The egg and the omelet

Talking about how to transform an organization or a process, a good friend of mine gave me a good analogy that I have been using lately.

Usually executives and managers want to change a process but they wish to avoid the conflict with people defending the traditional way to do things, or simply they don’t want to waste the time explaining and even imposing a new way. This is something implicit that nobody says, but many things don’t change due to this.

My friend told me, “when you want to cook an omelet, first you have to crack the egg. You can’t have the omelet without cracking the egg”. This is quite obvious, isn’t it?

A good manager needs the determination to transform the things that must be changed. It usually requires a lot of time to communicate the reason for the change, and finally to be able to enforce the change on the people that don’t ever want to change.

You must “crack the egg” and “cook” the transition to “get an omelet”.

When you plan a change, first ask yourself if you are ready to crack the egg.

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5 Comments

  1. Arturo de la Fuente

    First of all, congratulations for your blog. It is well made and it keeps growing. Go on!

    Now, I felt compelled to comment on this article.

    I think you are right but I fear the expression ‘you can not make an omelet without cracking some eggs’ could be misunderstood. I think what you mean is that ‘change hurts’. No matter you talk about people, businesses or other institutions, we are all used to our routine and any change, even if it’s an improvement, is disturbing. Any change will raise resistence, and it takes leadership and determination to overcome this resistence. It is the job of a leader to take you there. I agree with that. My problem with the said about the eggs and the omelet is that it is frequently used to mean that the end justifies the means, or even that the end justifies *any* means. This could lead to abuse.

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  2. eplaced

    Thanks Arturo!
    I like your comment as it allows to create some discussion.
    That’s great.
    I didn’t want to say that the end justifies the means. I don’t believe so.
    My point is to highlight that any decision requires some level of exposure, and many managers stay into the “comfort zone” of the organization without challenging the current way of doing things. This kills the innovation and stop many initiatives that would be good for the company.
    I don’t defend at all an aggressive management style, nevertheless any manager has to push to apply the changes.
    I have seen too many discussions about how things should be, but nobody is leading the change. This is what I mean with “cracking the egg” to cook the omelet.

  3. In Spain we also need to collect some potatoes and onions for an excellent spanish omelet. Maybe this is the main reason why we don´t change until the cliff is in front of our nose.