"One of the saddest lines in this world is,'Oh come now - be realistic.'

The best parts of this world...were fashioned by those who dared to look hard at their wishes and gave them horses to ride." - Richard N. Bolles (author of What Colour is Your Parachute?)

*******************

I had originally planned a different topic for this post (the first in some time!) - but it seemed just too on the nose to avoid speaking about one of the big factors that found me making time for this blog today - so I switched gears. 

Let's talk about... marrrrrketing. 

Or, somewhat more accurately, marketing in the age of social media. 

As a blog once dedicated to the books I read about food - it likely doesn't shock that I acquired a lot of business books prior to beginning C&Q. One of my favourites was written in the mid-80s (and no, not the Parachute) Sure, their examples are hilariously outdated but the advice as a general rule is sound. Except for one particular thing. The advice related to marketings suggests the following list as an example of the most important steps to a successful campaign:

1. Get some branded freebies (pens, magnets, etc. for 'promotional giveaways')

2. Take out at least a quarter page ad in the Yellow Pages

3. Purchase a list of buyers and cold-call them (use the word 'Sample' aggressively)

I'll go ahead and assume that you are sniggering at this list as much as I was. When I put together a list of my own a few months ago, it looked more like this: 

1. Design some carrybags & 'cool' flyers that double as art statements (branded freebies)

2. Make sure the website has good Google rankings

3. Build a thriving account on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter -  throw in a couple of obscure new sites (Foodstand, Frilip, Vine, Medium) - try to build relationships and surreptitiously offer samples "just for funsies" *

I'm sure that Señor Ninteen-Eighties' list was plenty difficult at the time - but it didn't require the same kind of emotional commitment that today's list does. You have to give a genuine part of yourself to Twitter in order for it to work successfully. And frankly, today's items could be subdivided into about a thousand other tiny categories that carry their own lists. Taxing doesn't cover it. Especially item #2. 

Google just doesn't make it easy for you! Nor should they, of course... The whole reason their brand is now a verb is because the results of a search seem fairly objective. Or well, the general public has at least bought into the fact that the whole google indexing/algorithm/thingamajig (mostly) only throws up appropriately applicable results. And whether it's blind trust, or the results are truly accurate, Google reigns supreme.**

I will be the first to admit that, when starting out on this journey, I held tight to the naive belief that a product of good quality would be sufficient to ensure a successful business. I won't say that I have completely changed my tune on that - but I've come to accept that a business needs more than that to survive. I use the word 'survive' deliberately... Eventually, you might thrive, but you'll need more than good products to make it to the point where good products only are sufficient. I have a fantastic example of that, by the by. Open up a new tab and do a quick google search for 'British Cheese'. Notice anything missing? Yup. Neal's Yard Dairy only shows up on the 2nd page! How about them apples?! *drops mic, walks away. 

Not all of us can be NYD though, so I've spent many weeks fiddling with html, changing domains (you might notice that we're not technically eating.literally anymore?), and using words like 'crawl', 'seo' and 'robot.txt'*** And huzzah! http://curedmeats.london is now on the 1st page! 

In the interests of helpfulness, here are the few tips I've gleaned in the process:

 

Get as much content as you can connected and/or pointed at your domain.

Basically, if you've got a blog (*coughs knowingly), you'll want to make as many high-quality, well-clicked posts as  you can, and make sure that the blog domain will feed into Google's read on whichever site you're focusing on

Also, yeah, some press wouldn't hurt. 

Plus, if you're proactive and snapped up more than one suffix (.com/.co.uk), those should all be feeding into one ultimate domain as well. Otherwise you're just splintering your results. 

