Be the CEO of Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Last Updated Nov 26, 2008 12:26 PM EST

Hilarious article in Wednesday's New York Times about how to use your CEO skills to organize Thanksgiving dinner. Author Kim Severson seeks advice from management professors and consultants on how to achieve maximum performance in such a chaotic environment.

Advises Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson:

"It starts with asking yourself, as the Thanksgiving chief architect, what is your vision for this day and this meal."
Here's some of top line advice:
  • Don't micromanage every dish.
  • Keep the big picture (family harmony) in mind.
  • Set expectations for key stakeholders. Will football watching be allowed or not?
  • Choose a command style: Command-and-control or ground-up decision making.
  • Consider outsourcing. Do you really need to bake that pecan pie?
This piece is a great antidote to the stresses we all feel these days, and for the tensions we most likely will encounter on Thanksgiving day. The best advice:
"Just keep in mind what all successful executives know: Thank people publicly and often, and never, ever point a finger."
  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.