The power of balance

Several years ago a woman who worked with me and belonged to a book club suggested a book to me I would like to share with you: “Alphabet Versus the Goddess” by Leonard Shlain. The book’s fundamental premise is that with the invention of the alphabet mankind switched from a more right-brained-thinking to a more left-brained-thinking culture. A small change in the alphabet, but a consequential big change for culture as right-brained thinking is more in the tradition of feminine thinking while left-brained, linear thinking is more in the realm of masculine thinking. Ultimately here we are today in a culture of imagery and graphics, which has moved us back into more right-brained creative thinking.

What does this have to do with restaurants? Well, it has to do more with companies. As I look back on my career I have noticed that in almost every case women have been my best managers. In my company today, and for as long as I have had it, all of the significant positions are held by women. It is not that I am liberated to support women — I think, frankly, I am smart as I recognize that most of the women in business today are less prone to the irrational thinking that can creep into men’s thinking and consequent actions. Women generally value relationships, which have become more important in life because there are more of them in our lives. Rules — linear — are important, but relationships — non-linear — are what make successful companies grow. Obviously there needs to be balance, and planning that balance in a company is important.

The feeling you receive from a restaurant is far more important than logically figuring it out. Restaurants are important because of how you feel when you leave; sure, the food has to be good, but how you feel when you leave is the reason you return.

After the many years I have developed, designed and operated restaurants, the one thing I know is that for the most part great food or drink is not the limit, and so how they feel is the great equalizer between successful and unsuccessful restaurants.

And, I guess in the end it is the balance of the men and women in your organization that can bring that balance between linear and non-linear thinking to your endeavor.