 

Pay attention to what you've got down in the subtext of your site

If you aren't the web-savvy who built the site, make sure that you get thems who did to show you how to look at and adjust the index text files. These are the behind-the-curtain files that form the background of your website. Again, too fancy for this post (or my brain, frankly), but all the images you see when you bring up your url are controlled and placed via words. The internet is the truest, most opposite, expression of 'a picture is worth a 1000 words'. A load of those words can't be seen except when for when you're looking at the index text files but Google takes all of them into account when gauging your site for search results.  So you'll want to adjust the title and the meta-tags to make sure they contain all the keywords you expect people to be googling. Again, ask those savvies to show you where these live in the text file and you're good to go. 

 

Pretend that Google wants to help you... No, seriously. 

Well.. They kinda do! As I said, Google has a vested interest in ensuring that their search results are representative and accurate. So if they aren't including you, but they should be, they do want to know about it. And as such they have two apps that you can make pretty awesome use of. Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. The former is particularly helpful. Once you've included those words I mentioned, you can ask that Google 'crawl' your site... Which is rather as it sounds. They'll send sneaky internet spiders**** to rummage all over your site and check out the keywords. And behold... you're suddenly showing up in the searches for those words. 

 

And Don't Be Afraid!

It will feel extremely intimidating when you first start. You heard it here first. No puns intended, but the internet is a language onto itself. So googling "How to improve your Google results" (how meta is that?!) will most often lead you to sites earnestly helpful and just as earnestly confusing as f*ck. But push though it and some day you'll get  to be half-way down the first page rankings just like a certain successful cured meats business I know! (Also, read this. Reading always makes things better). 

 

NEXT TIME: I'll try and cover the other two items on my list before I update you with where we are now...

 

 

*It's beyond the scope of this particular post but I do urge you to note that if you distill each item on both lists down to their key elements - marketing hasn't really changed that much. But let's avoid looking at the man behind the curtain for the moment, shall we?

**'Course, it must be a reasonably safe assumption, because if you were forever getting recipes for delicious desserts when you typed in 3.14, or if you turned up images of Canada's majestic when you typed in mousse, Google would have long ago gone the way of Dogpile and AskJeeves. And yes, if you're curious, I googled food homonyms before I wrote that last bit. 

***Not a word. 

****Spiders crawling the web. Get it? Yeah. I agree... It's pretty creepy. But there you are. 

 


"I consulted with my two brothers, Dr.Reason and Dr.Experience...

and took a voyage to visit my mother Nature... and, being warned by Mr.Honesty, a stranger in our days, to publish to the world, I have done it." - Nicholas Culpeper. 

So there is this guy named Nicholas Culpeper.

Pretty active around England in the early 1600s, he was kind of the Robin Hood of medicinal herbs. Not to say that he stole the herbs from the rich, I mean it more in connection with his desire to bring medicine and pharmacology to all levels of society, and not just the wealthy and the latin-speakers*. Frankly, he was pretty reviled by the physicians of his day.  He treated the ill for free and published books actively encouraging laypeople to source their own cures from the surrounding wilds, rather than paying top-pound for a complex concoction from Dr.Bespectacled. 

Culpeper gleaned his knowledge from spending many years mucking around in the English countryside. He wrote several books cataloguing the various herbs and fungi that grew there and detailing how these native plants could (with the judicious application of astrology) be used to heal everything from excessive flatulence to an ectopic pregnancy. Not that he called it that, of course, but you get the idea. He also lent his expertise to some imported herbs from that time. But, given Culpeper's political leanings, I'm inclined to believe that he stuck to whatever was properly accessible. No point in giving a farmer the advice to soak his gouty foot in a bath of gold bullion, is there?

I was introduced to one of his books: The Complete Herbal...

Culpeper's complete herbal
What a sexpot, eh?

 

when I was first trying to suss out how authentic some traditional recipes I found were. "Would they really have had access to that then? What can I include in my list of 'British Spices'?" and other questions. I, and a billion other internet users, got a hold of a copy pdf-ed from the library of none other than my-once-upon-a-time neighbour: The University of Toronto. 

