The Right Way to Make a Taco

Tacos are made with crunchy shells.

Soft shells are acceptable only when crunchy shells are unavailable. The only acceptable taco shell is Old El Paso’s “Stand N Stuff” flat bottom taco shell.

Cheese goes in the shell first. Never sprinkle cheese on the top of your taco.

Ladle hot taco meat over the cheese. Condiments come next.

Follow this order. Apply Old El Paso HOT taco sauce followed by sour cream. Do not apply sour cream before taco sauce. You want the taco sauce to marry the meat. Vegetables always follow condiments.

Apply chopped tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add lettuce.


My bride makes tacos incorrectly. For example, she puts tomatoes on last. When I asked her why, she said, “They look pretty and pretty tastes better than ugly.” She’s wrong about this.

This evening my bride acknowledged that putting cheese in first is smart. This indicates that she’s growing as a person. But I still make my own tacos.

What matters:

Don’t let preferences become mandates. Wise leaders let people make tacos their own way. The truth is there is no “right” way to make a taco.

Leaders often have strong preferences. But wise leaders make room for strong preferences in others.

Imposed preferences suck the life out of people. The more you impose your preferences on others, the less energy they have.

Energizing others is more important than having your own way. Every choice people make increases their sense of ownership and power.

3 rules for preferences:

Regulations aren’t preferences.

Procedures aren’t preferences. Ignore preferences when landing planes and sterilizing medical equipment.

Novices adopt the preferences of managers. Don’t allow novices the privilege of employing preferences unless you have time and resources to compensate for their mistakes.

What’s the right way to make a taco?

How might leaders overcome tendencies to impose preferences?

Note: The above image was last night’s dinner.