Tuesday
Feb182014

Grossi love

Don’t you just love it when high expectations are completely smashed - in the super-raddest of ways? 

On Saturday night Alison and I had dinner with the uber-cool Jason Fox and his wife Kim in the heart of Melbourne*. Jason and Kim are - like um - walking picture postcards of Melbourne. They dress smart, live smart, and even talk smart. They are kid-free, have just adopted a cat, live in a funky inner-city apartment and have expensive but very, very good taste in design and craft. The kind of folks you’d see in an ad in a funky hipster magazine** 

But alas! As Melbourne-ised as these two are, they’d never eaten at the fabulous Melbourne dining institution that is Grossi. Real Melbourne peeps? Puh-leese. 

Yet we had! Yar! The tables had been turned. Actually that’s a pretty poor metaphor given we’re talking about a restaurant. Anyways... 

For weeks we’d talked about 'Going to Grossi' and on Saturday night we treated ourselves to something quite splendid. In fact it was simply out of this world. A truly world-class, show-stopping dining experience. 

So what made it so damn good? I mean, we already had set a very high bar, but the Grossi experience went well beyond our expectations...and there’s something to learn in this from a service and culture standpoint. 

But before we go there, I want to just let you know why the game has changed and why this stuff matters. I know, I know, you’re probably sitting at your desk, piled up with paper, eating a $7.50 burrito from the dodgy take-away down the street, going “Yeah, good for you and your posh eating! Whadda ‘bout me and my real world here Mr Snoopdy-doop?” 

Why it matters 

In the ‘ole days, manufacturing was king. 80% of the labour force (see right there? they still even call it labour) was about making and building stuff. Lots of factory lines and farms. But then industrialisation started to shift the way we worked and were employed. 

We had new industries like marketing, communication, and a whole raft of vocations began to be created in the service industry. Y’see service used to just be hospitality, but now it extended much, much further. 

Then the factories got smarter and decided that better machines and robots didn’t need to be paid and never complained, so what would take many-people-much-time, now took very-few-less-time. 

Then the interwebby came in and changed everything. There’s bucket-loads of people out there creating stuff; employed to create stuff...but much of it’s intangible. A web page us a printed page. An online consult vs a waiting room. It’s all changing. 

And the biggest change? We’re pretty much all in the service game now. 

100 years ago, it was about 80% manufacturing versus 20% in the service industry but those figures have reversed. Boom. So you’re in the service game, it’s a given. Yet you’re possibly still playing a manufacturing-style approach. Let’s face it, many organisations still do. Efficiencies, margins, time, cost...they’re all calling cards of a manufacturing past. If you’re in service; innovation, care, passion...they’re what people come back for. 

How Grossi nailed it 

So you might think the food was amazing right? And you’d be right. But we had high expectations, and it met those. The food is manufacturing. Brilliant, art-making food production, but it’s still at its heart manufacturing. But just to focus on food would ignore all that smart stuff I’ve just ranted about - 80% of the game is now about service... 

So Grossi take a bow for; 

Seamless teamwork - we were served by a well oiled** team of 5 people. They all had roles, but were joined by a common purpose, to make our dining experience a phenomenal one. It was the most elegant dance amongst staff we had witnessed in a culinary setting.

Obvious passion - they loved those wines. They were proud of that food. One of the wait staff carried a buffalo mozzarella around like it was a newborn baby. Now I am sure that those staff have their good and bad days in their life, but when they are in service, it all runs secondary to showcasing this magnificent stuff. Great art needs to be hung just right.

Flexibility - we took a five course option (oink oink) but we were desperate to eat gnocchi (which wasn’t even on our menu). Those little pillows of heaven....mmmm. So when we asked to drop the tuna for the gnocchi, was it a problem? No way. Then, on a roll, we wanted to sub out just two of the choccy soufflé for tiramasu...but was it a stretch? Nup. Done. Ever been in a cheap restaurant and tried to change stuff and felt treated like a serial killer?