And I was put in mind to pull this post forward after our first market this past Saturday when I couldn't answer a question about cayenne pepper**. I had written most of this post some time ago, but I didn't give Nick the credit he was due back then, so he's headlining now. 

ANYWAY, moving along. 

This manual of herbs is truly great. Maybe not so much if you're actually seeking medical aid - I can't speak to the accuracy of any of these remedies - but if you're trying to determine what spices you can get away with including in your 'British sausages', you could hardly ask for more. 

Going by Culpeper's inclusions, and a couple of more modern botantical books, I came up with a list of herbs and spices that were not only delicious but also in line with C&Q's mission statement. 

Now came what I didn't realize would be the tricky part. 

Just because it comes from here, just because it still grows here...well, that doesn't mean you can actually buy some. You remember that Hilarious Acronym from my last post? One of the most important control points in any business is sourcing. You can't just buy ingredients from any schmo off the internet. How do you know whether they are being as careful about safety as you are? All the HACCP plans in the world won't help you if you make your products out of malarial-infested peppercorns.*** 

So I contacted every spice and herb merchant I could find - many of whom advertised using British farms as suppliers... and nothing. Zip. Bupkis. They rarely wrote me back when I asked about which items were being sourced from inside the country, and when they did it was a pretty clear shut-down. In one memorable case, a purveyor who advertised their use of British farms all over their website told me that: "We cannot maintain a list of which herbs come from British farms because we cannot ever guarantee that this is currently the case." When I said that I just wondered if they had an idea of which herbs might ever, EVER, even if they rarely had them, have come from England - they wrote back the rather succinct response of 'no'. 

This is amazing to me. I know this grows here! And you mean to tell me that I cannot have it? 

When we discuss the odd problems that come with our economies going global, the 'global village', and the high cost of low price, I never once suspected that it might reach as far as an herb garden. Would you? More than once, among the few merchants who I spoke with, the words quality and consistency came up. "We would source our juniper berries from England - but they are just so much better when they come from Croatia". Now, it's worth mentioning that juniper is actually having trouble surviving recently in England and Scotland. There's even a Plantlife conservation effort drive dedicated to trying to keep this native bush around. One of the key elements of encouraging new seedlings to grow, wouldn't you know it, is harvesting the berries. So our reliance on Croatian imports is hardly helping. 

And what does this mean for Crown & Queue? 

Well, let's just say I hope you appreciate how much work went into our statement of "as many indigenous herbs and spices as possible". After a long and generally fruitless search (pun definitely intended), I finally managed to find some very small producers with whom to work. Rich, pungent Sage from Hampshire. Bone-white Sea Salt from Cornwall. Spicy Elephant Garlic from the Isle of Wight. To name a few. 

But I'm not going to deny that it is tougher than it should be. And from a entrepreneurial's point of view, that it is more expensive than I might wish. Plus, I won't lie, there are some ingredients that I had to make the second-best choice of working with a small-scale family-run British importer to get because they just cannot be had from a local producer. Black peppercorns, of that malarial-mention, spring to mind. (But hey! India was a colony, right? Still counts.)

Ultimately, my hope is, if I continue to do my part, no matter how difficult, and maybe if other producers take the time and money to as well, we can look back 20 years from now and revel in a cornucopia of local abundance. 

 

Here's hoping. 

 

 

* Some context. Medical texts were still written in Latin around that time. Medicine and the practice of started in Greek and Arabic mainly, and when these were less commonly understood, it moved into Latin. Not just the terms mind you! The sentences explaining the terms too. Even after colloquial language had moved to Shakespearean English (Will actually passed away the same year our boy was born), medical texts were still completely in Latin - all the way until the 1800s actually

** I know that Cayenne isn't indigenous to England. It's named for a city in French Guiana - that's a prettttttty big hint. So I omitted it when I found it in a recipe for collared pork recently. But when a market-goer questioned whether a writer from 1807 would even have had cayenne, I was stymied. I pulled out my copy of Nick's book to settle the question, and it turns out, yes, they were using it as far back as 1653... so it makes sense that a Lady a couple of hundred years later might have had it in her larder too. 

