Ingredients to the recipe of happiness

Last May we were lucky to catch up with our friends in Hong Kong at Restaurant Tosca. Whilst sharing great moments of laughter and happy tears we also experienced an evening with exceptional taste explosions. Chef Pino joined our table at dessert. We gave him compliments for the beautiful and tasty food and he humbly said: “My food is just a part of your recipe to happiness”.

It takes a great chef, time and dedication to create a recipe that is both unique and has the special effect to amaze you. And even the best recipe sometimes needs small alteration to keep you loving the taste; a secret ingredient added by the chef to create a new moment of joy.

I remember my first try out of my ‘Manager’ recipe telling my team members over and over again they always have a choice and never to worry much about making the right one. Just try, learn, experience and see what happens. Look upon your choice as a “roundabout”, if you take the wrong exit you can always go back and take another one.

I still believe in this: use your (standard) recipes, try adding new ingredients and share. I also realize I was a bit naïve to just tell this. It could have made a bigger difference if I had shared at least one choice that I made which did not felt good or did not work out the way I planned it. Especially with younger people who are still crafting their recipes, they can use examples, but also be careful. Everybody needs to create their own recipes and add or take away ingredients. But also just simply change the whole recipe or pick a new one.

It is not always easy being a manager, as the recipe of happiness is different for everyone and everybody likes different tastes or flavoures. The challenge is to try and find out which ingredients a team has in common. You can create a recipe or several recipes with those ingredients. By creating an environment based upon trust, with space for personal growth, fun and trial and error. Giving trust seems the most challenging but remember: without sincere trust, no relationship can be build.

A couple of days ago I met one of my previous team members after 5 years. I told her how important she was to me and what ingredients she added to my recipes. She instantly reacted and tells me how I helped her figure out who she is, her personal recipe, and that she learned from me to be herself and create her own recipes. She gave me a smile for days.

Moniek van Rheenen-Schreurs