Who else likes background noise when they work-out or clean the house? Sometimes I crave the silence and take the time to think and center myself with my breath. Other times, I crave distraction and mindlessness during those activities. This weekend's house cleaning was to the soundtrack of Hell's Kitchen. Because apparently aggressive cursing with a British accent helps me get things done (guess he's not world renowned for nothing).

But I'll tell you what, the principals in the kitchen crew are paralleled with successful teams of any kind. A few key elements and techniques can be applied to any systems of processes in order to support standardized success.

But back to my analogy..

So first, Ramsey will assign each competitor to a particular station. One on the meat station, one on sides, one on garnish, and one on desserts, etc. Then as the tickets from the dining room start pouring in, he'll spout off what the table has ordered and it's each station holder's responsibility to know what and when to make their part of the meal.

“Ticket IN! We've got 2 halibut, 2 prime rib!”

So that's it, the two halibut and two prime rib entree's are what we would call the ‘forward facing products', but on the back end, what does that mean?

Let's break down the elements demonstrated by this successful system which are likely present in most successful teams, businesses, fulfillment structures and the like.

1) Division of Work

Each team member knows exactly what their job is and gets to work.

2) Communication

One of the biggest skills necessary (per Chef Ramsey) to succeed as a chef is excellent communication. All the work has been divided and each person knows their role but while everyone is working in tandem, communication is what keeps all these moving pieces … well, moving in the right way together.

3) Timing

If the garnish for the entree or the side dish is made and completed before the entree, it may get cold or ‘die in the window' (my HK lingo in action, watch out) before it is plated all together. Now the entire plate is ruined. Not because everyone didn't do their job, but because the timing was off.

4) Quality Check (or what we here at OA call the Definition of Done)

So now everything goes ‘to the window' (to the wall!… just kidding) to be checked by Chef Ramsey or whoever is running expo for quality assurance. He tastes every dish, he checks for presentation, for how well it is cooked and that the proper menu is executed to absolute perfect standards every time.

These four elements work together for a well-oiled machine. And what is the common denominator?


You can be the best, quickest garnish maker in the world, but if your team was unable to deliver the meal that your garnish is supposed to sit upon, you've all failed. And how is this failure avoided? Each station holder KNOWS their responsibility within the division of labor. Furthermore, they know exactly what is ingredients and equipment is required along with the steps in each process required to yield the desired result of their said station. They know how to communicate with the rest of their team that is also executing their individual processes, all part of the system that produces the final desired product.

Just like the best chef in the world.. You can be the greatest entrepreneur, with the greatest ideas, and the best work ethic… But if you don't have a solid infrastructure of operations in the hands of a capable team to support your business, you're a wonderful garnish without an entree to adorn.