How your approach to food when you go travelling may indicate whether you would be a perfect employee for Google

Go on, load your plate high. Who doesn’t love an Ethiopian buffet?

A while back*, Google wanted to determine what one question (and only one question) they could ask in an interview that would be the best predictor of whether the interviewee would be successful at Google.

So, Google being Google, they analysed all the interview questions they had ever asked and correlated these to the progress each of the interviewees had subsequently made in the company.

From that they were able to come up with the perfect question.

Which was:

“What internet browser do you use?”

Now, the beauty of this question lies not in the absolute answer that is given (i.e. they don’t actually care if you use Chrome or Microsoft or any other).

What they want to know is: did you just accept the status quo browser installed on your device or did you think about it, possibly shop around and make a decision of your own.

Their data showed that these free thinkers, these shaker-uppers were exactly the individuals who would go on to have successful careers

Why do I mention this tale?

Long before I had ever read about this story, I had adopted a fairly similar policy in my life (maybe I should have worked at Google).

My philosophy has been: “You don’t know what you don’t know so go explore everything” [incidentally my loved ones find that quality very irritating at times and it has meant that it has stifled me in some areas of life — ahem, did anyone mention dating 🙈].

The one area this has always applied to most is in food.

Breakfast anyone?

Whenever I’m in a restaurant, even if I have been there before, my eyes scan the menu for a dish I’ve never tasted so I can give it a go, even if there is something on the menu that I know I already love. [It’s for this reason incidentally why I’m no longer allowed to order for the table when we go to restaurants with my parents and siblings]

Because of this approach, I have been known to try absolutely every dish at a buffet just to get a flavour (so to speak) 🙈.

Travelling is the perfect time for this approach

Whenever I travel this approach comes in incredibly handy as I can’t wait to explore local cuisines.

At least they took the eyes out

My attitude is to throw myself into the local culture and eat whatever the locals are eating (no matter how spicy or how initially strange it may seem).

I seek out new and different restaurants, following obscure recommendations or just heading to where the most people are.

This week, whilst I am in Ethiopia, this is exactly what I have been doing. No burgers, pizzas or any Western food for me.

Instead, it’s been injera (sour pancake), wat (stews), tibs (sauteed meat), kitfo (steak tartare), kinche (porridge), fir-fir (eggs/yoghurt and injera), shiro (bean puree) and pasta (well they were briefly colonised by the Italians).

I’ve had chicken, lamb, fish, goat and beef so far. There is a large amount of raw meats consumed here so I am being careful on that dimension but there is a large propensity for some stomach upset.

This lamb wasn’t exactly well done, heck it was barely medium rare

Throw in the excellent coffee and some spriss (mixed juices/teas) and it’s proven an interesting trip so far.

It’s not just what I eat but I also throw myself into where I eat; so on my journey to date, I’ve insisted to my guide that I don’t want to eat in any hotels or western restaurants.

Instead we’ve been crammed in at the local cafes, eating at popular truck stops and even once sat down to lunch with 30 monks in a monastery.

All this and I’m only half way through my trip.

I’ve referenced this curiosity before and how I like random things so I guess this is just me, but I definitely feel it adds value to life. Perhaps there is a correlation between your food choices and how much you challenge the status quo in the rest of your life.

That said, it’s not an approach for everyone — I definitely have at least one friend that I have holidayed with who, on finding a great restaurant on the first night, proceeded to eat at the same restaurant for the whole trip 🙈.

Oh well, each to their own!

I’m intrigued what’s your approach and what’s the most exotic thing you have ever eaten on your travels.

Join me as I share other tales from my latest work-travel journey around Ethiopia, from arriving in the country to touring Addis Ababa and then onto wider travels with my guide.

Faris is the CEO and Founder of Shiageto Consulting, an innovative consultancy that helps firms and individuals sharpen their effectiveness. Connect with him here

Success = IQ x EQ x FQ

*I don’t know when exactly this took place and can’t seem to find reference to this on Google ironically but I assure you, this did happen

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Faris Aranki Strategy & Emotional Intelligence

Having spent over 20 years delivering strategic change for the corporate and non-corporate worlds, Faris has experienced first-hand the fine differences between strategic success and failure.
His work has spanned numerous companies (from global behemoths to small start-ups), in numerous countries, across a range of sectors, supporting them all to unlock strategic success.

He came to realize that often what hinders institutions from achieving their goals goes beyond the quality of their strategy; it is their ability to engage effectively with others at all levels and remove barriers in their way. This has led to his passion for improving strategic effectiveness within all businesses and individuals and the foundation of Shiageto Consulting.

Over time, Faris has worked to distill his knowledge of how to solve complex problems in a structured manner combined with his skill on engaging effectively with others and his ability to quickly determine the barriers to a strategy's success. This knowledge has formed the foundation of Shiageto’s workshops, courses and methodologies. Faris believes that any firm or team can adopt these improvements; all it requires is a little of the right support -something Shiageto provides!

On top of leading our business, Faris is now an accomplished speaker and contributor for a variety of outlets.

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