Finally, a secret shared and a mystery solved.
The biscuit-making people have added a seemingly obscure piece of information to their packaging about why you should place biscuits next to each other: "To make the biscuits rise", it now clarifies. Thank goodness.
For years I have rebelled against the instructions of "place the biscuits next to each other on the cookie sheet". Why, when cooking only 4 biscuits on a cookie sheet? So, I placed them 2 inches apart, thinking somehow I was more knowledgeable in the properties of heat expansion than the biscuit pros. Especially in my own oven.
That is... until Sunday morning. After the discovery of WHY I should place the biscuits next to each other, I did just that. Miraculously, they did rise, way beyond what I thought possible of a packaged biscuit. The heat expansion worked, of course. Vertically instead of horizontally.
Really, they were beautiful and good but who cares outside of my home? I think other customers do care--regular people preparing a convenient breakfast in their own homes on any given morning. If we are taking valuable time to prepare any thing for the most important meal of the day, why not be as successful, as the biscuit makers intended?
Much of my passion about this has more to do with my work than simply baking delicious biscuits. As I work with people who manufacture a product of some kind, I have learned they are hungry for this type of "Why" information. They are pushing through the day, combining materials, widgets, coatings and more to make a good product. But, they aren't fully equipped with the understanding of why things should be put together a certain way. When something strange, difficult or mysterious happens, they work through it in their own way. Invariably, the results are mixed based on how well good information is transferred from one person to another.
This practice fosters an environment where people can be only semi-successful. Total success is possible when we develop customer-focused training for the job, clearly connecting each piece of the work to why it is important for the end user. Total success is likely realized when the people doing the work are able to make a product with this WHY understanding completely internalized.
Think about what would need to happen for those dots to connect. It may not be as easy as adding the phrase, "to make the biscuits rise" to the job instructions but that is exactly where it starts. And, it leads to total success.
Lesa Nichols Consulting is Building an Army of Problem Solvers to improve the competitiveness of US industry. She can be reached at email@example.com.