Baking on a slow stove
Some years ago a couple moved into our neighborhood. They were a friendly and happy couple. Soon they became the favourite “uncle” and “aunty” to all the children. The “uncle” is the quintessential food lover. Luckily for him, his wife is a fantastic cook.
Sometimes “uncle” potters around the kitchen when his wife is baking and also helps her with her cooking. Since they spend so much time in the kitchen, it is a big and comfortable place with modern gadgets to help speed the process. They regularly invest in the latest in frying pans, steamers, poachers apart from mixers, and of course, they have a microwave oven – the pride of their kitchen; as it helps not just re-heat but bake and grill and also cook complicated Indian recipes. But one thing always intrigued everyone. Though “aunty” had an oven, she always baked her cakes on a slow-ﬁre stove. When asked about it, she smiled mysteriously and said “that’s how my mom baked”. One day, aunty’s mother came to visit and was asked why she baked her cakes on the stove. Aunty’s mom too replied “that’s how my mom baked”. This, I think, made the husband very curious. The next week-end, when they called up the grandma; eager to know what the secret was; he cautiously asked her why she baked on a stove. She answered “My husband worked very hard to provide for his family. We were comfortable, but we could not afford an oven. So I baked on the stove we had”. Since then, he has been teasing his wife about this revelation of the ‘secret’ of the lovely cakes. But let’s be honest with ourselves. How many of us do things in a certain way because our elders (read seniors, bosses and predecessors in work situations) did it that way? They may have had reasons just like grandma above did. But was that the best way to do it? How many will experiment with set “systems”?
THE PAST YEAR HAS THROWN UP MANY UNCERTAINTIES. WE ARE TRULY LIVING OUT THE VUCA WORLD! VUCA, AN ACRONYM COINED BY THE US SOLDIERS WHO WERE BASED IN AFGHANISTAN, MEANS:
FOR ME, THIS IS A VERY NEGATIVE ACRONYM. I WOULD LIKE TO CHANGE THE WORDS TO:
Having a clear vision of your ‘why’ and your ‘what’ is very important for any entrepreneur. The ‘Why’ talks about your core values and mission and the ‘What’ will enable you to draw a blueprint for action. Being upbeat is another plus in the entrepreneurs’ kitty. I don’t advocate throwing caution to the wind, or not paying attention to critical feedback, but infusing positivity and a sense of adventure in your work will let the creative side of you and your team surface. Creativity is all around us today. With so many players and with customers having such short attention spans, everyone has to be creative to create a niche and a standing in business. Collaboration happens when there is trust and team-spirit. Today, we need to collaborate with our stakeholders and our clients. Open conversations, suggestions and feedback help products and services to become better. This is the age of increased expectations and cyclic innovation of our offerings. Being open to collaborating with all stakeholders means that there will be value addition to your offerings and this will ultimately beneﬁt the customer. And we all know what impact happy customers have on business! Adaptability – and that brings me back to the original VUCA – a very uncertain and volatile entrepreneurial environment. Unless we adapt and change quickly, we, as entrepreneurs and creators will be left behind. View entrepreneurship as a beautiful journey and an adventure that compels you to step out of your comfort zone. Stepping out of the comfort zone allows one to explore new horizons and reach greater heights. Remember that learning, growth and development happen outside, and not within the comfort zone. The adventure is not in the destination – it is in the journey. Have a memorable and satisfying one.