Pizza in the Chip Shop
I heard this in a Yorkshire fish and chip shop last summer. Father talking to son:
“Yer not ‘aving pizza. Yer don’t come to Scarborough to ‘ave pizza. Yer go to Italy to ‘ave pizza”
Nice. Classically direct “Yorkshire-ness”. Spot on.
There’s nothing wrong with either pizza or fish and chips – in the right place. Lots of us do expect to get pizza in fish and chip shops though. I’m going to stretch the metaphor here. Just a bit.
I RAN A BUSINESS ONCE THAT I WANTED TO BE PIZZA, BUT IT WAS FISH AND CHIPS.
I wanted it to do things it couldn’t do. But it could do other things really well. And when I came to realise that, and let it do them, things were fine. We just had to realise what business we were in.
Lots of people who work for charities want them to do something they aren’t capable of doing. Or they want them to solve too many problems. Or they pursue pet projects. They make pizza in the corner of the fish and chip shop. All of this creates lots of frustration, not a little anger, and often some tears.
And then there’s me at an individual level. What do I do best? Pizza or fish and chips? Where do my gifts lie?
We all need to work out what we are good at, and then do it to the very best of our abilities. But not pretend we are something we are not. I write this as a carpenter has just fitted some kitchen drawers for us. It took him two hours. It would have taken me two weeks, and they would not have worked. He’s good at carpentry. My gifts (hopefully!) lie elsewhere.
The father in Scarborough knew where to go for what he wanted. He would go to somebody who knew what they were doing.
Getting our offer clear is a golden rule of success for any activity. Anything from a consultant, to a charity, to an academic institution, to a commercial enterprise.
Otherwise you end up with burned pizza and soggy chips. And nobody will buy those.