Tasty Careers

Here’s the best definition of lifelong learning I’ve heard so far: “At the end of the day, everyone goes home smarter.” That line was delivered by Tom Walter, CEO of Tasty Catering, a Chicago-area food catering company that was one of two companies honored by Workforce Chicago at a recent breakfast hosted by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning.

Tasty tips:

  • Based on entrepreneur Jack Stack’s philosophy of sharing financial results and responsibilities with employees at all levels, Tasty employees are in charge of contributing to their slice of the bottom line. With everyone from delivery vehicle maintenance staff to executives searching for ways to grow revenue and contain costs, Tastey saw 2011’s sales increase 10% and profits rise 125%.
  • Employees learn how to read financial statements, too, so that Tasty can become “A business of businesspeople.”
  • One Tasty employee detected a market opportunity for corporate gift baskets and developed a business plan for a college class. She presented her concept to her bosses…and walked out with a $50,000 launch fund, sparking a new division. That’s more than frosting!

When Did Self-Awareness Become a Job Skill?

What’s the difference between a matrix and a lattice?

There isn’t one. They’re mirror images of the same type of organizational structure.

A matrix is a web of responsibility distributed throughout an organization.

The lattice is the personal version of this. A lattice is a personal career path that goes both over and up, enabling you to get ahead as you gain skills and experience in several directions.

The matrix replaces the chain of command.

The lattice replaces the ladder.

What does it take to succeed in a matrix, when you can’t count on your title and all the authority it confers to scare others into doing what you say? Here’s what the Hay Group says:

  • Empathy
  • Conflict management
  • Influence
  • Self-awareness

Sounds like a set-up for an enlightened workplace.

If only.

Hay recently found a mismatch between the skills demanded of the matrix and the skills actually possessed  by leaders in such organizations:

  • 9% held a strong sense of self-awareness
  • 20% were able to lead using influence
  • 22% had a strong sense of empathy
  • 31% had good conflict-management skills

I’m wondering how the 91% of employees who don’t even know that they’re clueless, given their low levels of self-awareness, are going to figure out that they need the other skills.

Back on point:¬† if you’re in an organization that says it’s a matrix, actively cultivate these four skills. Whether your bosses know it or not, these problemsolving skills are the currency of advancement.