What makes a GOOD, life-changing cookie? The ooey-gooeyness? The quality chocolate chips? The perfect texture? Okay, we don't have to say a life-changing cookie, but but a mighty fine, yum yum cookie that you'd request during your final meal if you were on death row. That kind of cookie.
What makes a GOOD organization? Culture? Work atmosphere? What builds greater collaboration, teamwork, understanding, and mutual respect? What the bleep does a cookie recipe have to do with organizational development?
My wife loves baking! You know what I love? Eating what she bakes. Sometimes I'll help her out in the baking process by eating the cookie dough. I just like to wait nearby with a cold glass of milk until the timer goes off and the cookies come out.
Anyway, she loves to bake homemade recipes, with passed-down family recipes and probably gives Pinterest most of their everyday traffic. So, with that comes more detailed, more precise ingredients and instructions. As I sat here and ate my fresh out of the oven, ooey-gooey peanut butter cookies, I thought about the idea of organizational recipes in the workplace. Don't ask me to give you my thought process in between—that will make you too hungry.
1. A solid cookie recipe uses quality ingredients
If you want a good, quality cookie, you need to make it with quality ingredients. None of this dollar store, pre-packaged garbage. Real sugar, good eggs, divine butter, and heck if you have time, long-crafted vanilla.
In your organization, you have the ability to make whatever cookie you want. You can make peanut butter cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate chip, and so much more. The first part to baking your perfect, delectable cookie is to make sure you hire the right people. Are those you hire a good fit for your culture? Do you spend time and money finding the right people that will be a good fit and benefit for your organization? Do they perform well and have a successful, proven history doing what you need them to do?
Are you hiring those that are set in their ideas, mentalities, preferences and are completely uncoachable? Are they unwilling to adjust to your culture or mission statement? Are they unwilling to do things a different way? This multi-generational workforce has very particular expectations, so it's important to recognize whether or not your butter is willing to melt and smooth out over your culture's goals and needs. Are you using proven, effective training methods and on-boarding programs? Do you maintain honest interviewing processes?
2. You need to be delicate with the flour
Many times we over look this when we bake (at least I do--maybe that's because I just want to eat the dang cookie already), but we must be careful as we treat the flour in our recipe. Are we measuring it exactly? Are we using soft, stirred flour or flour that's been under the cabinet for a while and hardened a bit?
Flour is your company's management and leaders. They are what make the cookie rise and take shape. If you aren't putting enough effort into using quality flour or managing it delicately, your cookies won't turn out the same. Do you have leaders that are from various generational backgrounds? Are you seeing a generation or cultural gap that needs to be mended? Maybe you have leaders that need to be in leadership roles or people in leadership roles that don't deserve or qualify to be there. No matter the case, you need to be sure they are they caliber of flour you need to see your cookies rise. Who wants a super flat cookie? I don't!
3. Mix and measure right
If you're like I am, I just look at the ingredients and say, "this looks good," or "this looks close enough." Maybe you're like my wife who has to scrape that measuring spoon to it's milli-whatever. If you've put in the proper ingredients, rather you have hired the right people, and you have empowered your leaders, then are you allowing the various teams and workers to interconnect and build off one another? Does your marketing team know your training team? Does your design team know the warehouse crew? This may seem far fetched and maybe unnecessary, but there's certainly a unity that develops when you know each other and can aim for the same overall objective. It builds your culture.
Also, are you putting a team of millennials with a boomer or late Gen Xer manager? Are you placing young Gen Z's on a team that is managed by a boomer? These ideas or facts should be thought out, assessed, and measured correctly. If you just guess on the measurements and throw the ingredients in, mix them a bit and hope it turns out, you're making a grave mistake. Like a, "you're baking for the President and accidentally gave him food poisoning" type of mistake.
On a very serious note, if you aren't aware that your employees are facing a generational gap, then you need to pause, assess, read your recipe over again, and act on it. It is likely causing greater negative effects than you realize.
4. Chill out, then heat up
When you leave your batter in the fridge overnight, the proteins and even the starch in the dough tends to soak up more of the liquid. It then dries out the dough which creates a fuller, more heavenly cookie. Seriously!
When you notice changes need to be made in your organization (i.e., you need to change your traini