Attention to detail - they knew what we needed before we needed it. Sounds simple; bloody hard to do. They even had mini ottoman's to gentle place our handbags on, magic! 

So take a step back, realise that you’re in the service industry, and re-think the way you approach service. 

Oh, and if anyone would like to send a cash donation please do so. After Saturday night’s meal one of our kids is probably not able to go to uni, and there aren’t too many factory jobs out there for them anymore. 

Moocho Gratssy 

Darren

 

* Apparantley it’s called Melbs by some, but I haven’t figured out if calling Melbourne Melbs makes me cool, or in fact, really daggy. If someone could let me know Melbs etiquette please. 

** ‘Cept if they actually were in a cool magazine, that would make them sellouts and they’d probably be ostracised by their really cool friends. 

*** Maybe really good olive oil given it’s an Italian restaurant?

Tuesday
Jan142014

What are you putting up with?

Todays newsletter is a 5-step interactive process; well at least it’s better if it rolls out that way.

So jump on board and join me. 

Step 1: Firstly I want you to find a piece of blank paper and a pen*. 

Step 2: Using these tools to write down 10 things you are currently putting up with. 

They might be small things like broken light bulbs**, a lack of available pens when you need them, a cracked coffee cup; or they might be bigger things, such as ineffective processes at work, projects that just aren’t moving fast enough, relationships that have stagnated. Don't edit them, just write down the first things that come to mind and make sure you get at least 10. 

Step 3: Now take your beautifully working pen and put an asterisks next to the things that if you were to get them sorted out would significantly free up energy, time and space for you. 

Step 4: Choose one of the asterisked points and commit to getting it sorted by this Friday 17th January. If you can’t have it fully completed by this week then at least put into place a schedule and a plan towards getting it done. 

Step 5: Schedule in your diary to repeat this process every month.

Then use your freed time and energy on the things that really light you up. Let me know how you go. 

Cheers, 

* Of course whenever you desperately need a pen you can’t find a working one within a 5 km radius, so if you’ve managed to achieve this in less than 5 secs, high-five to you!

** We got an electrician out to fix what I thought was just a couple of lights in our house last week, turned out there was 15 broken lights we had been putting up with for 12 months! Needless to say our place is now glowing like Times Square on New Years Eve. 

THIS WEEKS GIFT:

There are some great blog posts on procrastination on the below website for you to flick through this week with your spare time:

Click here to read through Rapitude

Tuesday
Jan072014

What’s going to be different? Cause really, I’ve heard it all before.

Happy New Year! 
 
I’m a massive fan of this time of year, it’s filled with new possibilities, a clean slate, and time to reflect on how we would prefer things to be. It can also be filled with sickly motivational quotes, hangovers, and chronic sugar-withdrawals (at least for me after a week of enough tiramisu and trifle to sustain the animals of Taronga Zoo).  
 
I’m a day-dreamer, and love imagining how things can be different.
 
For the last few years I’ve professed how I want to simplify and organise my office space (cause it’s not). So I'm sure you don't have to guess what is on my list of goals for this year...exactly the same.
 
Last week, over an amazing pulled-pork taco I shared this goal with a friend. With a truck-load of patience and completely non-judgementally* she looked at me and said, ‘so what’s going to be different? ‘Cause I’ve heard this before’. It is such a brilliant question, and one that saw me in a cleaning frenzy for two days because when I thought about it there are three key things that are going to be different this time: 
 
1. It’s going to be imperfect. In the past I’ve wanted to only start organising when I had the perfect system (I trip over the mountain of books I’ve bought on the topic going into the office every morning) or the best stuff to organise the office with (which is just my excuse to buy more Kikki K). But none of the systems seemed perfect for me. This year I’ve realised there is no such thing. If it’s going to be imperfect I may as well rip in. 
 
2. Stop polling others. In the past I’ve asked everyone I know, and a few that I don’t, what they think I should do**. This time I’m trusting my stuff to me, it turns out I’ve got some good opinions too. 
 
