Everybody likes nachos, right? Nachos are a way of life at Comfort Research. So much so that we keep a running photo album of the plates of nachos our team consumes.

That got me thinking about how good nachos are a great metaphor for creating employee culture.

It starts with the ingredients. The more diverse, the better. Just like a good team.

The whole point of nachos is to deliver a variety of textures and delicious flavors into your nacho-hole. Crunchy chips, chewy beef, salty olives, crisp veggies, sweet tomatoes, gooey cheese, spicy sauce – all have their role in creating a final product that is greater than the sum of its’ parts.

IMG_0011-768x576The unexpected combinations that result from different ingredients coming together is what keeps you going back bite after bite. That same serendipity is essential for successful businesses, and it comes from people with different backgrounds and different cultures coming together to innovate by combining their talents. That brings us to the next point.
Assembly is critical. Build from the ground up. Just like a good team.

We’ve all had a tragic experience with badly-constructed nachos. You know the type: all the toppings are piled on top. You pull one chip out and it drags every shred of cheese and toppings with it, leaving the rest of the plate sad and barren.

Good nachos are built from the bottom up. Some chips, some toppings, some cheese then some more chips, toppings and cheese. That ensures every bite is delicious all the way through. The same goes for culture – it has to start from the bottom up so that everyone has a say and a stake in the organization. Trying to force culture from the top down doesn’t work.

Finally, nachos are best when they’re shared. They’re perfectly suited to a community experience. Just like a good team.

Successful organizations realize that culture and community exist outside the walls of the business and find ways to reach out. When you set a beautiful plate of nachos down on a table, everybody wants in. Nachos are engineered to be bite-sized and inviting to a group of people.

Your stakeholders, vendors, partners, customers and community are extensions of your team. Your culture should be accessible to them too.