Top management lessons from the Great British Bake Off
The Great British Bake Off final might just seem like a cake competition, but in reality, it’s a complex recipe of management skills and diligence…
With the final of the 2019 Great British Bake Off imminent, we take a look at the recipe for success that has led contestants past and present to glory.
Baking is often referred to as a science rather than an art, and that seems particularly true when it’s being evaluated by a panel of judges with very high standards. One of the biggest obstacles for Bake Off contestants is a lack of time, and how the successful contenders deal with this handicap is a lesson to us all. Giving themselves more time than they need, planning the gaps in time they might have and acknowledging dependencies they need to accommodate is a sure-fire way to win the title, and to effectively manage time in any scenario.
Another key ingredient for baking and work success is resource management. If you’re midway through a recipe – or a working project – finding out you’ve not got enough of the vital resources you need can be the difference between a beautiful baked good and a sorry soufflé. Make sure you have as many things laid out and planned for as you can before you start out, and you’ll avoid last-minute panic down the line.
Although GBBO is a solitary competition, there is an element of people management and interpersonal skills involved. Resolving issues, such as accidentally using each other’s ingredients, requires people skills and an understanding of fair play. In management, the ability to empathise and be appreciative of other people’s skills – even at the expense of your own success – is important for progress.
Recognising strengths and weaknesses
Realising and recognising your strengths and weaknesses is a key part of being an effective baker, and manager. The beauty about having a team is that you can rely on other people, but even when it’s just you vs. the problem, playing to your strengths is vital. Whether you’re making a cake or creating a client’s new campaign, figuring out what you can offer and what you might have to leave as a challenge for another day is important for progress.
Sometimes you have to get creative when life throws a spanner in the works (or an unexpected elbow on your English muffins). As a manager, you may face issues that are outside of your normal remit, and that can require some creative thinking. Can you salvage a project enough to prove its workability? Is there a way of substituting one ingredient (or skill set, or tool) for another to get around a hurdle? Flexibility can go a long way to solving problems as they arise.