42 Grams Movie Teaches Team Building

I recently watched a documentary called 42 Grams. It was a well-made movie about a man with a great love of gastronomy—and showed someone with passion for the arts (food making and movie making) as well as for music (which complimented the story of the food so beautifully). It left me inspired and I couldn’t stop raving about it.

Photo courtesy: 42 Grams

Photo courtesy: 42 Grams

It is story of a young chef named Jake. He is backed by his Type A personality wife, Alexa, a no-nonsense partner absolutely and thoroughly committed to the success of her husband. As a passionate chef and master craftsman in a technical sense, Jake accepts nothing less than 100% perfection in his work.  His rational is that customers are paying $185 per person, so that everything, not just the food, must be out of the world and unforgettable. He really kills himself and those around him to deliver on that vision. He is obsessed with delivering a unique and unforgettable experience. His wife shows her passion by making a huge creative display of corks from all the wine and champagne bottles they’ve opened since they met.

The movie maker also shows how quickly the food gets devoured demonstrating how delicious it is. Each shot told succinctly about how wonderful the food is, and how much the diners enjoy it. The food disappears quickly and thoroughly. The dishes look like they are washed clean once the guests finish eating.

As the story unfolds, they move their restaurant from home testing the concept to a real restaurant. Jake’s goal is to win a Michelin Star award, the ultimate recognition for any chef.  (Spoiler alert.) Ultimately, Jake wins two Michelin stars on his first year of the restaurant, an amazing accomplishment.  Alexa and Jake work together and win again in 2016 and 2017. However, the couple divorces in 2017 and close the restaurant that they had created together. It is so sad to see that such an immaculate, impeccable piece of art come crashing down so fast.

There’s a huge lesson on team building in the story. Jake gets so obsessed with achieving technical perfection that he loses sight of the people.  It’s a common mistake in electronics manufacturing and logistics as well. Many individuals start as technical experts, master and excel in that and then get to lead a team. Then they are tasked with building a team with the same technical skill that they have achieved in order to expand the business.  Jake goes from technical artist to people leader when he opens his restaurant, but he fails to understand how important the people side of the equation is. He is laser focused on technical perfection…but he ends up getting frustrated and yelling at those who do not perform to his standard. He creates a revolving door. He can’t keep anyone on the team for any length of time. He missed the opportunity to thank others for their help and recognizing their contributions. He failed to recognize the Michelin Stars as a team win, for him, his wife and everyone who worked with them, right down to the guy washing the dishes for free.

I once found myself in a similar situation. I was given the job of leading an amazing multi-million-dollar project for an important client. It was a high-speed project and we got a lot of things done. Afterwards, I thought I had done a great job. When I met with my boss, though, he told me that, although the project had been amazing, none of my teammates wanted to work for me again. I had focused so much on the end goal that I lost the team. I micromanaged them and took all the fun out of the work. The client loved me, but the team did not.  

Good leaders recognize the importance of the team.  They celebrate the success, have fun, give people leeway to do things their own way sometimes, and trust them. They offer them a chance to showcase their own contributions. Good leaders (and good chefs) inspire others with their unique style and they can be wildly successful.

At the end of the day, it is all about people.  We have to make sure that employees are engaged, well paid, and offered good opportunities. When you manage that, you’ll achieve the end goal and the team will treat customers and prospects in the same way. In the end, everybody wins. It creates infectious energy, contagious enthusiasm that propagates to the client team as well. 

Bottom line: I would recommend this movie. I’d also recommend a mindful management style.  Let us know in the comments section how you have built up your supply chain team. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

2 comments on “42 Grams Movie Teaches Team Building

  1. AnnaEverson
    March 23, 2018

    I saw maybe all of them, thanks a lot for this great article )

  2. HiluxWreckersMelbourne
    April 1, 2018

    Great work

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