***I'm pretty sure you can't infect peppercorns with malaria. Sadly, Nicholas Culpeper wasn't as helpful about solving that query. But I'm pretty sure. 


Reading & Eating; This Week in Pictures

"A writing cook and a cooking writer must be bold at the desk as well as at the stove" - M.F.K. Fisher

--------------------------

Madly dashing around town this week trying to accomplish multiple, contradictory agenda items. Nail down a contractor, assign the placement of drains for the new arch (within a pretty intense time crunch - why I couldn't have had the drawings weeks ago is still slightly beyond me), get a proper business bank account, change my surname over to my shiny new married name, meet with a few designers, confirm parttime work while this little baby is working out its growing pains and attend a Level 3 Health and Safety course. Most items on the checklist are ticked, so... uh... huzzah! Sleep was on my list, as was cleaning my house and trying to pack for the grand move tomorrow, but whatever. Sleep and Pack when you're dead. Or something like that. Here's the week in pictures. X

 

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Why Do We Love Meat? It's in Our Genes...

Read this great article from the Wall Street Journal about why we all so meaterific. 

"Kangaroo ham. Rhino pie. Trunk of elephant. Horse's tongue. Domestic life was a trifle off at William Buckland's home. Some visitors to his Oxford, England, house in the early 1800s best remembered his front hallway, lined with the grinning skulls of fossilized monsters. Others recalled the live monkeys swinging around. But no one could forget Buckland's diet. A deeply religious geologist, he held the story of Noah dear, and he ate his way through most of Noah's ark. There were only a few animals he couldn't stomach: "The taste of mole was the most repulsive I knew," Buckland once mused, "until I tasted a bluebottle [fly].""

via online.wsj.com


"Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run...

...than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold." - Helen Keller

Have a gander at this article about nitrates and nitrites. And remember while reading it that 'how I was going to deal with these dangerous additives' was the first question I ever received about this project... long before, 'how ya gonna pay for it' and 'what about E coli 0157'. Hmmm. 

 

Article on Nitrites
I hope people feel about Jane, they way they do about Simon!

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act...

The rest is merely tenacity."  - Amelia Earhart

 

FINALLY. Some time to myself. 

 

Although technically of course, not really to myself. I spend most of all my quote-unquote FREE time on either the business or wedding planning*.  So what I am really applauding here is that I have finally had some time to work on those two things, as opposed to devoting my time to my day job, monitoring my family's finances or running errands. 

 

First up then, is a bit of recap-alitis. 

I've just come back from Ann Arbor, Michigan where I had the immense pleasure of attending a seminar led by the exemplary Ari Weinzweig. I was orginially handed the first in his series of business books back when I lived in England and worked for the Cheese Shop. Unfortunately, it was a borrowed copy and had to go back to its owner when I moved back to the US. When it came time to start being serious about putting together Crown&Queue**, I bought myself a new copy and have been working through it steadily.

Reading Ari Weinzweig
Highlighter and Pen at the ready!

Although Ari's books are mostly about can-do than about how-to, I knew somehow that this was the right place to start building my vision. 

 

I shared much of what I was learning on here (as well as on facebook and twitter) and managed to capture the attention of an old friend who also happens to work at Zingerman's. In addition to sending me another one of Ari's books, 'Calvin' invited me to join this year's Cheese Summit.

Basically, every year, the Cheese Shop organizes a private Zingtrain seminar called 'Fun, Flavorful Finance' and invites some cheesy friends and family to learn the Ari-way along with them. It's an overview of Open Book Management, Open Book Finance, Visioning and etcetera. All the elements that I've been studying, and which seem to make Zingerman's so successful, presented by the man himself. 

