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Prep Time

One day when I was five-years-old my dad told me to wash my hands and come into the kitchen. He pulled a chair up to the stove, picked me up and stood me up before an empty frying pan.

I had my first of many cooking lessons that day. The first lesson was on frying an egg. He taught how to carefully pour a tiny bit of oil in the pan, crack an egg and fry it. To this day I love a fried egg sandwich.

My dad cooked most of our meals because my mom didn't get home from work until after 7 p.m. My mom was the foodservice supervisor of a local department store cafeteria and was a fantastic cook as well. My dad taught me and my siblings how to cook regular meals and my mom taught us how to bake, entertain and cook fancier dishes.

I love to cook because it reminds me of the great meals we cooked together. It also reminds me of the importance of preparation. Every great meal requires some preparation, starting with washing your hands.

Work projects also require preparation. There are steps to laying out a new project and ensuring success:

The first step is to identify your goals and objectives. Think of the result that you want to see and reverse engineer each step by setting mini goals to reach your maximum goal.

Step two is to identify who will lead the project and those who will be involved in the project, from staff to community or organizational partners.

The third step is to create a timeline to keep the project on schedule and on track. Make sure that all parties know what the timeline is and get their input to ensure that the deliverables can be met within the time allotted.

Step four is establishing your budget. Set a reasonable budget and try hard to remain under or at your established mark. Be sure that you have the funding and other resources on hand to secure materials, staffing, and the facilities necessary for the completion of the project. You don't want to run out of money half-way through the project.

Finally, monitor the objectives and adjusts as necessary.. Don't stress out if the timeline is off a bit. These days staffing issues and product delays are common, so even if you have accounted for the delays, expect additional delays. Think of other parts of the project that can be accomplished as you wait. Even when things don't go as plan, take the information as feedback for the next project so that you and your team can keep learning and growing,

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