Foodie vs. “NAVie”: The Ingredients of a “Star” Project Team

Foodie vs. “NAVie”: The Ingredients of a “Star” Project Team

I’m a foodie. I love everything about it. If I’m going to do something a minimum of three times per day, you’d better believe I’m going to make sure I get the most out of it. I love food so much that I actually almost chose it as my profession. There was a point towards the end of high school where I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life: culinary school or computer programming. Given where I work, you can probably guess which one I chose, but my love of food never went away.

One of the highest achievements that you can receive in the culinary world is called the Michelin Star. A restaurant can have up to three Michelin Stars, meaning it is the best of the best, and it is often quite a journey to get there. In the United States, there are just fourteen or so such restaurants (it changes yearly), and I’ve had the pleasure to dine at five of them. Some people save money for bigger televisions. I save up for nice meals. There’s one that will always stick out, though—not because of the food, although it was the best meal I’ve ever had, but because of the teamwork I saw on display.

Brooklyn Fare is a grocery store in Brooklyn, New York, and it has an 18 seat restaurant attached to it called Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. It’s a completely open kitchen, and I mean that literally. I was sitting less than five feet from the oven. Six people, about the size of your average project team, worked seamlessly together for the entire evening. But this was not your average team. You might have seen one of the multiple cooking shows on television where they are constantly yelling acknowledgements back and forth. Gordon Ramsay striking fear into the hearts of contestants comes to mind. Not here, though. Minimal verbal communication was needed. Everyone knew their part and executed it to perfection. Even the finest details, such as placing silicon mats between the dishes so that they would not clink when being taking away, were thought of. A ballet, a symphony, use whatever simile or metaphor you like; it was a thing of beauty.

I made the right career choice because, as much as I enjoyed the meal, I walked away from that evening wondering how I could help the teams at ArcherPoint deliver their projects as beautifully as I had seen that restaurant that evening. What steps had they taken in their journey that allowed everything to gel like it did? Was it the people? Tools? Preparation? Knowledge? Something else? If I’m going to do something for at least 8 hours every day, you’d know I’m going to give it even more attention than I do to my food, so I’ve been thinking about those questions almost non-stop for the last year. I guess that makes me more of a NAVie than a foodie.

I know that the success of that restaurant is due to combination of things. Incremental improvements over the course of a lifetime that led them all to this place. Continuous learning to provide the best service that they can to their customers. They share the same core values that we share at ArcherPoint: Delighting Clients, Building an Enduring Tribe, and Learning and Challenging. We live out those values on every project we do, and I think we do a great job. We are consistently a “Michelin Star” NAV Partner and often times a two-star Partner. Three stars, though? Sometimes, but not yet. We have work to do, and that’s a good thing.

We’d like to hear what your organization does to be a “3-star” company. Let us know in the Comments section.

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