I recently returned from a two-week trip to Italy where I spent a glorious week in Tuscany. And of course you can’t talk about Italy without mentioning the food. Which brings me to the purpose of my post: Simplicity.
Real Italian cooking (not what we get here in the U.S.) is simple. They use four or five of the best ingredients they can find and voila, the perfect dish is served. Most menus in Tuscany offer a limited selection, but what they do offer is so delicious that you can’t help but return to try the other items that you missed.
Case in point. While driving around Tuscany, my family and I stumbled upon a hidden gem, which apparently everyone else knows about. The restaurant is called Mac Dario, in the town of Panzano. Dario Cecchini, Italy’s “most famous butcher,” runs this place and there are only two things on the menu. A half-pound burger in a crisp crumb crust and a tasting menu that consists of some of his famous meats. That’s it folks. Plain, simple and delish.
The lesson I learned that day is the importance of going back to basics and keeping things simple. In business, we tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. Business leaders see a problem in the organization and they immediately implement a
full-scale investigation. Many pay big bucks for extensive climate surveys or for the implementation of 360-degree feedback programs to solve what may be a very simple problem.
What if you were to go back to the basics? Quite often the problem is less complicated than you think. Maybe you aren’t using the best ingredients (also known as your people) or you have added too many ingredients to your recipe. Or perhaps one of your ingredients has soured and needs to be replaced. Or your company is trying to be everything to everyone and failing miserably.
You don’t have to believe me. See for yourself. Simple is better in cooking and the same holds true in management.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the forthcoming book, Suddenly in
Charge! Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, January 2011). Visit Roberta’s Blog on the Generations at
Work or her Linked-in Group Suddenly in