People aren't eggs

Full article

When you need to make more of something, sometimes it's as simple as doubling the ingredients.. whatever that might mean for you. Computer too slow? Double the RAM. Room too dark? Double the lights. Too many guests for brunch? Double the eggs. Or triple them.. or quadruple.

But adding more ingredients isn't always enough. If there's too many guests, who want too many eggs, cooked in too many ways, and entirely new foods you're not even familiar with, you need chefs! So you hire more and immediately see more output, right? No. No you do not.

They don't know where you keep the mixing spoons and bowls, how each item fits into the overall meal you've planned, or how these particular guests have gotten used to expecting their meals. They don't know what takes priority, whose role is what, or who to ask for non-culinary concerns. (Disclaimer: I'm not a chef.. I can turn bread into toast and bring most things to a boil.)

Paradoxically, bringing on someone new to the team doesn't double the output.. it decreases it for awhile. And if you decide to hire 5 new chefs at once? Or even if a team of 5 hires 5 more? Expect some chaos. More experienced chefs may get up to speed quicker, but the problem remains. For awhile, you'd be doing little else but training them, meals would be late and cold and possibly mixed up, and the customers would be confused and upset.

Wait, customers? Weren't these guests? Send the ungracious free-loaders home and enjoy your brunch! I feel like this analogy is getting all scrambled. (Thanks, I'll see myself to the eggs-it.)

I guess what I'm saying is, people aren't eggs. You can't throw more into the mix and expect the output to immediately double, whether you're hoping to cook a meal twice as fast or cook twice as many meals in the same time. The team will get there, but it could take weeks or even months. And throwing too many new people into the mix at once? That might be worse than none at all.


Grant Winney

I write when I've got something to share - a personal project, a solution to a difficult problem, or just an idea. We learn by doing and sharing. We've all got something to contribute.

Comments / Reactions

One of the most enjoyable things about blogging is engaging with and learning from others. Leave a comment below with your questions, comments, or ideas. Let's start a conversation!