3. Make it funky. Organising 101 can tend to look pretty orderly and boring. I’ve spend just as long on the photos, quotes, flowers and quirky pieces to make sure there’s plenty of funk and fun in the process. 
 
We’re now 7 days into the new year, and potentially you have started back at work this week. No doubt you’ve been reflecting on your year ahead and what you want to change. You may even have a few goals, resolutions, or a key word your focusing on for the year. No matter how amazing they are (and I’m sure they are), guess what? Life just simply continues. Nothing changes unless we change it. 
 
So, imagine you, me, a couple of mouth-watering pulled-pork taco’s and a big fat question:
What’s going to be different this time? 
 
They might be similar to the ones I discovered, or there might be something else. I’d love to hear your answer. 
 
Here’s to an amazing 2014!
 
Cheers,
 
* Well she was kind enough not to slap me across the face and say ‘you’re kidding yourself’, which is potentially what I would have done if I was on the other side.  
**I was kinda hoping they’d take pity and just do it for me, but alas no. Friends hey!?!
 
P.S Seth Godin said it best when he asked the question, what if I fail?
 

 

Thursday
Dec122013

Productivity and Empathy

Over the last few weeks we’ve come across some interesting articles and so wanted to share these with you. 
 
Productivity is a highly sort after commodity in our lives, especially at this time of the year. This first article is not only one of the most productive ways of packaging the essential bits from over 70 hours of TED Talks, but has plenty of gems on productivity for you. 
 
100 Incredible Things Learnt Watching 70 Hours Of TED Talks
 
Click here to read through the 100 lessons learnt, it will only take 5 minutes (unless, like us, you get distracted of course). 
 
The Power of Empathy (VIDEO) 
 
Many of you know that we are massive fans of Dr Brene Brown’s work. She has recently had one of her talks about the power of empathy converted to a short animated clip - of course we love it and wanted to share it with you. 
 
Click here to check out this great video. 
 
Here’s to a productive week filled with empathy both for yourself and the people around you.  

 

Thursday
Nov282013

Protect Your Prime Mental Real Estate

Your brain is truly amazing. 

 It does a whole bunch of incredible things, such as making sure that your heart pumps on average 72 times per minute, it tells your lungs to breath, on average, 420 times per hour, and it responds to threats within a matter of  micro-seconds - and the most amazing thing is that it does all of this without you needing to think about it. 

This free’s you up to be thinking about the more important things. Our ability to think creatively, to solve solutions, and find connections is a unique commodity, particularly in our current workplace. 

John Medina, in his book Brain Rules, sums this up well by suggesting that ‘intellectual dexterity is the most sort after commodity in our current environment’. 

But how do we free our brain up to think creatively when it is cramped packed with ‘to-do’ lists, day-to-day tasks and trying to figure out who’s picking up the kids from school today? Because the truth is we have a limited amount of thoughts that we can hold in our head at any one time, in psychology this is known as our ‘working memory’. Think of it like a small bucket where there is only a limited amount of space. 

This prime mental real estate for problem-solving and creative thinking is jam-packed and never really gets emptied, no wonder you fall into bed at the end of each day feeling completely exhausted.

We need to consciously protect this prime real estate, and here are a few strategies that can help you do that: 

  • PUT IT DOWN ON PAPER: A great friend of ours has what she calls a ‘brain-book’ that she writes down everything she needs to get done, ideas that she has on the run, and all her goals. This instantly gets it out of her head allowing her freedom to think bigger. 
  • ORGANISE YOUR ENVIRONMENT: For me there is a direct correlation to how organised my environment is and how relaxed I am. 
  • OUTSOURCE IT: Be honest about what you really need to be paying attention to. It may well be that someone else can take care of it for you and get it out of your thinking (I’m an avid fan of cleaners and believe everyone should have one!)
  • BE PRESENT: Regardless of what else is going on in your day, take the time to be completely present in this moment and in this conversation. Don’t allow things from the past or what is happening in the future to rob you from the present. 

Recognise how important your mental real estate is.