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.
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.
This really resonated with me, Dan. Maybe because the subject matter was food? Good stuff!
Thanks for dropping in today, Michael. I hope you are doing well.
This piece made me go back and reread your turkey piece — both priceless with great lessons. Maybe it’s time to let your bride write a guest column (and if she’s already done so, please share the link).
Thanks Lori. Ah… BONE TURKEY. Thanks for thinking of that one. https://leadershipfreak.blog/2017/11/25/turkeys-revenge-i-bought-a-bone-turkey-for-thanksgiving/
My bride hasn’t written a guest post yet. I’ll bring it up, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. 🙂
Funny, we used to have those plates. Love me a good taco Dan!
Thanks Will. We’ve had those plates for ages. Do they even make them anymore? Pfaltzgraff … I think Folk Art design. She says she wants to change someday.
You are spot on, we got those plates for our wedding in 1989 and we still use them today.
Is there a correct way to make a taco? Absolutely – my way – which is my preference. However, personal preferences should not dominate in business.
Thanks Steve…Well you made your taco, now you eat it. 🙂
The right way to make a taco is the right way to make love … it’s just between the two of you.
Enjoy the exploration.
LOL! Thanks Rurbane.
What’s the right way to make a taco? The way you like it, to each their own.
How might leaders overcome tendencies to impose preferences? When Leaders realize the others way of doing thinks works as well, we all can learn from each other. Granted if preferences are a way of showing you rule, we may want to rethink that thought when the others solutions work as well or even better as yours. Acknowledge that your preferences may take a back seat to others, give credit were and when credit is deserved.
Thanks Tim. “… preferences are a way of showing you rule…” Now that stings! 🙂
Yes, Taco’s with a little “Humble Pie”….
Something I’ve noticed in my own industry is that there are so many regulations and procedures that nobody knows how to express a preference. When asked for a preference, managers have a startled rabbit look because choice and preference are alien concepts.
Thanks Mitch. All that seems left is choosing our attitude toward not having choices.
This reminds me of a manager I had who insisted everyone was doing things wrong and insisted everyone change to her way. She would make up campaigns to point out how wrong people were. That equaled = no one wanted to work with her, and gave her a bad reputation!
I made it a habit to push back, gently, using my 360 leadership skills to show her that, in fact, a Taco can be made many ways and still come out delicious. It was highly contentious many times, but I continued to keep my job. 🙂
I’m not sure I made a difference, but she now works for me, so I have more opportunity to talk Taco’s with her!!
Thanks Sandy. Congratulations. “Taco talk” … some organizations could use a little more of that.
I had to laugh this morning. It’s taco Tuesday here in Texas. We have breakfast tacos, which are never crunchy, always tasty, but have few condiments other than sauce. I liked this post. You took the humble taco and turned it into a parable. Nice.
Thanks Lisa. Being a New Englander (originally) Things like tacos and burritos are definitely NOT breakfast food. 🙂
Thanks for this, it was very powerful. I ran into this on twitter when someone retweeted it and now I am happily subscribed to your blog. 🙂 I am looking forward to the balancing act that is #whatismylandingairplanes on this campus?
Hey Mr. Gillpatrick! Welcome to the tribe. So glad to have you. Here’s to the journey.
I am the quality assurance manager for an audit organization, and oversee a pool of QA reviewers. What I have told them is that QA points are only for items that arise from a standard or an office expectation as laid out in the manual. And I also let them write up matters for further consideration (MFCs). Those are suggestions, and the audit teams aren’t required to make the change. It helps with sharing best practices and tips without having those preferences become mandates.
Thanks Jennifer. MFCs… thats a TLA I’ve never heard. (Three Letter Acronym) Bottom line, there are areas where taco-making is governed by regulation. You help us see a way to engage people’s brains. Cheers
I prefer to sub- out my taco making to an expert. El Sol does them pretty well! Sometimes the best way to go about a thing is to recognize that in-house skills and resources are inadequate to the task!
Thanks Leo. I had to laugh at your comment. Great stuff! Let’s face it, not everyone can make a good taco.
These stand out, “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.”
I’m having some “dialogue” with others over my choices and methods to get particular tasks done. I am working with details for customers that include 1000s of pages of documents scattered amongst many different labeled files across over 30 different projects. I old school wise extract the pages I need, print out, highlight information and put in binders that are readily accessible for my needs. Other’s think I don’t need to do this believing one can just jump around the 1000s of pages which by the way is extremely tiring and life sucking. I say go ahead you try what I’m doing just from an electronic file perspective and see what you get. They all shut up when I say this. Everyone has a style, a pattern, a means that suit their efforts. As long as you are within boundaries everyone should be able to work the “means” that suits them. And that’s not just me but for all.
Thanks Roger. I’m so glad you joined in today. My wife – a CPA – prints things out. That’s not the way I make tacos. However, I’m NOT doing her job!! Zip it!! Let her make her own taco. 🙂
Dan; yes best let the wife do it her way because after all is not that the “best” way. I let my wife do it her way also cause her way is in Chinese so its done a different way but it works.
As a Michigander living in Texas and married to a Texan, proper taco assembly is a hot issue in our home. Very relevant parable that made me smile. Thanks Dan!
LOL. Thanks David. Maybe you better just keep your head down and do as you’re told. Let the taco experts take charge.
Dan, I think there might be a lesson in here also about who you take advice from… Not sure I’m taking taco advice from a guy living east of the Mississippi, just sayin’. Sometime when you’re out on the west coast, we’ll make you some REAL tacos! But I sure enjoyed your ability to draw a lesson out of everyday life. And I bet your wife could make a great guest post sometime.
Hey Glen. Great seeing you. Well, if you read the comment just above you, I think you’re on to something. BUT… you might think my taco is lousy – based on the techniques West of the Mississippi… but if I like it … maybe you should stop judging. HAHA … have a great week.
PS. I asked my wife about writing a guest post and she looked at me like I had two heads.
I appreciate all of the topics that you tacobout.
LOL…love it. Thanks Dawn.
The right way to make a taco is to make it twice! Never let any part of a great taco go to waste!
Always place a soft shell tortilla on the plate under your tacos while you are eating your tacos! Then after you finish eating your tacos (plural, because who just eats one?), all of the good stuff that has fallen out of your tacos onto your plate as you crunch into them will actually land on the soft shell tortilla… Soft taco for dessert!
Nothing wasted… you are now a taco genius
Page! You are a genius!!
Amazing what can be learned from tacos!
Thanks Create! Have fun out there.
Dan, I love this post! Your taco building preference is spot on! Landing planes and sterilizing medical equipment should most definitely avoid preferences in favor of procedures…I would add dental work and brain surgery. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Jim. So true. I Prefer the tried and true procedure if you’re working on my brain.
Perfectionism, does make things harder than they need to be.
Good one, Anil. It sure does. And it makes life mor frustrating because of all the imperfection in the world.