In introducing “Nalu it” for our October Ho‘ohana, I had written:
“ ” in the perfect cut of beef, there is always a degree of fat marbling. From that fat a steak will cook with the best flavor, and be juicy. Without it, you may as well turn it into smoked jerky, for it will be dry and without the taste it could have promised on its own. Yes, that marbling is fat, but it’s good fat.
The analogy is a good one for many businesses in Hawaii right now. They are still running very, very lean, —they have been ever since the September 11th tragedy gave their owners the excuse to trim all fat out of their operations. It’s fat that has never been put back in, and now many are actually in a position where the economy is booming and they cannot take advantage of it. Business is to be had, and they are turning it away, or taking the very dangerous risk of treating it with such mediocrity they create ill-feelings with their customers and their staff.
They certainly cannot “Nalu it” (i.e. go with the flow) when a business break-through comes their way.”
So what do you think is considered “good fat” in a business?
Most of the managers I know will immediately say “extra labor.” Yet I have to wonder how they would use that labor if they had it. In my experience, the tendency is to simply spread existing functions out thinner, making it easier on everyone, rather than invest that new and fresh energy into increasing overall productivity or new growth. In other words, our tendency is to add to the bad fat versus the good fat.
We need to look at this in a pretty straightforward and logical way:
- Having good fat produces good results.
- Having bad fat produces not-so-good results.
In my curiosity about how to focus this for our everyday work, I looked for some information on how good fat functions in our bodies, and thanks to my good friend Researcher Google, this is what I found: Primarily, good fat
- Adds to Caloric Value. Fats provide a lot of energy in the form of calories. Calories are a measure of the heat produced by the utilization of foods in the body.
- Is a Storehouse of Energy. Body fat provides the most important reservoir of stored energy as adipose tissue, which is absolutely critical from a survival standpoint. In times of famine, a person must live off his/her stored body fat or perish.
- Serves as a Transporter. Fats enable the transportation and use of vitamins A, D, E, K, and for other substances which are fat soluble. Without fat in the diet, those vitamins would not be able to function, causing a multitude of health issues for us.
So think about this in terms of work, and the health of a business.
The good fat in a business should
- Add to the Value of that business by Powering its Strengths.
- Store Reserves which can be quickly retrieved as New Energy when needed.
- Serve to enable the Smooth Functioning of work, i.e. Drive its Vitality.
In my view, the best example of good business fat as Added Value is the opportunity for new tertiary learning, with the expectation that the learning will translate into some new application for that business— into new action that would not have happened without it. It then Powers Strength by fueling growth, both for the learner and for the business itself.
I think of time taken for exceptional follow-up as a form of Stored Reserves. This one in particular is the “Nalu it” connection for me: Good follow-up includes things like having lessons learned culturally inculcated in debrief sessions with the kaizen mentality of continuous improvement.
Rock solid as a Vitality Driver is the Daily 5 Minutes, as good as good fat gets, with “transporting the vitamins” of great communication that workplaces managed with aloha thrive on.
Can you think of some other examples?
Reference Article: The Functions of Dietary Fat: 10 more benefits are listed if you are interested!