Get out of the kitchen?
If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen! Remember that harsh saying? It basically implied that if you couldn’t perform in a high stress environment, stop complaining and remove yourself as an obstacle for those who can. While I agree with the “no complaining” part, I completely disagree with leaving the kitchen.
When you’re starting to feel the heat, you are about to learn and grow. And collaboration is the key to surviving the heat. I’m talking about collaboration in a teamwork sense; doing your part to the best of your ability and relying on the person to your left and right to complete the workflow.
One of my part-time jobs in college was working the pizza kitchen at the legendary Arni’s in Lafayette, Indiana. It may not be considered fine dining by you big city folks, but this was one high volume operation. The dining room seated nearly 500 and the takeout pizza counter would churn out over 900 pizzas on a busy Saturday night.
I was crammed into a 15 x 15 space with 11 other guys, each one with a specific function on the assembly line… salt the board, form the dough, ladle the sauce, sprinkle the cheese and ingredients. Then turn and slide it into one of 12 ovens cranking at full heat, with one guy rotating and sliding out the finished pizzas with a long silver paddle on to the front counter where they were chopped, bagged and rung up for the waiting customer.
There was plenty of joking around, but we all worked HARD to pull off this amazing operation. What was really amazing was what happened when one cog in the machine was underperforming. If a rookie got backed up on his task, the next guy down the line would offer to cheat back into his area and help him. This allowed the rookies to learn from the veterans and catch up.
It would not make sense to just kick the rookie out of the kitchen. This would only stress the system for everyone. It’s far better to temporarily adjust the point of handoff until the assembly line returns to normal.
Think about the workflow at your job. Are there times when one cog on your team is not delivering fast enough or with the needed quality? Do you figuratively stand there and wait, or offer to reach back into their area and help them catch up?
Effective collaboration requires teamwork, especially for intense environments. Each person has to do their best and make sure each handoff is clean so nothing gets dropped on the floor.
And if you think you can’t stand the heat, don’t bail on the kitchen. It’s better to ask someone to lend a hand.