This one weird trick will – well, probably do nothing.

Food tray

A friend pointed me at this great piece of writing about pasta. The writer talks about how there really is no one, single thing you can do to get great carbonara. You have select the right ingredients, use the right technique, and uses your senses to constantly adjust. It helps to have “continuous learning” attitude – the author writes about having made the same recipe hundreds of times.

I think he’s right. I’ve seen lots of organisations pinning their hopes on a single – often spectacular – decision. In one case, we went through a complex re-organisation, splitting the company across different axes, so we could become more “customer-focused”. Customers reported there was no difference in their experience. In another case, we re-platformed our entire tech stack to become “more agile”. I am sure you can guess what happened…I once saw a new marketing director hailed as the “solution” to our sales challenges. And so on, etcetera.

So, no. I don’t think there’s a “secret”, or a “silver bullet”, or “one weird trick” that will transform either your pasta or your business. The organisations I’ve been lucky enough to work with and for several excellent organisations, and the one thing they all had in common was a focus on the basics. Software organisations that were obsessive about code quality and developer “flow”. Businesses that kept a relentless eye on the bottom line, on customer satisfaction. Organisations that were scrupulously honest about feedback and self-reflection, and that made sure they told good stories about themselves and their customers.

But, if I had to choose…the one thing that improves your pasta game is properly salting the water in which you boil your pasta.

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