Have you set your business resolutions yet for 2022? If so, congratulations. We’re nearly 20 days in  - How’s it going so far? 

We’re sharing a story plucked right from a popular reality competition show, that has us thinking about goal setting, efficiencies, capabilities, ROI - all those annual planning buzz words we use so much this time of year. But this isn't your usual blog post about optimization, spreadsheets or tracking OKRs. For today's lesson, we are stepping away from our desks and moving into the kitchen.

Who Can Fry The Most “Perfect” Egg?

Masterchef is a competition TV show where contestants with cooking chops compete to win an ultimate prize: cash, a cookbook, and an apron symbolizing the approval of 16-Michelin Star chef Gordon Ramsey. Every now and then, chefs that were eliminated for shortcomings such as serving a raw double pork chop or using salt in their NY style cheesecake are given another chance to compete. 

In Season 4, three contestants are brought back and given a challenge that will ultimately determine if they deserve a spot in the Top 10. Typically, the chefs are given a task that tests a variety of cooking techniques like baking, grilling, poaching, and fileting. In episode 18 the task is relatively simple: Who can fry the most perfect sunny side up eggs in 15 minutes? 

Note: The challenge is to both have the most eggs, and the most perfect eggs. Two different measurements will determine the winner. The contestants all start with eight burners, eight skillets and exactly 15 minutes to redeem themselves.

Let’s pause there. 

Do you remember the very first thing you learned how to cook on your own? For many of us, it was breakfast- specifically eggs. Learning how to make eggs is Cooking 101 so it is interesting that these above-average home cooks are being put in a high-stakes situation with a rookie protein like eggs. 

Gordon says Go! and the contestants start frying away. One reaches for butter, one grabs the oil and the other lays out their plates taking a few moments to organize. The Masterchef kitchen is really heating up. Contestants begin cranking out sunny side up eggs and 15 minutes later the clock runs out. Bime, a chef from Boston, presents 32 sunny side up eggs. Bri, the vegetarian, produces 23. And Lynn plates 27. 

The judges are ready to evaluate. The number to beat was surprisingly low. The chefs made a total of 82 eggs and only 30 were perfect. That’s 36%. 

Consider This… 

Each contestant was hardly able to prepare eight perfect eggs with precision and all three contestants were provided exactly eight burners and skillets… 

What might have happened if a contestant focused less on the number of eggs and more on the quality?  We can’t know for sure, but it's important to note that Chef Bri produced fewer eggs, but had the most perfect eggs.

Are You Up For The Challenge?

Serve Your Clients

As you look to set and take on new challenges this year, you may notice your competitors serving up 30 eggs, and you may want to move faster to keep pace with their output. When you focus on your competition rather than your clients, you risk diminishing value. 

Quality Over Quantity

When you shift your focus to producing a higher quality over quantity, you may find that return on investment is higher. Your clients have many options. It is important to focus on how you deliver value to your clients. Afterall, a high quality product will set you apart from your competition.

Assess Actionable Steps
  1. Work With What You've Got - You need to take a moment to understand your constraints, your opportunities, and the value they will bring to your product. All three Masterchef contestants  were given the same conditions and produced different outcomes. A well-positioned team should know how to use available resources to their fullest extent, understanding the strengths and abilities of each team member, stakeholder, and tools available to them.

  2. Know the Rules - Most of the time rules exist for a reason. Most of the time cooking eggs is not a high-stress challenge. There are simple rules you can follow to reliably get a good outcome. The same is true for UX. Over the past few decades, UX practitioners have developed tried and true methods for solving both simple and complex problems. Take advantage of them to create a superior product. And, know when to break them.

  3. Jobs to Be Done - Would you ever have the appetite to consume 30+ eggs, especially if only 30% of them are well-cooked? I'd much rather have a few perfect eggs, and perhaps some sausage links to start my day. When building a product, it’s important to understand the value features bring to the business and users. Does anyone truly need 30 new features? Keep your team on track while building your MVP or long-term roadmap. Focus on the job to be done and delivering features that solve the right problems. Afterall, it is much better to deliver a few well-thought out features that address the users needs than moving quickly and releasing a half-baked product. 

Now it’s Your Time to Start Cooking! 

This seemingly futile episode of Masterchef taught us a lot about goal setting, business capabilities, and efficient time management. Remember, not all New Year’s resolutions are completed by February. It takes time and planning to reach your business goals and see a positive return. Focus on quality products, know your resources, and aim to serve your customers. With these steps, you can fry the most “perfect” egg too! And if you aren’t sure where to start, we can help with that.