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There are lessons to be taken from everything we see if only we look and listen for them. Here are some management development lessons from the recent MasterChef series:

Give people the opportunity to do things they’ve never done and be amazed by what they can achieve. TV presenter Rylan Clark, who genuinely hadn’t a clue about cooking at the start, beat 17 other contestants to the competition Final, producing creative feats such as his gourmet homage to the Shard. Sure it won’t always work out but it’s worth taking the risk to uncover hidden talent.

Encourage and reward creativity for outstanding results. Competition in the Final was tough: TV presenter Sam Nixon had a track record executing classic dishes with creative twists – sticky toffee pudding and dandelion and burdock ice cream, Ex Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt produced elegant food you wanted to reach into the screen to grab and there seemed to be no limit to Rylan’s imagination or ambition. But any seasoned fan knew the prize was between Sam and Kimberly; it was Kimberly’s winning combination of technique and creativity which won it.

Give yourself permission to manage. The team leaders’ approaches were the decisive factor in the semi-final. Actor Scott Maslen was on top of team members’ tasks and took responsibility for motivation, setting the tone for serious hard work, allowing a moment of light relief only when the job was done. In contrast, Presenter Sheree Murphy was uncomfortable with her role, failed to grasp an overview and joked around like “one of the” team. The result: undercooked and burnt food, stress and a team fail.

Know your audience. Serving a meal is like delivering a presentation: both require careful planning and preparation, are nerve racking and share ultimate aim to engage the audience. Something Rylan’s team failed to appreciate when they served pasta at the authentic Victorian feast; they would have been better off serving steak and kidney pie.

Be prepared to leave your comfort zone. Resistance to change is often deep rooted. Rylan put his fish phobia down to a childhood tussle on a fish counter. When he joined the competition he had never eaten, let alone, cooked fish, so when asked to prepare Squid he was visibly shaken. Despite being out of his comfort zone he did it and it was a treat to watch his response to the feedback.

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