Look – I'm not here to man bash, so let's pretend this is hypothetical (ahem – it's not!). I'll often buy cheese in bulk, because, well, we love cheese and I love frugality and cost effectiveness. I also find a sense of comfort in weekly tasks that help me prepare for the week or prepare for success. Most Sunday's, I'll perform the mundane tasks of laundry and meal preparation. I'll create a weekly menu that will have meal preparation tasks that vary, along with some that are consistent across the weeks. For instance; I always boil eggs, trim and marinate meat, package protein bento box snacks, rice cauliflower, and cut the cheese (no pun intended – I'm a lady).
I'll cube some cheese for our quick protein snacks and throw it in a Tupperware container with a boiled egg and some nuts.
I'll get out my box grater and shred a portion of the block cheese for cooking throughout the week (or ya know, eating by the handfuls).
Why do I shred the cheese before cooking with it in a recipe? No brainer: So it will melt faster! If a recipe calls for a cup of cheese and I throw in an 8 ounce block of cheese, it will live as a big, solid, foreign object in the pot for longer than we care to wait for it to melt and dissolve into our meal. By breaking it down into many much smaller pieces, it is easily incorporated into the meal and much more efficiently melts.
Last week, I underestimated the amount of shredded cheese we would require for the week. I made a pot of chili and needless-to-say, we smother our bowls of chili with shredded cheddar cheese. Because I did not shred copious of amounts of cheddar cheese this week (hindsight is 20/20), my boyfriend was forced to deal with the block of cheese on his own one dreary afternoon as he went to eat a bowl of chili. He sought the tool that he assumed was used to shred the cheese, but instead selected the tool used to ZEST citrus fruits. The holes in the plane of a zester are significantly smaller than those intended for use with cheese. So there he was, attempting to zest cheese, with no Y-chromosome supervision (oh whoops, I said I WASN'T man bashing, right?). He ended up with a clogged zester, very little shredded cheese, and a fair amount of frustration.
Once I got home and saw the evidence in the kitchen sink, I began to find the irony in it all. Why is it that breaking the block of cheese into smaller pieces is extremely advantageous when we want to incorporate the smaller pieces into the larger product in an efficient way BUT when we try to break it into pieces that are TOO small, it's no longer efficient but more of a hassle and eventually a frustration we give up on?
The same is SO true with operations! We look at the BLOCK of our business and we're overwhelmed when we begin to think of how to document our internal processes. BUT when we get out our box grater, it's easy as can be. It takes minimum elbow grease and we yield small, digestible, easily incorporated pieces that we can work with very effectively.
BUT when we take the same sized block of our business and try to get TOO granular, TOO quickly; we're left with overwhelming frustration, clogged tools, and ultimately inefficiency.
Our “Cheese Grater Theory” preaches breaking down the BIG pieces of your business into easily digestible, easily documented processes that are repeatable, efficient, effective and easily incorporated into the BIG PICTURE!