Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Back to basics - what Gordon Ramsay can teach us about our work flow

"I'm lucky enough to work with the most amazing people whose hard work and dedication is an endless source of inspiration to me." - Gordon Ramsay

I've been a fan of Gordon Ramsay for years. His BBC shows, Kitchen Nightmares and the F word, as well as his American version of Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen have been set for "record all" on my cable's DVR - well ... since I've had a home DVR. Looking past the fact that he signed with Rangers as a young lad and I am a Celtic supporter, what can Gordon's unique style teach us about our Forensic Photoshop work flow?

Back to Basics

According to Denise Winterman of the BBC News Magazine, "He looks at each restaurant in isolation. He goes back to the basics and researches customers and competitors and, crucially, assess the capabilities of staff to produce excellent cuisine. He identifies a successful formula for each individual restaurant."

So what can that teach us? Every unit has it's strengths and weaknesses. Each of us has a different set of equipment. Some work in Daubert states, some work in Fyre states. Some work in countries without a well established body of case law governing how this all works. But each of us has, within ourselves, the capability of becoming a master of our craft. Each of us, by focusing on the basics, can produce excellent, verifiable, repeatable results.

Working as a team

"Ramsay excels at giving his staff a sense of the story in which they play an important part," says Professor Kim James from the Cranfield School of Management.

You may work by yourself. You may be the only one in your state or province who does what you do. You are, however, not alone. By entering into this profession, by choosing to master this craft, you are part of a larger team. You have team mates all around the world. City police, county Sheriffs, state Troopers, regional labs, federal task forces; there are quite a lot of men and women working in our craft who can answer a question, advise on a case, or come and help you prepare for the trial of the century. You are not alone. Our story, in which you play an integral part, is often a life and death story. You and I help to see that justice is served and the innocent are protected.

Good communications

"He offers no bland vision statements but tries to inspire. He is generous in bringing people on and instructs the inexperienced," says Professor James.

People are drawn to passion. Testimony delivered effectively and confidently will come from your inner passion. The passion comes from your vision and your love for what you do. When you are passionate, you will inspire those around you. Passion is infectious. As you learn and master your work flow, others will be drawn to you. Bring them in. Inspire them. Instruct them. Don't hold back. Dare them to become all that they can be. Challenge them to become better than you and better than themselves. In our work, a true masterpiece is not an exhibit or a conviction but the legacy of trained and skilled practitioners that we leave behind. Start now to find that one person who will replace you and help them to reach beyond their potential. In all of this, good communication skills are the key.

Be your own Gordon Ramsay

Come back to your office tomorrow and play the roll of Gordon as he enters your shop for the first time. Answer these questions and be as brutally honest with yourself as Gordon would be if he were shouting at you. 
  • What is the potential of every single one of your employees?
  • Who, or what, is getting in the way of progress?
  • What three things would you change about yourself immediately to make the difference?
  • What do you personally need to 'let go of' to make your shop more successful?
  • What will you do today, immediately, to shake things up?
Back to basics

Like Gordon, I am lucky enough to have travelled around the world, meeting some of the most amazing people; people who are at various levels of mastery over their tools. People, nevertheless, who are all engaged in the same craft. If you are reading this, you are certainly not alone. Get back to basics. Work the work flow. Reach out for help when necessary. Feel your passion level rise. Enjoy your life ... you and I are part of an incredible team.

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