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Cooking with Rhythm and Project Plans

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Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

Published September 23, 2015

Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images

Picture of Liz McBride

Liz McBride

I’m often asked where Project Plans fit with Rhythm. To answer this question, I’d like to invite you into my kitchen.

I love to cook. I get inspired from what looks good in the store or from recipes and then create my own spin. Maybe my pasta will be zucchini noodles and the sauce could be thickened with mascarpone cheese.  I know what the dish should look and taste like but there are several ways to get there.

I dislike baking. It is an exact science and requires following the recipe to a T. Why do I have to sift dry ingredients if it’s all going to be mixed anyway? Why did I just spend $12 on vanilla paste if the recipe only requires ⅛ teaspoon? As a matter of principle, I refuse to sift and triple the amount of expensive ingredients to create a cake that resembles and tastes like bumpy socks.

Let’s step out of the kitchen for a moment and into connecting strategy to execution.

I approach how I connect strategy to execution with what happens in my kitchen. I am a cook. Working on the foundational strategy is what inspires the menu. Planning is where I decide the specific dishes I’ll be making each quarter. Executing my recipe is where I can put my own spin; however, I am clear on what it should look and taste like.

 Some of you are bakers when it comes to executing recipes. The baker’s colorful Gantt charts and detailed project plan serve as the cookbook.

 Can cooks and bakers work together? Absolutely. I would never rip the Joy of Cooking out of a Baker’s hand and ask them to wing it (although, that may be fun).

 Rhythm is our operating system for our inspiration and our menu. It can even include recipe guidelines. Our team is planning our first Breakthrough Execution Conference in October. We planned together and were clear on everyone’s priorities to make it a delicious success. We used Action Items to enter in the recipe and identify steps and milestones we were each responsible for. We still could put our own spin on things, but the process and the success criteria was clear. At our Weekly Adjustment Meetings, we discuss the priorities and determine whether or not adjustments to the recipe are needed.

 Coordinating the conference takes more detail. This is where a project plan and Gantt charts come into play. Luckily, we have Ally, our illustrious baker who is up to the task. Whether or not we are tracking to the project plan influences status updates each week on the priority or KPI. Any collaboration needed in order to get the priority back on track is captured in Rhythm. Additional tasks that need to be assigned are done in Rhythm as well.

 The bottom line is, whether you are a high-level planner or Gantt chart lover, a cook or a baker, or even a candlestick maker, your one source of truth and place to make adjustments to the recipe is Rhythm. And the best thing is? It requires no sifting or fancy vanilla paste.