Last week I got completely sucked in by the TV show The Great British Bake Off. I’m not sure what happened but not only did we watch the whole 4th season (and completely feel they chose the wrong winner!) but I then woke up Saturday morning feeling that I had to bake. So I did. I made everything I had a craving for. It started with vanilla marshmallows, some left plain and a few dipped in chocolate. Chocolate chip cookies, really big gooey and delicious ones. Then there were mini chocolate donuts, half dipped in vanilla icing and the others in chocolate. Finally, the piece de resistance, chocolate macaroons with a chocolate filling, 4 batches of them, each batch more macaroon like than the last. I would have kept going but I ran out of weekend….and sugar.
So why baking and ethics? Well, while I was whisking up a storm I was thinking about how similar baking and ethics are. There are so many different ways to bake; you can be innovative with the fillings, the flavours, the colours, the textures. But at the base there are a series of basics that you need to get right, you need to do in order for your baking to be successful. You cannot skip these steps, or try to cheat. With baking there are very specific cooking times, resting times that if they are not followed, will result in something that really doesn’t look or taste very good at all. Is this not the same deal with business? Every business works in very different ways, different people, culture, products, ways of operating. But there are some basics, like ethics, good governance, being legal, that you cannot skip or cheat, that you need to follow in order to continue to be able to do business and have a strong, healthy company.
Perhaps business school students should be offered baking courses instead or/and in addition to ethics class. A very practical way to learn how patience and doing things the right way from the start can bring about success while still affording you an incredible amount of flexibility and ability to differentiate yourself. Plus all that sugar will help fuel late night study sessions. I’m sold.