Sprinkle Garam Masala to Make Your Venture a Success - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Sprinkle Garam Masala to Make Your Venture a Success

Aug 27, 2014


Cinema has seen many movies with food as the central motif. And all these movies evoke great reactions from us. They appeal to our senses. They bring out hidden emotions. They pique our curiousity. They make us want to try our hand at cooking. And to top it all, they make us really hungry.

But movies based on gastronomical journeys use other means to connect with their audience too. They depict the journeys of people through food - The Hundred-Foot Journey, the journey of food itself through various places - Chef, and sometimes the journey of thoughts - Like Water for Chocolate.

"Food is memories"

Food, like a journey, is incomplete by itself. It becomes memorable because of the occasion or the people we associate it with. It becomes cherished because "we break bread with someone." Like the protagonist Hassan Kadam in The Hundred-Foot Journey says, "Food is memories."

Food has become a binding force in our lives. It brings us together, makes us enjoy ordinary moments, helps us celebrate with greater joy. Dinner time for families is known to be one of the biggest tools for building family peace and strength. Lunches with colleagues go a long way in fostering camaraderie at the workplace. And partaking of food at religious places, instills humility and oneness with all those we share the space with.

So I ask myself, what really is the bonding agent in food? And the only answer I get is that food by its very nature is not made up of one ingredient alone. Food leaves a lingering taste because of the various ingredients that blend together harmoniously, that complement each other, and still retain their distinct flavours.

Source: oksix / Shutterstock

The secret ingredient

And sometimes good food is about the chef's secret masala. That little pinch of something that gives the yummm experience. An experience that goes beyond the five senses. An experience that makes you want to take just one more small bite.

In most cultures in the world, food is about the flavours and a coming together of many spices. The Chinese have the popular five-spice powder and we Indians have the garam masala, made up of a minimum of six spices. In both these cases, motley spices are combined in different proportions to make one complete masala - a sprinkle of which changes the taste of the dish completely!

In entrepreneurship, that garam masala is teamwork!

Teamwork is the backbone of an enterprise. It's the reason why big ideas have seen their fruition in profitable businesses. Teamwork brings together diverse individuals and their talents and encourages them to be their best selves. To work in sync with the other, to understand people better and to collaborate to achieve a common purpose.

Effective teamwork is by far one of the most important ingredients in creating a lasting and successful enterprise. It provides that extra masala that makes your customers come back for a second helping.

A list of the masalas that go into cooking up effective teamwork:

Collaborate for a common goal: A team comes together for a common purpose. And that purpose is what sets the tone for the task to be achieved. In the pursuit of this goal, the team puts their own individual egos behind. They join hands for a collective and fulfilling experience. But before the team starts any activity together, they must come to an agreement on what that common aim is. They should be unified in their vision, following which everything will naturally fall into place.

A visioning exercise you can use to determine this is: Ask a team to describe their goal in three words. If most use the same adjectives, you know they are in sync!
Encourage everyone to have a voice: Good teamwork is about open channels of communication. The opportunity for everyone in the team to say what they want without any fear, doubt or inhibitions. Open communication fosters a sense of trust and respect among the team. Good communication practices come into play here. While one speaks, others should listen, and wait their turn to speak next.

A good way to encourage communication in a team is: Go around and ask everyone in the group to share their thoughts in a few minutes. This way no one is left out and each one becomes more vocal and confident.
Understand how each one functions: An important feature of group dynamics is the ability to gauge the others' working styles and skill sets. This will not only define clearly who does what, it will also help you figure out what your own role in the team is. Some may be better at ideating, others at executing and still others at observing and evaluating. Leaders tend to emerge naturally in groups, as do people who prefer working backstage. But each one plays a crucial role in the team.

One way of identifying who does what well is: Give the team a mock task before they start on the actual one, such as presenting a story. This way, you can gauge who enjoys playing what role most… an indicator of their personality as well!
Tap into the pool of creativity: The beauty of teamwork is that you have many heads as opposed to one. This not only brings diversity in thinking, but also brings more creativity to the task at hand. The essential part, though, is to keep everyone equally involved in the ideation process. To enable them to share their ideas, however crazy they may be, and not shoot them down before their time.

There are many idea generation exercises: Mind Mapping, for example, is an effective tool for igniting creativity. Take one word and draw or write all the associations arising from it. The number of ideas you get from it will fascinate you.
Find solutions to problems: Teams should feel confident to find solutions to problems by themselves. To resolve conflicts both internally and externally, and determine their own best course of action. Each team will have its own mechanisms of problem-solving and will come up with their own strategies to tackle issues. This will help them grow as a team, and as individuals.

An interesting way of coming up with solutions is: Ask a team to go on a treasure hunt. They'll stumble upon clues and roadblocks, but how they solve it will tell you about the different strengths of the team members.
Ideate on the way forward: A team needs to be constantly challenged. They need to be enthused about what to do next and then set their own goals going forward. A charged team with a plan will stay productive for longer. Every objective will keep them alert and focused. So keep the team on its toes and ready for victory.

Goal-setting can be done in several ways: List what you as an enterprise wish to achieve and how the team can help you achieve it. Go a step further and give each one a role to play in making that goal a reality. This will create a sense of ownership in the team members.

Master your masalas

A good team is eventually a product of a good team leader. Like in cooking, the magic is in the hands of the chef. Too much garam masala and it can become too spicy, too little and it stays bland. Just the right amount and it becomes a dish that lives on in your memory!

So build effective teams, keep them together and watch your enterprise grow.


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6 Responses to "Sprinkle Garam Masala to Make Your Venture a Success"


11 Nov, 2014

Good ! I agree a Team Leader has a great Role in Team Formations.

Manoj Sodha

10 Nov, 2014

Very good . Actuall thouhts for a successful entrrprise


07 Sep, 2014



30 Aug, 2014

Very good article.


28 Aug, 2014

Excellent article on team work The analogy of garam masala to spice up food is quite interesting. Food for thought!


27 Aug, 2014

Good Read. Nice inference from Food example. it not only gave the ideas, but tips to practice.


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