Home > IT Management, Management, People Management, Unstructured thoughts > In-N-Out Burger: Professionalizing Fast-Food — Management by Touching the Fire!

In-N-Out Burger: Professionalizing Fast-Food — Management by Touching the Fire!

What follows is going to be a mental dump of disjointed thoughts about IT and various other stuffs that came from reading:In-N-Out Burger: Professionalizing Fast-Food – BusinessWeek.

Life isn’t a drive-thru… drive-thru ATM, drive-thru king of the hill, drive-thru CLICK experience…. however, it’s appalling how seemingly so many here go through it as if it were, more so than even when I was years back. People have unfortunately gotten the idea that you can win in the game of life without paying the dues. Lunch is free!!!.

Needless to say, with what’s happened, it did appear so, but in a correction on par with Godly retribution, we find that indeed the normal world order is re-establishing itself and the emperor really does have no clothes! So no more fast tracking unless it’s to the bottom of the black hole and no, your career and professional development means you won’t be Director before you’re age 35. And yes, you do need to put in the hard effort and learn your craft as the tale of the legendary In-N-Out Burger story reminds us. It’s not surprising that it starts from the bottom up – the unsung front line troops who are responsible for the greatness of the In-N-Out Burger and franchise – learning the ropes, bit-by-bit because greatness wasn’t built overnight.

IT services also requires the same painstaking process and steps. Management trainees need to get on the service desk/helpdesk rotation and learn there first. You do not pass go and collect $200 without first taking the front line bullets. Graduating into IT management which so many people do without first-hand knowledge and experience of this, will doom the IT organization somewhere in its life with disastrous results.

This is what I preach — “Management by Touching the Fire”[tm]*. It’s basic – how do you know the fire is hot? You had to touch it, doh. How do you know your IT service – works, is of good quality, satisfies the customer etc? You had to do it yourself – step by painstaking step do it yourself to know through sheer pain of failure, task difficulty, long miserable hours in the effort to succeed for the customer…. and get the feedback that you succeeded and the customer is happy. Then and only then, can you move onward and (hopefully) upwards, only to repeat the unforgiving cycle again…and again…and again…

* Touching the Fire terminology as I mean it, seems to have first appeared in the blogosphere in Andrew Downard’s posting in iSixSigma Blog. I thought I could take credit for it… but I can’t so I agree with Andrew’s posting and message. Heed them, or be forever firefighting.

And for those who haven’t had the chance to taste such a great burger, here’s what one of them looks like (trust me, it taste a lot better than it looks):

Real picture of an In-Out-Burger

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