INSTANT MBA: You Should Quit If You Don't Have What It Takes

Ferran Adrià

Today’s advice comes from Ferran Adrià, world renowned culinary expert and head chef of the El Bulli restaurant, via Harvard Business Review:

“You need concentration and professionalism. And it’s very important to have passionate people with their own imagination. I’m the boss, and I pick the best team … And you create an environment that gives them space and the sense that they’re taking part in something very important. You can only improve the ones who are already good; you can’t do anything with the bad ones. Talent and capability lie with the person, not with the teacher.”

Adrià says that if you’re not cut out for the business you work in, it’s best to move on and try something new. If you lack the skills and passion to thrive in a particular industry, it will become apparent to your co-workers, making it increasingly difficult for you to get by unnoticed. It’s better to just admit where your true talents lie and pursue a career that actually puts your best attributes to work. Adrià believes he can’t teach someone to be a great cook. He says that if an apprentice doesn’t have natural talent, there is only so much he can do to help that person succeed. His job, Adrià says, is to merely serve as an example for his employees and then it’s up to them whether they have what it takes to get to the next level.

“If you’re going to Harvard, it’s not a single person that makes you better; it’s the system. The way we function is based on a model which holds that when you’re here, you get to dream and be passionate. But it’s 12 to 13 hours each day—very intensive. 90 per cent of the staff changes each year. I think it’s a good system, because having new blood is good for me, and in the end everyone burns out. For them it’s a year of experience. They take it on, they see the system, and they see what they can learn. I don’t play the role of teacher. What I do is influence.”

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