Why Teamwork is Like Taco Night

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There is no “i” in Teamwork. But there is one in Taco Night.

I have 2 small boys: Henry (8) and Lewis (5). Unfortunately we suffer similar challenges that most parents do with young children: Fussy eater syndrome. Both have gotten to be much better over the years but sometimes it can still be a challenge.

My wife and I are both foodies. She is also an amazing cook. Seattle is filled with amazing restaurants and we ate through most of them pre-kids.

When we were not eating out she was making wondrous meals at home like bucatini with clams, spanish pork burgers, paella, meatballs from scratch, and other delights.

Like all people who don’t actually have children, we were convinced that once we did, our kids were going to eat everything. In fancy restaurants. With no whining. It’s amazing how delusional you are about children when you don’t actually have them.

But as we all know, kids are unique and they operate by the own set of rules sometimes, especially when they are young. You can read a million books about the subject, but if your 3 year old gets it in his head that anything made of lamb is gross or anything with oregano on it is spicy, there’s not a whole lot you can do except move on and try something else for dinner.

Once children show up, your gastronomical menu eventually begins its inevitable decline; foods like buttered noodles, chicken tenders, hot dogs and pizza start showing up. It can be difficult but it also forces you to find creative ways for everyone to eat a healthy, enjoyable meal together. It’s the ultimate team building exercise.

Which brings me to taco night.

Taco night in the Achak household is one of the few meals where everyone wins and everyone eats well. It’s my favorite family meal.

Lettuce is chopped and placed out in its own bowl; as are radishes, carrots and green onions. Guacamole is oftentimes prepared. Cheese is shredded. Taco and tostada shells are laid out. Taco meat and refried beans, both simmering on the stove, are added to the table as well. It looks amazing and there is always something delicious and healthy for everyone.

Lewis can build his unique meat and cheese tacos, snapped in half then folded, complete with guac and carrots on the side. Henry can enjoy bean tacos but still be amenable to lettuce and radishes. Deb gets her healthy tostadas and I pack my tacos with all of the fixings.

By taking our own personal wants and needs out of the equation and instead focusing on a solution that has something for everyone, we all win.

Omitting one or more of these items exponentially diminishes the meal and each item would in turn be lacking on its own. Everything together, however, is a harmonious masterpiece. Everyone is happy, the meal is truly enjoyed by all and no one goes hungry.

In business, successful teams work much the same. To build solutions which truly delight the customer, your focus should be first and foremost on finding team members that not only work well together, but also complement each other.

Each individual skill set possessed should enhance the others; and while good on their own, they should achieve true excellence when working in unison.

Matthew Achak

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