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Adding value: Which of these are you most like?

March 3, 2010

Passing along an excerpt about the role of the information professional from Mary Ellen Bates, entitled “Are You a Supermarket or a Personal Chef?”

… we now need to also provide analysis of the information; an executive summary that addresses and meets the client’s needs; and charts, graphs, PowerPoint slides or whatever it takes to make the information as “actionable” as possible.

A good analogy is to compare a local grocery store and a personal chef. If you are hungry, either one will ensure that you don’t starve. At the grocery store, the store manager has carefully selected products that are of good quality, and has put them out in nice displays. You go through the aisles, gather what you need, take it home, and make dinner. If you hadn’t had that grocery store, you would have gone to a restaurant (from fast food to high-end). But the ideal choice would be having a personal chef, who handles all the meal planning and preparation, makes sure you get healthy and delicious food, and knows that you have a weakness for dark chocolate truffles.

Read the entire essay here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. John Chu permalink
    March 4, 2010 11:32 pm

    Personal chef’s is expensive to maintain. I certainly cannot afford one. My mother was one when I was little. My wife can be one only half the time (my wife and I share cooking). Can all corporations afford to have lots of personal chefs running around cooking for its staff?

    Using the cafeteria analogy, most foods these days are “pre-made” and merely heated up. How many corporate cafeterias these days offer a special service to have chefs cook something from scratch for the employees? How many companies can afford to operate like Google for providing food (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for its employees with lots of personal attention?

    Personal chef’s is not scalable. I understand James Walsh had a persona chef in his office when he was the CEO at GE. How many corporation can afford such a luxury these days? How many people can a personal chef serve?


    Which is the better? To serve a nicely cooked fish or teach how to fish? How about going further and teach how to fish, provide a tool to fish easily and quickly, share how to cook the fish efficiently and effectively, and move on (to replicate the process with others, or to replicate the process with other types of food?

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