2 Types of Manager: Are you a Cook or a Baker?

Are you a 'cook' or a 'baker'?

Are you a ‘cook’ or a ‘baker’?

You can only watch so many ‘Come Dine With Me’ programmes before springing into action. Right? So, I decided to make a first foray into baking. The guy on the telly had an IQ of about -42; if he could produce the perfect apple tart, so could I. No bother (as they say in County Louth).

Free Apples: There are a couple of apple trees in our back garden. Now, admittedly, they are the same variety that almost poisoned Snow White, but nothing that a bowlful of sugar wouldn’t fix. Some whole-wheat flour, just over a year out of date (should be grand), and a drop of water. We didn’t have any butter, so I improvised with spreadable margarine. Apparently, it also helps if you have ‘cold hands’ – something that I’ve never really acquired. One beaten egg, slathered across the top, 60 minutes in a hot oven. Voila!

Taste Test: The kids, somewhat reluctantly, tasted it and then made faces like a polar bear undergoing a circumcision. I poured a half pint of custard over the tart to disguise the taste, but it was still brutal. It felt like eating an overcooked Wheet-A-Bix with sour stuff on the inside. The final indignity was when a visiting dog, who normally devours everything short of aluminum, sniffed and then moved it to one side.

Being Precise:  Now, I always thought that cooking was more art than science. A quick look in the fridge to check possibilities, a bit of ‘mix n’ match’ and it all worked out. Hey, I can spell improvise. But, it turns out that baking is different. More precision (apparently, something called ‘measurement’ is required). All news to me. They don’t teach any of this really useful stuff in consulting school.

Managing Issues: Turns out that managing follows a similar logic. It can be quite instinctive, as you tune into your gut instinct. Sometimes you can just ‘wing it’ – knowing that your experience will pull you through. But, at other times (e.g. conducting an investigation) you need precision, evidence, not hearsay. In managing, the real trick is to know when to follow the rules of cooking (go with the flow) and when to follow the rules of baking (being precise). Yep, I’ve finally figured it out. No bother.


PS I’m friends with Tom Jordon since we met in the IMI in the early 1980’s. Last week, one of his clients was looking for someone with ‘managerial experience’ to go onto a Government regulatory board.  They also needed someone who’d ‘talk straight’.  So, Tom said: “I have the very man”.  She asked him about my background and Tom gave all the positive parts of the story. He even said “…and he writes a blog”. So, they Googled it and up popped that picture on the last blog of the pig with the huge testicles! He’ll get over it – eventually.

Lighter Note: My wife Linda told me that she was suffering from Sciatica. I said: “Jesus. That must get on your nerves”.

PS Funny Dog Clip: As part of your Executive Relation Programme, check out this short video on YouTube:


Check our website http://www.tandemconsulting.ie or call 087 2439019 for an informal discussion about executive or organization development.


About Tandem Consulting

Paul Mooney holds a Ph.D. and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Sociology from Trinity College, along with a National Diploma in Industrial Relations (NCI). He has a post-Graduate Diploma and a Masters in Coaching from UCD. Paul, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, is widely recognised as an expert on organisation and individual change. He began his working life as a butcher in Dublin before moving into production management. He subsequently held a number of human resource positions in Ireland and Asia - with General Electric and Sterling Drug. Between 2007 and 2010, Paul held the position of President, National College of Ireland. Paul is currently Managing Partner of Tandem Consulting, a team of senior OD and change specialists. He has run consulting assignments in 20+ countries and is the author of 12 books. Areas of expertise include: • Organisational Development/Change & conflict resolution • Leadership Development/Executive Coaching • Human Resource Management/employee engagement
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