Calvin suggested that if I could get myself to Ann Arbor (in 5 DAYS TIME!) there could be a spot for me at the seminar - and, to really light the fire under my butt, Calvin told me that he'd happily find accomodation for me and even pick me up from the airport!

I'm not sure when I've ever managed to pull something together on the fly like this so quickly before. 

Got the 'go-ahead' from the co-op, scheduled flights, rented cars, organized my life and basically immediately took off. And it was worth every second of stress and exhaustion and possibly insulting my family. Seriously. And not just because they had masseuses there for quick back-rubs during the breaks. 

I've never felt so inspired, motivated, passionate, and supported in my life. 

Beneath Zingerman's Deli
Even their boxes are inspiring!

 

I actually started writing that vision I've been putting off while at the airport waiting for my flight home!

Since one of the cardinal rules of OBM is to publish, publicize and otherwise shout your vision out to the world at large, I'll be posting my finished vision here in the next few days. 

I'd also like to write a bit about some of the awe-inspiring people I had the pleasure of meeting while I was there, but all that awe would overwhelm this particular post, so you can expect a total download on that in its own post soon too. 

 

Paint me giddy!

 

*Not trying to confuse you exactly  - I'm just being deliberately obsfucating to keep my privacy for the time being. But yeah, they're a big party in August!

**Pretty sure this is my finalized title... Thoughts?!


"Gossip is what no one claims to like...

But everyone enjoys." - Joesph Conrad 

 

So... You may have noticed, once or twice, that I have mentioned that I am reading Ari Weinzweig's book on business... Well, what I may not have previously mentioned, is that I was lucky enough to spend

Unexpected Post
The Joys and Perils of Displaying Your Address on the Internet!

some time with one of their higher-ups, C.Hayes*, when he came a visiting the London Cheese Shop. He's completely boss. And in that way, as in many others, well-reflects the culture and values of Zingerman's Community of Businesses. (i.e these are also boss). Anyways... Turns out he's a bit of a facebook stalker, and he found out that I didn't yet have Ari's book on Leadership in my library. 

He also happened to spy that post I did on my SAG checks, which revealed my home address pretty thoroughly. 

Side remark... Best Address Comment? "Your street sounds like a burger." But I digress

 

 

So what did I just discover in my mailbox?!?!

 

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you

 

 

 

 

 

Yup. That's right. A brand new spanking copy of the book I was missing (and dying to read!). 

I love that he did this on so many levels. 

And I cannot wait to start culling some information outta there and start sharing in on here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Can't very well change his name so much, it's written right there on the return address! Hahah. But let's pretend it's..uh... Calvin, okay? 


"The overarching desire to do the right thing well is something we can't train for...

"It's either there or it isn't." - Danny Myer

I had an interesting meeting the other day. I arranged it myself actually, although it didn't exactly go as I had planned. 

I don't want to get too deep into the nitty gritty  - but basically, there is a program I want to develop at the Organic Co-Op. I think it would mend a pretty serious gap between our practices and our mission statement. To develop this project, I needed board approval (we are a co-op, remember!), a hefty dollop of my time, and a bit of effort on the part of my team's members, and the team members of one or two other departments. But those kinds of needs kinda go hand in hand with 'briding a gap'; Not exactly a light undertaking. 

So, the meeting I referred to earlIER was between myself, the managing director and the head of my department, as I tried to get the first part of my recipe. I presented my project, answered all their questions and assuaged all their doubts. Or well... I tried...  Anyways, here's the interesting part: As the meeting wrapped up, and I could tell that the answer was a 'no', the managing director pointed to a poster across the conference room detailing the Organic Co-Op Mission Statement. 

"Look." he said, "This is part of the reason I'm doubtful about your project. This is our mission statement, but the employees here make it hard for us to enact it. Your idea supports our mission, but our employees don't". 

Okay, okay, he didn't say exactly that. It probably wasn't nearly as well-turned, but his implications stand. 

