Leadership lessons from the BBQ Grill

July BBQ

Thank you to everyone who came!

As I checked the meat and fish on the grill, anticipating the arrival of my first guests, the last thing on my mind was leadership theory or stories.  In fact, don’t we often grill to get away from it all? Maybe have a beer, or cabernet, and focus on something besides work?  By the end of the evening, I was overwhelmed by the sense of leadership, relationship, community, and team building.  Here is what I learned:

  • Thorough planning makes for a successful event. We planned every detail, and as we did so, our “group” turned into a “team.”  We also had more confidence during the event, as we knew everything would be there, when and where we needed it.
  • Enthusiasm is a key ingredient. As we talked excitedly about our upcoming BBQ, others heard and offered to help.  Each new team member brought a new flavor to the event.
  • Double-check the invite list. Who did we forget to invite?  Who missed our invitation, and needed to be reminded.  If someone is important to us, we made the effort to connect via multiple channels to ensure their participation…and feeling of importance.
  • Call the experts. When I sent shopping for the main BBQ grilling items, I brought my wife with me.  Though my enthusiasm loaded up my shopping cart, her experience and wisdom emptied half my cart before the check out.  Letting her over-ride my decisions saved our project team financial resources, precious time, and risk of failure.
  • Delegate appropriately. As the guests arrived I did my best to shift from cooking to greeting.  My team wanted me to perform the tasks they couldn’t…and let go of the rest.  I had to focus on my highest-priority task at the time: greeting, introducing, serving, and onboarding all the guests effectively to ensure their successful participation.
  • Speak to the Vision and Mission. After everyone had some food I made a toast…to the reason we were gathered together, to the values we stand for, to our mission together.  Find what bonds us together at this moment, and inspires us to continuing work hard for the future.
  • Appreciation. I thank everyone on our BBQ team who planned, cooked, shopped, prepped, greeted, served, and cleaned up.  I’m not always face-to-face with all my team members, but I have to remember them, seek them out, and make them feel appreciated.  Finally, I thank my wife and family for all their support.

I was once again overwhelmed, by the appreciation the guest showed me at the end of the evening, and with notes the next morning.

Thanks for a great party last night.  I really enjoyed it.  Lots of everything; delicious food, drinks and nice people! – Stein

Great party, great guests and most importantly terrific hosts. – Eitan

Thank you for a very nice evening. Both Jackie and myself really enjoyed your hospitality. – Marty

As I ponder hosting another BBQ, I wear a satisfied grin and a stronger appreciation for all the players who make our events and career successes possible.  Thank you.

Happy Grilling!


Photos from the Party:

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