I’ve recently taken up tennis. I bought a fancy new racquet that promises better control, and balls with a bit more durability. I even bought a dampener, which is supposed to cut down on reverberation, and watched YouTube training videos on the perfect backhand, forehand and drop shot.
Here’s the thing, though. I stink. Either I swing the racquet (with what I consider to be an appropriate amount of oomph in the moment), and the ball rockets out of the court’s enclosure, or I attempt something more measured and feebly hit it into the net. There’s no in between.
And nothing has helped so far, because the one thing I can’t buy is patience. I haven’t given myself the chance to get used to the size of the racquet or the bounce of the balls. While I (mostly) executed the backhand the way the trainer does in the video the first three times, it’s the next 997 that are important.
That’s what’s frustrating, right? I know what the right thing to do is. I just haven’t done it enough to make it second nature.
It’s kind of like that in food safety. You know how to make safe food. You know how to keep potential allergens away from products and ingredients they shouldn’t come into contact with.
But you can’t just will yourself to pathogen- or allergen-free food. Top-of-the-line equipment does no good if you don’t take the time to train yourself (and your employees) on how to use it and clean it.
Like in this issue’s feature on allergen risk management (“Food Allergies Are a Public Health Issue,” page 26), constantly reviewing processes and raising awareness about the potential for cross-contact are just as valuable as expensive equipment and software.
You can work with the greatest third-party testing lab (“Test Patterns,” page 30), but if you don’t take the time to understand their capabilities and processes, you might not get the results you need.
And while you may think you’re above food fraud (“Criminal Intents,” page 20), without the knowledge of why, when and where it happens, you could open your brand up to a damaging outcome.
I have no delusions of grandeur here. I’m not eyeing some midlife run to qualify for my local YMCA’s tennis tournament.
But we’re all capable of an ace or two, if we keep at it.