Except for the fact that you probably shouldn't shake the managing director of your company (especially when you're practically low-level compared to him), I wanted to grab his shoulders and viciously rock his body back and forth after he said it. Are you kidding me?! How can you so matter-of-factly say that?! Why is that acceptable?! And how can you accept it so thoroughly that it is actually used as an excuse NOT TO MAKE THINGS BETTER?!

Now that a few days have gone by and I am feeling more calm - I've started analysing where this gap (even larger than the one I had initially proposed filling) had come from. 

I've heard a lot of reasons from my direct supervisor, before. He mostly blames it on 'youth today' and assorted other comments of 'entitlement vs earning' and 'take benefits for granted'*. And although I see the rationale of all of that, I have to disagree. 

I know I've mentioned before that creating the right culture takes creation and implementation right from the get-go. But it also takes involvement. No one likes to be dictated to. I'm deep into Ari's treatise on mission statements (next post!) and he very off-handedly remarked on how, in developing the Zingerman's statement, they involved every single employee, up to and including a teenager who had only been with them for a few weeks. 

That's the element that was/is/continues to be missing here. You read the Organic Co-Op mission statement, and there is nothing there about the team that puts it together! It's all in the third person, not a 'we' to be seen. And according to their statement, the Organic Co-Op doesn't have stakeholders, guests or a community. They have, no joke, "CONSUMERS". 

And he wonders why 'his employees' don't support it. 

 

And all respect to Danny Myer (author of Setting the Table, and one of the more renowned food entrepreneurs still in the black), but I only half agree. Obviously, hiring people who can inherently, naturally, propogate your culture/values is important. But I'd also argue that even these people cannot do it wihtout consistant aid and passion on your part. Maybe the ability to do the right thing well can't be taught, but the desire definitely can. I think you teach it by showing the benefits of your values, not just listing them on a pretty poster...

Check out my next post for my mission statement in fieri, and trust me when I say it will most definitely refer to the team effort

 

 

*PS. One of the other reasons the managing director didn't want to follow through on my project was 'it could be seen as another perk. These employees don't appreciate the perks we already give them. I don't want to give them another they can just take for granted too". 


"My crown is called content:

A crown it is that seldom kings enjoy" - King Henry VI, William Shakespeare. 

 

As previously discussed - reading along with Ari Weinzweig - here are my answers to the Content questions  of the 'Contrast, Composition, Content' proposition.

Quick Recap: Ari's suggestion when building a business is to begin by deciding on your content (what, why, who), and only then deciding on composition (how, where, when), and contrast (the brand and marketing). Most designers and entrepreneurs do it in reverse and have shakier foundations and less success...

So...

1. What are you trying to do?

    Create some really amazing cured meats, ones that in their execution and ingredients will reflect English tastes, opinions and agriculture. Create proprietary, new recipes, ones that showcase these.  Create the best cured meats in London, create better cured meats than anyone else in England, create cured meats as good as anything being made elsewhere in Europe. Offer a buying experience that is fun and flavoursome and transparent. 

2. Why are you doing it?

    To give something delicious to the world. To prove that England has an amazing food culture and to continue pushing the world to recognize it as a culinary authority in its own right! To put to use the skills I've enjoyed learning over 13 years in the food service industry - the years spent as a Chef, the years spent learning butchery/salume with Carleton Gaul, the years spent managing other people's projects. To keep the passion for working with whole animals and unprocessed ingredients alive in the world. Hopefully to inspire others to learn more about what they eat, and how it comes to be on their table. 

3. Who are you doing it for?

    For myself. For people who like cured meat. For people who want to eat meat ethically (and want to understand who it was, what happened to it, and why it tastes that way). For people who want to lower the carbon footprint of the foods they eat. For people who are proud of the myriad of foods England has to offer. For people who want to celebrate and publicize that! For people who are tired of England's bad food rep. 

4. Why are you excited about it?

 Side note: Well duh! haha. 

