« XPDay London | Main | From Disaster to Decorator »

October 30, 2007

Comments

Peter Wood

I don't think much of shows that have some expert coming in and telling people what they're doing wrong and how to do things correctly. It might get quick surface level improvements but in the long term the person hasn't necessarily become a reflective practitioner.

When I want to remind my son to wash his hands after using the toilet I don't say "you need to wash your hands" I ask him "what do we do after using the toilet". Hopefully this helps him to reflect rather than me just being a nag.

D. W. Winnicott commented in his book 'The Child, The Family and The Outside World' on child development that he wanted to encourage parents to be confident in their own natural ability and to encourage reflection. He didn't want to be a guru who had to be deferred to. He wanted parents to be independently confident. He then went on to provide lots of observations and insights to help you reflect upon what is going on with your relationship with your child.

I worry that the troubleshooting shows just make people feel inept and don't nurture the real skills needed for improvement. They are beguiling though because there is often such an visible improvement that you think "Wow, they really know their stuff"

Michael Feathers

Peter:

I agree. And, actually, I have a bit of a beef with the school of thought that has people "model excellence" to trigger change. What I've found is that it works with some people but not with others. Some people will look at what you are doing, convince themselves that they can do it, and march on. Others will look what you do as an unattainable ideal and turn you off.

That said, I think we have to recognize that, really, we're conducting an experiment in society today. The idea is that we can cast away the "great man" model of influence and organization that has served as an organizational tool for, let's face it, nearly the entire course of human history. For the past 20-30 years we've started down the track toward more reflective, autonomous and egalitarian approaches.. it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

Rich Sharpe

“Ramsey has some advantages......”

The main being; who he is! I'm sure that the more renowned consultants such as yourself, Bob Martin, Josh Bloch etc get more respect and your words fall on ears more likely to listen than some unknown consultant brought in by Management.

As a consultant who does this type of work (Best Practices, Process Management etc) I find the best way is to use examples of the customers code (without them knowing it), have fun with the team and ask the team what is bad/wrong with it and then tell them who actually wrote it. With improvements in place I find that most people do listen.
As with Kitchen Nightmares, it is not usually inept people I am dealing with but maybe people who have been doing the work so long a few tweaks and a bit of updated education is all that may be required.

I think you have a good point about Developers speaking out more. This year many people have stressed this and the message of ‘Developers becoming more Professional’ is something I have seen at various Conferences and Speakers Sessions.

P.S. I do enjoy the show ;-) But let’s also not forget that if he wasn’t so outspoken Fox would probably not have taken up the show in the first place.

Colin

It's RamsAy not RamsEy.

Parker

Accountability is hard to teach, no matter what technique one uses. The transformations I've seen Ramsay achieve in team cohesion and individual accountability has been, on occasion, remarkable and even moving.

Ultimately, the burden is on the restaurateurs to decide how best to apply the message Ramsay delivers.

Even in the US version of the show, Ramsay returns after a year or so to some of the restaurants he's visited, and more often than not, it seems that some variant or another of his recommendations have "stuck".

It's one of the reasons I love the show. He's a terrific leader, if not necessarily the best consultant.

Troy Gilbert

I, too, am addicted to the show, and didn't realize why exactly until your post. Thanks.

Steve Freeman

It _is_ a addictive show. One thing that comes across very clearly is that Ramsey gets upset about people who don't care enough about what they do, who (you'll pardon the expression) "compromise". The one I remember was about a West Indian style place in Brighton. He came in and shook the place up, made sure that what they cooked was actually worth eating.

A year later they'd expanded like crazy and had fallen back to their old habits to cope. The patrons he interviewed all said they couldn't see what the fuss was about and weren't coming back. The restaurant was heading for a fall because it had lost its integrity _again_.

Two interesting moments from Hell's Kitchen (the US version). One where he kicked over the bins when a team couldn't cope, "because they weren't f***ing communicating", the other watching a contestant practically explode with pride when Ramsey said something nice about a dish.

Apparently not every celebrity chef is quite so brutal, but they don't make as good television.

Steve Freeman

One more thing, apparently Ohno (the Toyota Lean person) had a pretty bad temper too, and apparently originating in the same drive to do things /right/. Perhaps it only works for visionaries.

Makes you wonder how Ramsey managed to get through his apprenticeship without being fired.

Dave Smith

On the scale between walking on eggshells and throwing knives, the teams I've worked with that are somewhere in the middle have been the healthiest and best able to maintain high standards. They've also tended to be teams that had a major (if not complete) say in who they hired. I wonder if the same applies in kitchens.

Ryan Walker

Great post - like the others above I am also addicted to the show. From my observations Ramsay’s style is based on techniques seen in the military and from my personal experience within Japanese martial arts dojo’s. Ramsay often breaks the team down for the purposes of picking the weak links – the weak links are then forced to improve or ship out.

The same approach is used within traditional Karate dojo’s (not Western but traditional) and it is based on the fact that any weakness in a team creates more weakness and strength builds only on strength – described in the old adage that “a chain is only as strong as the weakest link”. Within western society/business we maintain politeness within team’s regarding weakness - however within nature this is very rarely observed.

You will often see Ramsay comment on ‘who is buckling under the pressure’ and ‘who is rising to the challenge’.

iPhone contacts backup

The fact is that we need it and why not get it.

The comments to this entry are closed.