January 2024 marks TCFP’s 10th birthday. It has been quite a journey with tears and laughter, comings and goings, sunshine and storms – there are things I would do differently a second time round.
10 years in and we find ourselves with great clients and a great team working together having fun doing our serious work, I am very proud of what we have achieved together.
However, I am not one to rest on my laurels and I am excited about what we will become – over the last few months TCFP’s next chapter has become clear to me.
Quite simply I want TCFP to be the best place any of us have ever worked and for that to be felt by you in everything we do. I want us to serve you and your families, so you feel looked after more than ever.
We have already made great strides internally on this next chapter. It is clear to me that everyone at TCFP is brilliant at more than one thing, and each of us is brilliant at different things. And everyone else is more brilliant than me at most things!
Recognising that and giving my colleagues the power and freedom to shine is the important next step of our journey together. Clear individual responsibilities and expectations are being established, communication is improving, and we are making sure we have each other’s backs – we aim to become an elite team.
My analogy is that of the world’s best restaurants (for more on this I recommend reading “Unreasonable Hospitality” (TCFP will buy a copy for anyone interested in reading it) or watch episode 2 of “7 Days Out” on Netflix (“Eleven Madison Park”) for a brief taster).
Heading up all great kitchens is the Head Chef who rarely cooks but instead leads and inspires while still being responsible for every dish that leaves their kitchen.
Beneath the Head Chef is the Chef De Cuisine. This person is responsible for the smooth running of the kitchen and for making sure that the Head Chef’s vision is executed as expected. Beneath the Chef De Cuisine are various “captains” responsible for pastry, sauces, beverages etc. – they do all the preparation and cooking and rely on others beneath them.
At TCFP I am the Head Chef and always expect to be. Everything that leaves the TCFP “kitchen” has my name on it – nothing leaves our kitchen without my express approval.
To keep TCFP moving forward I need to lead and strategise and (hopefully) inspire, and to help whenever I am needed on whatever might arise. To allow me to do all that I need a Chef De Cuisine, which is Alan at TCFP. He focusses on implementation, the day-to-day mechanics and processes of the business, he understands what I expect from him, and he lets me know what I need to know.
Sarah, Louise, Zoe and Dan are the captains who Alan helps keep focussed and moving in the right direct. Alan and the team come together twice a week for 30 minutes each time, I join in when I am needed. Alan and I meet every Monday to discuss the week ahead. And we all come together as a team in person for the day every three months to work together on something big.
Our captains help each other and are helped by various outsourced resources as needed. Through me they understand what I expect, what Alan’s role is and what their roles are.
The net effect is a much clearer, cleaner and more efficient operating model. I focus only on what I must focus on for the good of you and the team, the captains focus only on you and Alan ties it altogether.
As a result exciting and mundane tweaks to how we work are being discussed, agreed and implemented. The look and feel of TCFP will be changing over the course of 2024, and we will continue to look for more and more ways of doing more to help and support all of you.
The first 10 years have been great, I feel the next 10 will eclipse them in every way imaginable.