        Because working with meat is fun. Because I really believe I can create something truly delicious and financially viable. Because no one has ever done this before. Because I'll finally get to be my own boss - and put to work all of the opinions I have on how businesses can run better should be run. 

5. Why is it special?

    Of the very incredibly few people who are making cured meats in England, no one is creating new recipes. Who cares if it was made in London, if it's Portuguese/Spanish/French? Because I firmly believe that a customer's happiness is more important than any profit. Because I'm utterly committed to only creating (and thereby only selling) the very best quality I can. Because of the unique experiences, dedication and passions I bring. Because, of all those making cured meats in London (at last count, one), I'm the only one with a relationship with several FAMED speciality food businesses already. 

 

So what do y'all think? Did I miss anything out? Do I stand a chance?


"Your Vision Will Become Clear Only When You Can Look Into Your Own Heart...

Who looks outside, dreams; Who looks inside, awakes." - Carl Jung

 

 

So it is probably rather unsurprising that working for one company while planning another is bound to lead to cross-overs. 

First, and most obviously, as I read more and more about how to 'build a better business', I see the ways in which I can/have/have not managed this in my current incarnation. More on that later. 

But secondly, and a little more shamefully, I garner very useful tidbits (experience and advice) from practicing, so to speak, on somebody else's machine. 

That said, I want to speak a little bit about my most recent acquisition via the Organic Co-Op: my Myer-Briggs score. 

For those unfamiliar, this is a personality analysis based on Carl Jung and further developed by the mother-daughter team of Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myer. I've always had the impression that it is used most extensively in Occupational Psychology, but hell, maybe there's a bunch of people out there who like to know where they fall on a Jungian continuum just for the giggles of it. 

Here is an online version you can do yourself if you're one of those latter types. Although the official test is usually much longer and more complex, it is still, like the linked option, a yes/no question list. 

Anyways, there are four categories and two options per category which gives each respondent a four letter code or personality type, each of which carries different expectations regarding skills, abilities and preferences. These categories indicate the differences in how people:

1. Focus their attention or get their energy (Extroverted or Introverted)*

2. Perceive and take in information (Sense or INuition)

3. Prefer to make their decisions (Think or Feel)

4. Orient themselves to the external world (Judging or Perceiving). 

I've actually taken the test several times in the past, both officially and unofficially (how did you think I came up with those links, eh? Google?! Hah! You wish). I've taken it in my 'bachelor of psychology' phase, and I've taken it in my 'student of culinary arts' phase. But this is the first time I've taken it when I had fully entered the professional world, the first time as a manager, and, it goes practically without saying, the first time as a potential entrepreneur. So I definitely interpreted my results in a new-ish manner. Particularly after consulting with my Organic Co-Op General Manager who already had expectations regarding my type based on my performance!

 

Long story short here are my results (and how I think they connect to my current project):

 

ENFP:

These dudes are initiators of change and keenly perceptive of possibilities. Contagiously enthusiastic, they prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship. Frequently in need of praise, but quick and responsive to the same need in others. ENFPs are at their best in fluid situations that allow them to express their creativity, to use their charisma and to take advantage of their verbal fluency. They tend to idealize people, situations and potential outcomes, and can be disappointed when reality fails to fulfill their expectations. They are easily frustrated if a project requires a great deal of follow-up or attention to detail.

Yeah. So. This is the type that I've most consistently been placed in since I started taking this test. It very keenly explains why I fall in love with project concepts (*coughs like the one I'm trying to put together here *coughs) but have difficulty with the nitty-gritty of actually going through with it. Reading all the descriptions, I also tend to self-identify with this one - i.e. it sounds the most like how I see myself. One of the elements that I gleaned from this current test, is that the best way to flatter an ENFP's skills, is to pair them with someone from the TJ side of things. Suggestion is to partner them with someone who does excel (and enjoy. Blech) the finnicky elements of business. Something to think about...

