Smart Savvy Career Resolutions

New Year Career Resolutions

New Year Career Resolutions

Team Smart Savvy overtook the Quince Studio kitchen this week for our annual staff holiday party. Somewhere between shaking

up the perfect Nuoc Cham dressing and polishing off the final chocolate souffle, we picked up a few career lessons that we’ll be porting into 2014. Here they are:


Smart Savvy’s Top 4 New Year Resolutions for Cooking up a #StandApart Career:


1. Branch Out in the Cereal Aisle

“I feel very honoured to receive this award. I’d like to thank my parents for making me the Chocolate Cheerio that I am. ” – Rodan Gopaul-Singh (newest Smavvy team member)

One of the highlights of the night, was our (mock) Smart Savvy Breakfast Cereal Awards. Each team member was recognized and presented with the box of cereal that best represents the unique ‘flavour’ they bring to our team. For example, Julie was dubbed “Honey Sunshine” — she’s not always in the office, but when she’s there, she brings pure energy, warmth and light (she can also burn you with her razor-sharp wit) and I was honoured with the “All-Bran” award (apparently for making sure all communications channels are clean and clear). I can’t help it – someone has to keep these people ‘regular’.

This year, why not make a point of branching out in your own personal cereal aisle? What are you best known for around the office? If you’re the fun-loving “Fruit Loops” guy, why not try cultivating a more grown-up flavour, like Vector? And if you’re squarely in the Cheerios category (a trusted stand-by), you could aim to implement a more “Holy Crap” approach to delivering big, noticeable wins (note team member Jaylene Crick was bestowed with this)The point is to figure out how people experience you at the office and, if you’re not satisfed with their measure, start marketing yourself a new way.


2. Find Your Magic Mushroom Powder

I am not a mushroom lover. So, when Chef Andrea pulled out her Magic Mushroom powder ( a handful of dried porcinis busted up into a fine dust), I wasn’t prepared to be utterly floored by flavour. A tiny sprinkle of that stuff and the whole meal was elevated. The mushroom risotto was enlivened. A few glasses of champagne in, I thought I heard it sing.

You too can bring the wow-factor of magic mushroom powder to your career. Whether its arriving to your monthly one-on-one with a well-prepared and thoughtful status update or sharing an innovative idea or two on how to improve team outcomes, think about what you can sprinkle to take your performance from good to unforgettable.


3. Know When Your Knife is Sharp

Turns out that iconic image of a chef sharpening his knife at record-speed is all bravado. All it takes it 8 or so swipes per knife-side to get the blade as sharp as it will ever be. After that, you’re just showing off.

To be honest, I don’t know where this tip is leading, but I was inspired by the idea of knowing when you’ve done enough. Maybe it’s that nagging MBA dream (do you really need it?). Maybe it’s the way you manage your team (do you know when to stand back and let them do the work you’ve prepared them for?). Whatever resonates for you, the idea is to avoid burn-out, respect your professional toolkit (sharpen when necessary) but also be confident enough to let your tools work for you.


4. Don’t Cook Alone

Throw a bunch of rookie, non-chefs in the kitchen and what do you expect? Probably not the restaurant quality and finely plated food we served. So what went right? Well, for one, whether it was the shape of a crab cake, the width of a julienne carrot or the done-ness of chicken, there was constant chatter in the kitchen. The free circulation of feedback (right up until the final delivery of plate to table) made for a stellar finished product.

How can you encourage your team to work like a kitchen? First, identify a leader, like Chef Andrea. A good leader shows the way and then steps back and lets their team create magic. Lesson: you can stand there sweating over the relative firmness of chicken or you can let your coworkers take a poke and deal with (or enjoy) the consequences together.


We 100% recommend Chef Andrea and Quince Studio for your next team-building event.

Happy Holidays!