You know the saying “There is a time and place for everything”. This is true. There are times when you really have to follow rules, policies and procedures. In the culinary business you have to always go by the book when it comes to food safety. There are other times when you can go outside the lines, for example when it comes to recipes. Now that I am in the culinary biz it reminds me how you can sometimes leave the comfort of rules and procedures and do what you know best. But you can’t do that until you really know and understand it.
When you first learn a new job, craft, or profession you have to go by the book. The book was written for a reason. You have to keep going by the book until you understand it backwards and forwards. You think about them in your sleep! Once it becomes “second nature”, then you know how to go off roading.
Several years ago I was doing some consulting work for Feld Entertainment. I was hired to work on a Goosebumps Live date in Detroit. Unlike the old days when I worked for them full time, they had everything spelled out on how to market the show. I met with my friend Bill Lee from Olympia Entertainment. Bill is the live entertainment marketing genius in Detroit. We looked at other cities where the show was on-sale and saw business was not good. He and I decided that we were not going to let Detroit fall into that rut. The tour was being promoted as a theatre show for children. We threw out the playbook and wrote our own marketing plan for the engagement. We decided to promote the show as a family show that just happens to be playing in a theatre instead of an arena.
When the show got to Detroit, Kenneth Feld was there for opening night. He pulled me aside and asked why business was good in Detroit. What were we doing that other cities were not? I said “we didn’t go by the book”. We went with our gut. Bill and I knew the market. We knew what would move tickets.
Did we take a risk not going by the book? Yes we did. But sometimes you have to let people do what they do best!