As we rapidity drift out of the festive season, and all that it brings with it, we find ourselves, yet again, immersed in our daily activities, challenges and ambitions.
Over the past couple of weeks may have been the time when many, perhaps, stick to setting in their traditional annual resolutions. Not a bad idea at all. But will these ‘promises to ourselves’ be maintained?
I have been invited for drinks at some friends recently (yes, one of those many that come along within such a short period of time!) and I over-heard another guest speak about how she could not possibly eat more, having indulged over the festivities’ many occasions. Why? Just because it was Christmas? As if Christmas and the start of yet another calendar year are some kind of ‘concession time’ to pig-out on unlimited food and drink? I ignored the rest of the conversation when it turned to speaking about being overweight, taking on engineered diets, resolutions to attend fitness classes and all that. But this overheard fragment of a conversation set me off thinking.
You often find me evangelising about the importance of identifying opportunities for optimisation within the business context, introducing new mindsets and taking appropriate action to implement such necessary changes. That is what primarily keeps me busy in my professional life.
However, there is also a ‘life at home’, where some business principles may well be adopted and found to be worthwhile.
Speaking about the generous helpings of lip-smacking food across the celebratory times, let us stay on the same theme.
For starters, while many of us have been blessed enough to admittedly have an abundance of food to feast upon, it is not always so with everybody. And this breaks my heart.
As Tracey Chapman’s lyrics from her powerful and prophetic song ‘Why?’ goes, we ought to ask ourselves “…why do babies starve, when there is enough food to feed the world…”!
A song that has been released some 35 years back.
Has anything changed for the better, since?
Some facts state that there are over an estimated 800 million people globally who suffer from severe malnutrition. On the other hand, some one-third of the food that is originally intended for consumption by fellow humans, goes to waste! This lost or wasted food is enough to feed three billion people! The rationality of these facts simply does not tally!
Many approach me when they find that the thought of transformation lurks somewhere within their heads. Perhaps they might have attended a seminar on the subject, or read a striking article, which bemuses them. Clients, at times, expect to change the world instantly, …through transformation.
I believe otherwise! I always advise my clients to pace it out a little bit.
Just as much as you and I cannot change the food waste issue at a global level, on a scaled-down version, possibly many of us cannot even achieve the anticipated transformational change within our own company.
It may actually be a good idea to start from home. Make the persuasive conversions there, change your attitude within your own domain, convince and convert yourself within your own setting, then go spread it out there, to others.
Speaking about food earlier on, let us stick with this for the sake of today’s discussion.
Your household presumably needs to periodically buy various food and drink items to feed the entire family, and the dog!
With such shocking facts presented about food waste, and with food items being considered a basic and essential material that needs to flow through the ‘home model’, what are we waiting for before we jump onto the occasion, and to primarily attempt to do something enroute to optimise, within our own comfort zone?
Study the aspect of food that is brought into your own household. Follow through the whole lifecycle as this is purchased and gets transported to your kitchen, as it sits in your larder, makes it through the preparation and processing necessary for cooking breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and the eventual clearing up of the remnants.
Have you ever evaluated, assessed and measured the discarded portions? Food that goes to waste for whatever reason: expired, spoilt, surplus or unconsumed.
We can draw a business parallel to the material (data or information) making its way through the ‘home model’ – a process flow perspective!
Do you actually do anything to measure the amount of food purchased? You might compare the price variations, and complain about the ever-increasing cost of living! Does it ever cross your mind as to the fact of your family sacrificing scarce storage space in the kitchen to store all the foods in your pantry?
Have you ever wondered about deploying a food conversion rate KPI at home? …is this too business-like, and not a matter to be spoken about at home?
Think about the analytics you can delve into to evaluate the various facets of food-related waste generated at home (expired and unused items, sacrificed premium storage space taken up by the oversized larder, all the effort and energy that goes into the cooking and preparation of meals, and the ultimate portions of finished meals that go to the bin).
Resort to some rather simplistic measures to pilot, comprehend, and expose the facts at home. Discover the opportunities you may ride to positively contribute within your own household, possibly in its humble and simplistic activity when compared to what goes on within your work environment.
Would some of the actions identified and that you can do something about, contribute towards the family living off a healthier diet?
Would you anticipate more fruitful use for the money that is otherwise spent on wasted food?
Would your ‘microscopic’ home-domain contribution at wasting less food, help save the planet’s starvation issues …at least slightly? Maybe not at the miniscule level of your individual household. But let us not forget that there are multitudes of such domestic environments in your own village or town. And, if most of them replicated your virtuous determinations? Would not your effort multiply by a factor relevant to the village or town?
Let us not under estimate the scale of an outcome from the net result generated from the multiplication effect of small powers.
We have spoken about food as one element for study within the home environment. There are so many others to be considered (energy, water, space, effort).
Once you are convinced of the benefits achieved from the change in attitude – even if on a seemingly tiny scale, within your home domain – then this becomes an adopted mindset within your inner self. It becomes part of your second nature, your attitude and lifestyle DNA – a convert, an agent of change.
Only then, go spread it – gradually – within your business domain. The likelihood of success at making a difference can be expected to be on a much higher level.
Your attitude should by now be persuasively strong. You are a convert, set to achieving desired results from the accumulation of small changes implemented within your professional/business sphere.
Many small changes, implemented within a well-thought-out framework, can help you lead on to that larger-scale transformation that you might have read about in that article!
Therefore, we might need to consider redefining our upcoming ambitions.
Act upon change you can manage. Convince yourself, adopt the mindset and become a passionate convert for excellence. Then expect the rest to become a bit of an easier accomplishment, moving forward.
Transformation achieved. One small step at a time!
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