[May 22, 2018] Yesterday I heard celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey talk about indicators of mediocre restaurants. Of course, Mr. Ramsey is famous for screaming into the faces of more subpar be chefs than anyone ever. One of his indicators is a waiter telling you they have a soup of the day.1
When I heard him talk, I immediately thought that this is really just like leadership. Mediocre restaurants are like mediocre leaders; they are not acceptable for the vast majority of people.
“Mediocre leaders attempt to replicate what they see others doing while great leaders draw inspiration.” – Cole NeSmith, American writer, musician, speaker
Gordon Ramsey advises us that there are three main ways to tell if you will have a problem with a restaurant … and how this is like leadership.
First, you get seated immediately. There are plenty of vacant tables but with any good restaurant, the tables are always near capacity. Leadership is like that too. Leaders are always busy making things better for everyone. Those leaders who are not busy are not aren’t getting much accomplished.
Second, there are too many specials on the menu; there should only be one or two. For leaders who have no priorities, or worse, too many priorities, they appear directionless and struggle to accomplish tasks assigned to them. They task others to work but never inspire them to go beyond the minimum.
And third, Ramsey tells us to be wary of restaurants that have a soup of the day; that soup which never seems to change. Leaders who are unwilling to change only make matters worse for themselves and their employees because they are not flexible enough to keep the interest of others and adapt to obstacles thrown in their path.
Gordon Ramsey says he can tell if the restaurant is a problem before he even sits down to eat. That is why I call out inflexible, second-rate leaders. They are practicing soup of the day leadership and that simply doesn’t cut it in a modern world. If you have experience with great leaders, you can tell immediately if they are one … or not.