 

HOWEVER, I did not say that this was the result I received from this particular test-taking. It wasn't. In fact, it was almost the opposite...

 

ENTJ:**

These peeps focus on the most efficient and organized means of performing tasks. ENTJs make superior leaders, as they are both realistic and visionary in implementing long-term plans. However, they tend to lack the ability to incorporate more subjective, emotional, values into the decision-making process, considering those elements practically worthless. ENTJs excel in business, areas that require systems analysis, original thinking, and economically savvy minds. They are generally very confident, assertive, outspoken, and charismatic, unaffected by conflict or criticism. However, these same qualities can make them appear arrogant, overwhelming or controlling. ENTJs will often try to take charge of a situation that seems (to their mind, at least) out of control, or that can they perceive can be improved on or strengthened. When striving toward a goal, these types will often put personal needs aside until the work is done (and expect others to do the same).  For this reason, ENTJs may be considered self-sacrificing by some,but "cold and heartless" by others. 

"INNNNNTERESTING!": I hear you cry. Yeah. It kinda is. Especially as this is the first time that I have ever tested anything other than ENFP. One hypothesis put forth by the woman who ran the testing was that I completed the questionnaire while at work, and probably had my 'work hat' on. Personally, I think there is one other analysis to consider... The assignation of these personality types are extremely affected by how we perceive ourselves. If you play around with the test I linked to, you'll see that it can be hard to select an answer in situations where you prefer one way (say... pre-planning and organizing a study schedule so you are prepared for an exam) but know that you truly end up acting in the opposite manner (cramming at the last minute because you're a total procrastinator). I think the above is how I want to be, and how I try to behave in work scenarios, which frankly, is very encouraging for my future plans, no?

 

and finally, what my GM expected me to be:

 

INTJ: 

Uh.. Can I just say.. Introverted?! Seriously?! Me? Anyways..

INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing them from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake ... They possess the unusual trait of combining imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause: both perfectionism and disregard for authority come into play. Analytical, they are most comfortable working alone and tend to be less sociable. Nevertheless, INTJs are prepared to lead if no one else seems up to the task, or if they see a major weakness in the current leadership. They have a low tolerance for spin or rampant emotionalism. They are not generally susceptible to catchphrases and do not readily accept authority based on tradition, rank, or title.  They harbor an innate desire to express themselves by conceptualizing their own intellectual designs.  They are often acutely aware of their own knowledge and abilities—as well as their limitations and what they don't know. INTJs thus develop a strong confidence in their ability and talents, making them natural leaders.

I'm going to go with 'thanks' and 'ouch'. It's worth mentioning that this is how my GM tests out, so she sees me as being very much like herself. 

 

And it gives me one final, interesting, piece of the puzzle. 

 

If ENFP is how I see myself (touchy-feeling but creative), ENTJ (creative, but organized) is how I'd like to be, and INTJ (coldly organized and efficient) is how I come across, maybe this whole business idea has a much greater chance of success than I secretly despair... And maybe I need to spend some time scaling the whole thing back so I will actually be seen as the leader I want to be. I need to find ways to make my good points work for me in this project. And finally, I need to be kinder to myself about my difficulties in assembling the hard data I need for it...and maybe...maybe.. start accepting that I might need help. 

 

Tune in tomorrow for a view at how I'm implementing all this into creating a organizational chart for the future of queue meats.***

 

 

*Don't pay too much attention to what connotations these words might also carry - the Myer-Briggs ladies didn't really use them to their fullest definitive use. Try to accept them as unassociated categories rather than adjectives with deep meanings. Its' hard, I know, but try. 

**I just want to mention that I took a look at the graph of how much my answers showed a preference for one option or another. Except for a pretty obvious single-minded preference to perceive and take in information via Intuition (N), I fell into the E, T and J side by only 2 points each. That's out of a possible 50. To put it into context, I chose N answers by a margin of 30!!

*** Working title... Thoughts?