Fruit Salad Reminds Me – Keep It Simple

Today I relearned an important lesson — and I relearned it in a Kindergarten class.

You see, today was the day I had volunteered to do the “cooking lesson” in my younger daughter’s Kindergarten classroom.  Me versus 22 five and six-year olds.  With knives no less!

I had given a lot of thought to what I would prepare — something elaborate, maybe chicken fajitas or a Dutch apple pie?  Actually, I thought Baked Alaska would be great, combining cooking with a geography lesson, but I realized that the combo of alcohol and fire wouldn’t play well (at least in the absence of signed parental release forms).

So after running through a bunch of ideas, I settled on fruit salad.  Why fruit salad?  Well, to be honest, because it was simple.fruit-salad1

Five different fruits being cut up by five kids at a time — with each kid also peeling a tangerine.  Throw it all in a big bowl, mix it up and serve it with some cool whip on top.  Mmmmm….good!   The kids loved it, there was no need for a stove or oven and each child made it out of the room without cutting off a finger!

At the end of the hour, my daughter’s teacher marveled at how organized and easy the “cooking class” went — and the fact that not only did we do all the prep but the kids actually got to eat the fixings with time to spare.

So what did I “relearn” in making fruit salad for a class of Kindergarten kids?  I relearned this:

Businesses should think about trying to make fruit salad more often instead of complicated dishes — or worse yet, instead of trying to make a five course meal.  Just keep it simple.

Here’s my short list of how to keep managing your business simple — I’ve augmented a bit from a post I ran across at

  • Clearly define the goals of the business — what does success look like?
  • Lay out the strategy that creates a straight line to those goals.
  • Make sure the goals and strategy are communicated throughout your business — can everyone in the company play back to the CEO what these are?
  • Keep score constantly — measure people performance against goals.
  • Continually reward performance — create a culture based on performance.
  • Rinse and repeat.

Thanks to a room of Kindergarteners, I think fruit salad may be my new favorite food!

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