Did you ever have a soup that fell flat on the flavor meter? Sometimes it’s a simple seasoning deficiency. Sometimes it’s a lousy recipe. Achieving depth of flavor in recipes isn’t easy. In Japanese cooking, it’s called Umami - or “essence of deliciousness.”
If you’ve been reading these entries, you know we explore the intersection of property and technology and turn our findings to all sorts of progress: pre-seed investments, remote & future of work, team dynamics, adaptive reuse development, workshops, and even small conferences. We’re in the business of figuring things out. If a recipe isn’t right, we’ll break it down and build it back it up. We want delicious (and welcome any great food ideas for The Retreat at Firefly Farm)
At Orion, the workplace Trinity is People, Platform, and Place - in that order. The 3P’s. If you take care of people, give them a great platform from which to work, and offer regular opportunities to gather at an inspiring place - you’ve already started with the freshest ingredients. It’s not hard to build depth and flavor when you start with the right base.
So how can we build depth into the recipe? We need a couple more P’s.
Purpose: If a company has a mission statement, individuals need purpose. We’re not talking about a job description, that’s WHAT they do…..we’re talking about purpose…. WHY they do it. The flat recipe will define the job and pay accordingly - like transactional food. It’s there when you need it, but you’re not paying much attention to anything but your body signaling for food. The recipe of depth, on the other hand, explains why the ingredients are important. It highlights regenerative practices and illustrates the importance of sourcing. Knowing where our food comes from connects us more intimately with the recipe. Purpose is no different. It leads to a greater depth within relationships. It leads to curiosity. It leads to a better WHY which leaves everyone more fulfilled. Umami.
Persistence: This one is tough because it refers to perseverance in spite of fatigue or frustration….of which the workforce has been fed heavy doses of both. Persistence is a temperament trait, something institutions, and organizations have experience with, but in a more mechanized, industrial way. Persistence in our recipe needs to blend the Trinity with automated continuous improvement. Bad workflows are like poorly designed cook stations - they’re frustrating and inefficient. The good news is, they’re easy to fix. There is a new world of workplace spices available through general-purpose technologies. Our understanding of the new requirement of persistence at work will help drive the recipe in the right direction by allowing the machines to remove fatigue and frustration. People need to think. Thinking = Umami.
We don’t need multiple chefs in the kitchen.
Knowing our role is as important as knowing the source of our ingredients and the order in which they come together. The workplace is dynamic. Modern orgs recognize this and break the work recipe down to the ingredient, sprinkled with best practice. Always preheat the oven while prepping. Never cut veggies and raw chicken on the same cutting board. Oil and water don’t mix.
Smart contracts are the recipe books of the future. They can incorporate purpose and persistence into the workflow without resistance. Just like the cookbooks of the past, we’re free to experiment with a dash of this or that - but the overall outcome IS the recipe as intended. In business, that means quality with efficiency with some flexibility. We have to get plates across the pass, and they have to be consistent, but there are always acceptable variations. This can be programmed. This should be programmed.
What makes great line cooks great is their ability to handle special requests (substitutions), observe the flow, keep a keen eye on quality, and communicate. They’re not thinking about the recipe - they’re thinking about the execution of the recipe. Line cooks are modern managers - always observing, always offering feedback, and always keeping an eye on the experience the food delivers. They have these skills because they know HOW and WHY to do their job. They have purpose. They have persistence.
People, Platform, Place - with purpose and persistence. The definition continues and the recipe keeps getting better.
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