Four lessons learnt from cooking about working in a team
It was a French, a Singaporean, another Swiss, and me. Together, we were planning to cook. Seems simple, right? We should all know how to cook.
Well, we managed this simple task quite well, I would say. The youth group enjoyed a great Chinese dinner, and most of the dishes were eaten up. And in between chopping coleslaw and pepper, I had some time to reflect on equally simple lessons we can all learn about working in a multinational team, whether that be on the mission field or not.
1. There are different ways to achieve the same goal.
Okay, we all knew that. But have you ever had a discussion on how to prepare garlic? When the Singaporean asked the Swiss to get the garlic ready, she simply separated the garlic cloves. No peeling. No chopping. The Singaporean didn’t know what to do with that. I showed her the garlic press and how to use it but said we needed to peel the cloves first. The Swiss insisted it works quite perfectly without peeling, and the next moment, we were all standing around the hot plates and watching how she pressed an unpeeled garlic clove into the pot without a problem.
Although using different methods, we would all have achieved the same goal: the taste of garlic.
2. It’s good to have a leader who knows where we’re going.
When cooking Chinese food, it was clear that, between the four of us, the Singaporean girl should take the lead. Not just because of her natural leader personality but also because she actually knew what we needed to do and what the end product needed to taste like. I might have had authentic Chinese food before, but I have had my fair share of ‘Swiss Chinese food,' too.
Having a leader who knows what the end product should look like and knows the steps to get there is the best way of having the whole team guided towards a great end product. When she also assigns tasks so that the one who doesn’t like to fry wouldn’t have to, she also ensures a happy team along the way.
3. We all work together to achieve the same goal.
In the end, we all had different tasks. But really, we worked towards the same: a good meal. If I wouldn’t have chopped that pepper, someone else would have been able to do it. I would not have been irreplaceable, but because I helped, we were a lot faster.
4. Together, it’s a lot more fun.
That’s it. Nothing to add.
Most of us work in a team somewhere and sometime. We have probably all experienced some of those things firsthand and could testify to the importance of it all.
And while I hope we don’t all experience the difficulties, I hope we all have stories of commendable leaders who lead a team effectively and of how, when working together as a team, we can achieve things easier, and how together, it’s a lot more fun.