Enjoying the outdoors and doing a great job catering a special event have something in common....both benefit from a systems approach.
The other day we got over a foot of fresh, powdery snow here in the Twin Cities.
Some of my favorite skiing is right after such a storm, and before the ski trails are groomed.
The day after the blizzard, I looked over my gear, and grabbed my skis, boots, poles, and gaiters, got dressed, and headed for Murphy Hanrehan Park in Savage/Prior Lake.
Murphy is a top pick for me whenever we get snow, as it is in thick woods, features a few lakes and many swamps, and is the hilliest system in the metro. You get it all at Murphy-challenge, scenery, seclusion- all of my favorite elements that combine for a great day on skis. As a bonus, Murphy also offers a lot of opportunity for wildlife viewing, or at the very least an abundance of tracks to test your scouting skills in the fresh snow.
I own what some describe as a "quiver" of skis. This means a set of skis for every set of conditions.
My quiver contains randonee, skate, classic waxable, downhill, classic skin, and my very favorite, classic waxless backcountry skis. Skis are picked for the conditions of the day.
While less extensive, I also own a selection of boots, all designed for different types of skiing, too:
Randonee, skate, classic racing, classic backcountry, and downhill are the choices I have.
Poles are more simple...classic or skate...length is the main difference.
Gear selection for skiing becomes a pretty basic exercise in a systems approach. Clothing, skis, boots, poles, hydration, and nutrition are the components of the system. Each is selected based on terrain, snow conditions, temperature, time and distance of the session.
Given the new, deep, and powdery snow and mid 20's temperature conditions, the system of the day was:
-Smartwool Base layer top
-Craft wind briefs
-Swix lightweight vest
-wind block pants and jacket
-Swix lightweight hat
-Swix Star xc ski gloves
-Madshus Voss waxless backcountry skis
-Fischer Control backcountry classic boots
--Nathan waist pack/bottle
-Gatorade/Acclimate energy powder
-Tubbs snow gaiters
While it may seem complicated, when prepping for a ski using a "systems" approach, it really is very simple. With practice and organization, a quick analysis and selection of your gear is a snap. Organization is what makes the process enjoyable. An example would be my Wall Of Clothing.
The Wall of Clothing simply consists of horizontal rows of nails in the wall which are used as hooks on which to organize base layers, hats, gloves, socks, vests, pants, and jackets. Picking is easy because you can see every piece at once. I check the weather, then dress right in front of the wall.
Skis and poles are in my truck all the time. So is my fatbike, helmet, and snowshoes. Boots are lined up by my front door and are put on before heading out.
With experience and organization, each outdoor experience is fun and rewarding. There are always barriers to getting out the door, and systems help remove them!
The systems concept first really hit home for me when reading The eMyth Revisited. I was fortunate enough to have this book recommended to me by an experienced businessman who had employed it in his own business.
This book changed how I see our business and since reading it, we have applied a systems approach to everything we do at Divine Swine Catering. The process has taken lots of time and lots of effort...and is ongoing. We are constantly refining and trying to improve.
From responding to customer requests to writing proposals to booking events to scheduling to ordering food to menu design to cooking to loading a vehicle to buffet setup to customer interaction to cleanup at the shop...everything is a system!
Each system fits into a whole to ensure ease of operation and ultimately, a great experience for our customers! Because of our systems approach, customers witness extreme efficiency which gives our servers the opportunity to provide excellent and friendly service and easily go above and beyond. They are relaxed and prepared when they arrive at an event.
We love providing excellent food and service. The fun part is having great interactions with our customers and their guests and being a part of their special celebrations. Our goal in everything we do is to make those celebrations uniquely enjoyable and successful. Our systems are a big part of that!
The key to all of it, of course, is the fantastic staff that day in and day out prove that they are the absolute best in the business. After all is said and done, any system is only as good as the folks who employ it!
Each of our crew applies their own unique style and personality to our food and service...and we are so blessed by the talent and work ethic they bring to our customers. Far from a cookie cutter service, we customize and personalize every event - easily - with utilization of our underlying organization.
I like to keep it simple, and focus on what's most important. Enjoying a foot of fresh powder is easy and enjoyable because of the system. Catering successful events, pretty easily, stems from our design and use of systems in everything we do.
Our 36 years of experience, coupled with our approach, has resulted in thousands upon thousands of happy and satisfied customers.
Divine Swine Catering