January 30, 2020

The Heddon Street Recipe for Stunning Business Results

Yes, it was a bitterly cold day.
And I had, embarrassingly, succumbed to snoring on the train.

What’s more I was wondering if I should be buying one of those face masks in Boots.
Now that I had arrived in London.
You know… just in case that frightening CoronaVirus had made its way to the City.

But all of those red ears and worries melted away as I turned right off Regent Street…
Into Heddon Street.

Follow it round to the left. And there it was.
Heddon Street Kitchen.
Gordon Ramsay’s ‘place’.

As I strolled in, I was gently ambushed by elegant young ladies wanting to…
take my coat, register my arrival, and show me to my table.

Yes, there was my ‘party’!
Nine folk, a-chatting and a-laughing.
Heads nodding, countenances animated and eyes gleaming.
Sat on their ‘high-chairs’ at the Chef’s Table.

And there was my host, with that beaming smile, welcoming me.

He’d arranged an attractive and gradual exit route from his business, you see.
A business that – when I first started coaching him, those many years ago – was chewing him up and consuming him, body and soul.

But, a different story now.

What a joy it was to see him laughing again!
And how privileged I felt that he had invited me to this gathering…
Simply to say “Thank You.”

There I was, sat between him and his wife.
Relishing the stories and tales and adventures and jokes rolling forth.

Occasionally stuffing more of Gordon’s Good Stuff, laid out on a long board, into my mumbling mouth.
Stuff tasting almost as good as the stories.
Truffle this and Beef Wellington that… and all that yummy artisan’s creation from the blazing kitchens.

I asked him to tell me what he had been doing with his gradual steps into Freedom.
He smiled that beaming child’s smile again.

There was the saxophone practice in the morning.
But only after arising without an alarm.

There was a fair bit of photography to see to. Even in the Winter.
There were places to go, and people to see.
There were tales of camping in terror in Africa.
Surrounded by sounds that reminded you that you could just as easily be supper.
There were the stunning smiles of children that their charitable work was Giving A Chance for Life.
(And here the tears flowed easily, as he spoke).

And so the banter and chatter and laughter flowed and rolled back and forth.
From technology to business to cars to English country gardens to Yorkshire Dales.
And all the way back to children, grandchildren, future adventures… and London.

That’s what I was bathed in.
Because I was in the company of people who had accidentally stumbled into it themselves.
Stumbled into it, when they were concentrating – somewhere else – on doing what’s right and nurturing others.

I used to think that being a comedian – making people laugh – had to be the best job in the world.
Then I stumbled into what I do now.
And I wonder if I’ve actually cracked it.

To see people so happy.
Because of something you tried to do. To help.

Isn’t this the Summum Bonum of all of our efforts in business?

It seems to me…

Whatever the successes we notch up…
Whatever the fleeting acclaim that we win…
Whatever the records we break…
Whatever the goals we tick off…
Whatever the assets we accumulate…

Unless the sum of all that… is to bring happiness into people’s lives.
Or to help them feel happier than they were.

Then what exactly is the point?
The point of our brand… our leadership… our business model… our brilliant service and products…
Our striving… our expertise… our strategies… our countless meetings.

(One way or another, we keep coming back to this, don’t we?)

Yet, I ask you.
Honest to goodness.
Isn’t that the whole point?

(Pass that luverly jus for the Beef Wellington, would you?)