little tricks has never gone back to “purity”. Who’s right?

I believe we both are, as long as BOTH sides are honest about what’s involved here. Purity means there will be a lot of dry turkeys trying to get it right. Purity means that the processes will take a lot more time, money and effort to implement. As long as their organizations are ready to deal with that, fine. The flip side of the coin is that I need to be honest about my approaches. They are NOT the classics. They will not get you through culinary academy. But as long as I am willing to share how I’m addressing the end user’s need for moist turkey and a fluffy omelet (and creating the capacity for consistency within), I believe I am also serving the process and customer needs. Customers and end-users and implementers need to know how they can implement effectively based on EITHER school of thought. And both sides need to acknowledge that the other has its place. My problem? I don’t HAVE a problem with that. But every chef I’ve ever known does. Until the purists at least acknowledge approaches to allow for the practical, we all have problems.


Carl Pritchard

Carl Pritchard, PMP, EVP is a Senior Consultant with the Cutter Consortium's Business Technology & Digital Transformation Strategies practice. A recognized author and lecturer, Mr. Pritchard has traveled the globe speaking on the opportunities presented by risk management.


  2 Responses to “Recipe for Disaster? Or Success?”

  1. Are You Prepared For the Unexpected?…

    Speaking of disasters…
    I had the great opportunity to provide analysis for this month’s newly published Cutter Benchmark Review; “Wake Up and Be Prepared: Preventing a Full-Blown Crisis.”
    You would think that in this day and age…

  2. avatar

    Cool. I cook like my (late) grandmother. Whatever is in the kitchen. Never realized until this moment that I work pretty much the same way.

    Thanks for the insights.


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