Remember that meme from a couple of years ago? The one that said, “What I Think I Do” vs what everyone else thought you did? I am an entrepreneur – always have been and always will be. But when someone asks me what I do I say, “I herd cats.”
It would be nice to travel at 30,000 feet and divine trends. But when you are an entrepreneur like me, it’s easy to end up in the weeds, like a cat, dealing with day-to-day adventures.
Because I am the owner of the business, I need to see the bigger picture no matter what’s happening. It’s my job to envision and facilitate what’s needed to take us to the “Next Level.” How can you get it done when there are so many people to manage?
Trust and develop your team
At Calvetti Culinary Creations, we set schedules and really try to stick to them. But you know how that goes sometimes. That’s when I go into cat-herding mode, just like those cowboys in that old commercial. When things start to “tilt,” I start herding. I check in, ask questions, and do my best to get us back on track without squelching creativity and initiative.
Get a reality check
It’s always a good idea to have a team member that will shoot straight with you. And I have one of the best. Cathy Hayes in my office is that person. She’s our Vice President of Customer Success (how do ya like that title?). She’s been with us for longer than either of us would like to admit. Cathy is the person I go to for a reality check when I am managing the chaos. She sees the glass as half-full, and I sometimes I am not so sure. So we’re always balancing each other out, and that’s incredibly helpful.
Understand what they’re doing and why
In 1975, Bob Dylan got together with a bunch of musician friends and went on tour as The Rolling Thunder Revue. Sometimes that’s what it feels like we’re doing as a team. We’re a bunch of talented people on a bus, traveling from town to town, putting on an intimate show for our customers. Like Bob – It’s my job to keep everyone together and make sure we do a great show each and every night. I gotta herd those cats while at the same time keep the “Big Picture” in mind.
We are always learning and I’m always herding because it works!
Truth be told, I think I am a better leader than I was even 5 years ago when we started Calvetti Culinary Creations. I attribute that to working as a team member and team leader. I’m no longer the Lone Ranger or the smartest guy in the room. I make it a point to hire people who know more than me. When I’m in cat-herding mode, I think, “What can I learn from these cats?” As a leader, I should always be learning – and your team will always have something to show you. I know they have things to offer me, and I know that I have something to offer them, so it’s a matter of offering our differences in the right way – and in the end, everyone improves.
Have a tip for herding the cats in your business? Share it with me!
Carlos Chavez, our Vice President of Operations and R&D, has been with us for nine years. He’s always on the lookout for innovative trends and appreciates the fact that the culinary industry is always changing: “Flavors, seasonings, cooking methods are in constant movement. As the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus used to say, ‘Change is the only constant in life.'”
How the industry has changed
It’s this change that inspires him daily, and he appreciates that the rules aren’t as static as they used to be. “The culinary industry and the R&D of the past used to be guided by strict rules. Now the industry is shedding those rules. The thought is, if it tastes good, who cares if you are mixing African spices with South American ingredients? At the end of the day, have you created something special?” When he’s coming up with ideas, he looks to his Peruvian roots and the chefs who have inspired him. “Gaston Acurio, Virgilio Martínez, and Mitsuharu Tsumura. They taught me that when it comes to food, you should always be creative, fearless, and a rule breaker.”
“We always say we’ll give it a try.”
When he’s at work, he especially appreciates the culture we’ve built here and is constantly amazed by our team work, tenacity, and creativity. “We never say it can’t be done; we always say we’ll give it a try.”
And outside of Calvetti, Carlos enjoys spending time with his family, first and foremost, though he geeks out on technology: “I love computers, programming, and design.” He also maintains an active lifestyle as well, playing racquetball and soccer, and going running or for long walks.
We’re proud to have Carlos on our team!
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