Sharpening the saw.

I used to work with a guy called Joe Garner. Joe was a young executive in a big retail business. Joe was a corporate climber. He just had that thing where he knew what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. Everyone used to hang on every word he said and whole business strategies could be altered with an off-the-cuff remark at a big meeting.

Most of my heroes are do-ers rather than talkers, so I really didn’t know what the fuss was about. We used to have a Monday Morning Meeting every week and the management team used to invite nerdy junior product managers and a few shop managers into the meeting to get the “view from the frontline”. I always tended to listen to the junior guys rather than Joe. Maybe that’s why I didn’t get promoted and Joe did*.

Anyway, in 3 years of working with him, I can only remember one thing he said, and it was when the whole team had some downtime. Every project report had been fed upstairs, every new product launch had been signed off and everyone was sitting around looking for things to do. I asked Joe what he was going to do for the rest of this unusually quiet week –  “sharpen the saw” he said.

When everyone else was playing Tetris or sneaking off to the pub, Joe was thinking of little things he could be doing to make his job easier when the lull ended. Smart guy.

I though of Joe after last week’s refrigeration breakdown and rock-star engineer episode (check our website if you missed it). And again on Monday when, unbelievably, we had another breakdown.

We managed to re-prep everything and still open on time and with a full range on Tuesday, but we’re starting to think it’s time to fix all those little gremlins we’ve been ignoring and get all our equipment back to its best. We’ve also expanded the team recently and it’s really hard to train people to a high standard whilst the bakery is open and trading. And then there’s the backlog of paperwork that needs sorting . . .

So we’ve decided to close for a week to basically catch up on the mad-busy last 6 months and get us fighting fit for the Summer Season.

The parts for the bread mixer have been ordered from Italy. The parts for the espresso machine are on their way from Spain. The extraction cleaning has been booked and the oven is having a deep clean.

We return on the 22nd, sharp and ready for action… A huge thank you for your patience.

(*I Googled Joe, just for fun. He’s now the Chief Executive of Nationwide Building Society. Joe isn’t scrubbing ovens next week.)