I recently attended a private dinner with a bunch of international chefs from the 'Food Network'. I like to think of myself as a 'Foodie,' I enjoy both making and eating it equally and I just loooove watching cooking shows. To me, it is a sort of therapy which allows me to stay in touch with my creative side. Aside from consulting and writing, I rarely have the opportunity to explore the artsy side of me. During the dinner, I was chatting with one of my favorites who had put on a live cooking demonstration earlier.
Chef Reza Mohammed, of Indian origin, made me realize that perhaps there is a connection between cooking techniques and business strategies. In his 3-course meal preparations, he would take the final dish he was trying to create (say, the Lamb Curry) and break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks (i.e. rice first, etc). Ideally, he would tackle the smallest task first, but that wasn't always the case. He would leave aside some smaller items and cook them at the last minute as that would produce optimal taste. He would also put some items which took longer to cook on the back-burner while he prepped other parts of the dish. In business terms, he was aware of his plan before he tackled the project, but also left some room for adaptation and improvisation.
It is important to assess the needs of a project and devise a plan of action even in the smallest of businesses. Once we realize what it is we hope to achieve then we can go on and tackle the tasks one by one. We undergo this thought process very frequently on a subconscious level - think of the last time you left work, arrived home, ate your dinner, dropped the kids off to swimming practice, filled up gas while waiting for them to finish practice (back-burner technique), then went to the bank. You have then taken your big task (getting through your day) and broken it down into smaller, more manageable tasks. But even the most carefully planned project will need some room to maneuver - in this scenario, imagine your child having a fever, you will have to shuffle tasks around according to their priorities.
My advice is to device a plan, stick to it as much as possible, but always leave room to adapt. Think of cooking as just another 'project' and you will easily see the connection between Chef Reza's way and business strategies.