I’m having a happy day in my home office today and thought I’d do a bit of cooking on the side. Those of you who know me well know I love to cook, and that it doesn’t require much for me to get out of my office and into the kitchen. Having the luxury of a whole day at home means I can also cook things that need a few hours on the stove or in the oven, without fear of the house burning down while I’m out! Plus, it warms up our cold Queenslander* nicely on a chilly day.
I bought some beautiful beef cheeks from our local butcher a few days ago, inspired by a spectacular meal I ate at Movida Aqui in Melbourne recently when I was there for a Thought Leaders Business School immersion. Chatting with my friend Mo MacRae about how phenomenal this meal was made me realise I hadn’t cooked beef cheeks in AGES, so when I saw them at the butcher, I couldn’t resist.
My recipe calls for a master stock. Previously I had purchased some, but I figured this time I would make my own. It’s actually pretty easy. While I was adding the ingredients to the pot (water, Shaoxing, soy sauce, palm sugar, star anise, cinnamon, mandarin peel, ginger, garlic, spring onions and sesame oil), I thought of how this relates to strategy development.
A colleague recently asked me to review a social media strategy one of his staff had developed. While it was good, it was lacking a few key ingredients. A bit like a master stock when you forget to add the star anise. Or the cinnamon. Or the ginger.
For those who don’t know, a good master stock can last you for years. Once made it’s used for braising or poaching meat or seafood. The difference between a master stock and a regular stock, is that a master stock is stored and reused, instead of being turned into a soup or sauce or used to cook rice or veggies. This means the flavour intensifies over time, making it more and more flavoursome with each subsequent use. In theory, a master stock can last forever if it’s properly looked after. And not accidentally tipped down the sink as I have once done. That, my friends, was a sad day…
So how does this relate to strategy I hear you ask. A good strategy should also last for a while. Perhaps not years, but at least a year. The elements of the strategy – goals, audience, key messages, tactics, resourcing, measurement, action plan – are like the ingredients. If you leave one out, it will still work, but not as effectively.
Over time the actions might change as you try different things. If you’re writing a social media strategy you might try out different channels – similar to how you might try different types of meat or seafood with your master stock.
As for the tipping down the sink part – that, my friends, is the cooking equivalent of forgetting to save your work and having your computer crash. Both equally unpleasant occurrences.
If you’re struggling with your social media strategy (or your master stock!) please get in touch – or sign up to one of my workshops in July 2018, How to Become a Social Association.
* Queenslanders are awesome in summer. In winter they are frigid, open-plan, hard and expensive to heat ice-boxes. At least, ours is. And I don’t care if you’re laughing at me complaining about a Brisbane winter, it can still get down to 4c overnight.