I often get asked, “Chef, how can I motivate my staff to track their food waste?” It’s a good question, and one that comes up often. My simple answer usually is “You can’t.” I am a firm believer that you can’t motivate, but you can inspire. Motivation vs. Inspiration is a well documented topic and one that often leads me back to heated debates I used to get into when I served as the Dean of Culinary.
Culinary leaders and chefs often fail to understand a simple fact of human nature: people are intrinsically motivated beings. My students enrolling into culinary school were ALREADY motivated. When I was a working chef, I realized my kitchen staff would come to work for two reasons: to earn money to support themselves and their family and to make a difference in the lives of who they cook for. Motivating others is an outside-in approach to leadership that is not sustainable over time because people don’t need motivation. They need inspiration. Inspiring people is an inside-out approach to leadership that is entirely self-sustaining, as people strive to reach their fullest potential, whether in be in their personal lives, or their workplace.
My move to Leanpath was one of inspiration as I saw the work that Leanpath was doing to reduce food waste. One of our core values is - We are passionate about solving food waste - and it reads:
“Food is a precious resource. We are here to make a lasting impact in our world. Reduction helps ensure food is available to hungry people, natural resources aren’t wasted, and we’re combating the critical issue of climate change.”
For me, this is inspirational. It’s visionary. It’s the “Why” we are doing what we do. It aligns with an end goal. Motivation, although useful, is also short sighted it looks for the feel-good moment to keep going.
So back to the original question, “how can I motivate my staff to track their food waste?” The answer is, you can’t, but you can INSPIRE them, and here are 5 ways to do that: