Sunday, September 6, 2009

5 Secrets from the Julia Child School of Management

The leadership literature I've been reading for a Berkeley-Columbia EMBA class that I'm not taking combined with the thought stimulating movie Julie and Julia has given me a veritable soup of thoughts. It's my integrator brain part working overtime.

If Julia Child ran a School of Management, what would she teach?
1. Pursue your passion unfailingly.
Julia had a thing for a cookbook of recipes for French dishes written for servantless Americans. Despite Houghton-Mifflin's rejection and an underperforming collaborateur, she kept going in the planned direction. She didn't change it to A French Cookbook in French for the French or an American cookbook in French for the French. She kept true to her passion.

2. User documentation is key.
If you want people to use your product, cook your recipes, you have to make them operational. Meaning if someone follows the directions, it has to work. Julia tested every recipe in her book to make sure the measurements were right and the ingredients were right. When she discovered that French and American flour were different, she figured out how to change the ingredient proportions so that American flour would work.

3. Face your fears.
Whether it's boning a duck, boiling a lobster or stabbing a lobster in the head with a big knife, be brave. "Confront the duck!"

4. Do not market mistakes.
Don't run around confessing to everyone you know. If you make a mistake, make it right as best you can and charge on. Whether it's a flipped omlette that splatted on the stove or a tart that doesn't quite lie down in all the right places, put it back together and move on. Don't focus other's attention on that for goodness sake!

5. If you're going to stick out in a crowd anyway, do it with joy and verve.
Julie was tall with size 12 feet. There was no way she was going to escape unnoticed in any kind of crowd. Fortunately, she was gregarious and she made the most of it. If it's going to happen to you anyway, make the most of it!!!

There's probably a lot more that Julia would teach but she didn't run a school of management. That's why these things may be secrets. Neither did Julie Powell but she's got a lot to teach as well.

12/09 UPDATE: I'm not the only one who was inspired! Check out what Andi at Misadventures with Andi learned too.

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