"Fast Co" Artcle Review, Jan/Feb, 2000,"Their Specialty? Teamwork"

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Donna Frederickson - Int'l Falls Cohort > "Fast Company" - Jan/Feb, 2000 "Their Specialty? Teamwork", by Gina Imperato, p. 54+ > When I read this article, I remembered the Stephen Covey book we read entitled, "Principle-Centered Leadership" ( Fireside Book, Pub: Simon & Schuster, NY, 1991). In the Covey book, he explains his characteristics of principle centered leadership and I think that the co-owners of the Radius restaurant, a French culinary mecca in Boston's Financial District, may have read the same book and employed the principles. The main chef and co-owner, Michael Schlow, says, "This restaurant is about creating something bigger than any of us could accomplish alone." That statement affirms that he believes in teamwork, to "be proactive" and to search for ways to solve problems before they happen. The restaurant was "started with the end in mind." They wanted it to be great, and they wanted the restaurant to sustain itself, interest patrons, invigorate chefs and make a statement and a profit. They had that goal in mind and strove for it. In Covey's area of the "seven habits, the restaurant owners devised the plan to "put first things first." The chefs learn all the parts that go into making the whole. All of the cooks work at one station for six weeks and then rotate to another so that they each understand the whole process and teamwork is reinforced. This creates a "win-win" situation for all, producing a positive result for the workers, owners and patrons. The restaurant staff, including cooks, waitstaff, floor managers and hosts and hostesses, gathers for daily meetings to discuss the reservations, the customers, the food, the menu, the climate and atmosphere of the restaurant and ideas for greater effectiveness. The staff is encouraged to check the competition and research new foods and recipes. Therefore, the constant learning is especially encouraging for the chefs and the restaurant has found that their chefs stay in their job longer than other restaurants and are more content. The owners have worked to "seek first to understand, then to be understood." The concept keeps "synergizing", meaning that the combination of actions and individuals work in such a way that the effect of the whole is greater than its parts. The restaurant is constantly "sharpening the saw" and will, hopefully, continue to be an impact in the Boston area. Whether it continues its reputation and turning a profit, the Radius' teamwork is one model for effective leadership. "The whole is greater than the sum of its parts - attained through synergy, fostered and nurtured through empowering management styles and supportive structures and systems."(Covey, p. 274)

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2000

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