In pursuit of excellence

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Earlier this week, my brother Luke Dale-Roberts won a prize for outstanding excellence in his field.

A year after opening his own restaurant in Cape Town, he won South African Chef of the Year and his restaurant, The Test Kitchen came in at number two.

Luke’s approach to excellence – his winning formula – is an inspiration for me. I love his passion for food and the perfection that he creates on a plate.

As a coach, trainer and NLP Practitioner, I’m always intrigued by excellence in any field. I believe that it’s possible to capture brilliance, boil it down to the bare bones and then work out how we can apply it to ourselves

So I’ve taken some time to think about what ingredients have made Luke a winner and how these could be applied elsewhere – to anyone in pursuit of excellence in their own field.

Here are my thoughts, based on observations of Luke as a chef and Luke as my lovely brother:

Passion for his craft: Luke loves food: unless he’s sleeping, he is looking at, smelling, tasting or cooking food, and even when he’s sleeping, he’s probably dreaming about food. This passion never switches off – which means that his senses are always alive to fresh inspiration and new ideas

Obsession with detail: ever since a little boy, if Luke was going to do something, he was going to do it extremely well, even if it was getting up to mischief at school! This steely determination to getting it “just right” for every single customer means that for every dish, he creates a formula that can be replicated again and again, not only by Luke, but by the rest of his team

Daring to be different: Luke has always loved getting a reaction out of people and his commitment to mixing things up, both in and out of the kitchen, has always got him noticed. Luke is the real deal, he has never pretended to be anyone other than himself and that’s what attracts people to him

Finally, dedication to and appreciation of his team. Luke puts it best himself when he says:

I think the secret to the success of the restaurant so far is that every single person who works here is completely and utterly committed to doing their level best every single day – from the selection of the produce we work with to presenting each dish on the plate – we all want the same thing, for the diner to be blown away by the combination of flavours and the taste experience that we have put so much effort into creating.

Modelling is an NLP technique which is all about taking the best of what people do, synthesizing it down and sharing it with others. Modelling can be extremely useful for individuals, teams and organisations as a way of defining, decoding and replicating excellence, and making it part of what we do every day.

So the next time you do something brilliantly, or the next time you witness someone being outstanding, take the time to re-live the moment and ask yourself, what is it that’s making me/them shine, how will I replicate it next time and how will it become part of my DNA?

At Zomi Communications, we design and deliver leadership programmes that inspire people to locate and release their inner excellence. We work with individuals to uncover their own leadership style and apply it to motivate and inspire others. Antoinette offers one to one coaching, for business and individuals. For further information about our training and coaching solutions, go to:

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