Using the Cycle of Value in the kitchen.
Baking experts say that it is an exact science, but I’m not so sure. I have a love for baking and cooking that goes back a way in time for both myself, and before me: my mother.
My Grandfather was a baker; my Grandmother was an amazing cook, often whipping up three-course lunches, without complaint, for any given number of grandchildren on any given day. My mothers and aunties turned family feasts into events both delicious and entertaining.
Now I am a mum, and I work part-time at this wonderful place called Conversant, which has transformed the way I think and the way I act in the simplest of forms, even cooking with my children.
One pattern that has taken hold is what we call the Cycle of Value – a sequence of conversations that create great results.
The Cycle of Value begins with alignment among people in a conversation. To align means to understand what each person is for
and against, and what their circumstances or limitations are.
As I bake with my girls now I find myself to be more of an alchemist, aligning the conversation to suit the purposes, concerns, and circumstances of the small people. I help them build confidence and capabilities to know they can achieve good things when they trust in themselves and accept help. The independence of a small person should never be underestimated.
The next phase of the Cycle of Value is to act – take steps towards a shared goal, given
the intersection point of everyone’s purposes, concerns, and circumstances.
When we cook together, my children and I act within the recipe confines but often find ourselves having to compensate for flour spills, a little bit of egg shell, a heavy-handed complement of sugar – and of course we create extra mixture for the most important job of bowl- and spoon-licking.
The Cycle of Value moves on to adjustment. That is when the group evaluates their original goals, and compares
them to what they achieved. They think about what went well, and what they could shift in order to do even better next time.
We also do a lot of adjusting in our kitchen; as the pantry does not always hold the correct ingredients… “Refer back to alchemy,” I tell the girls. “Trust your intuition.”
So, we pick up the phone and invite friends or neighbors over to join in the celebrations of creation.The best thing about baking or cooking lies in sharing the rewards of your labor of love.
Conversation unfolds easily and warmly. Everyone present acts on the kindness and love in which the cake or dinner has been made; there is a gentle shift in the children as they accept the praise from our guests.
And I hope the cycle of value continues for my small children as they grow into themselves and into the world: knowing how to align, act and adjust to bake great cakes and have interesting, challenging, thoughtful conversation.
If you are a current or former Conversant learner, how have you applied the Cycle of Value (or any principles) in your personal life?t work in the boardroom and in the kitchen!