From Gantt Charts to Gingerbread Greatness – An Operationally Excellent Day of Baking

Management consultants are known to work weekends; however, at the beginning of December this meant mixing and baking not data crunching and creating storyboards. We traded in our laptops and flipcharts for rolling pins and aprons, making sure to take advantage of the extra sugar. Quickly becoming a Finley & Associates holiday tradition, every year members of our Team come together to bake delicious goodies for our clients. This year’s baking brigade was led by Associate Stephen Pariser, who is our resident expert when it comes to data analytics and baking. Stephen’s natural inclination to creating thorough spreadsheets came in handy, especially with his construction of a gantt chart to optimize our one oven (see below) to ensure it was never empty and that no significant shifts in temperature were ever needed. For those of you unfamiliar with gantt charts, they are used to illustrate a project schedule from start to finish while breaking down the project’s key activities – in our case, Gingerbread Cookies, Candy Cane Fudge, Shortbread, Caramel Popcorn, Chocolate Chip Cookies, and Rolo Cookies.

Click chart to enlarge


Under Stephen’s leadership, this year’s baking squad was comprised of two additional Associates, Rebecca Finley-Schidlowsky and Emily Buck, and Finley & Associates’ fearless leader, Donna Finley. Baking, often referred to as a science (Stephen compares it to the potion making at Hogwarts), is no trivial task. Potential outcomes too often including burning and/or breaking of baked goodies, our team managed to make it through this 12-hour assembly line with no casualties.

Left to right: Rebecca Finley-Schidlowsky, Emily Buck, Donna Finley, and Stephen Pariser.

Out of the kitchen we are striving hard to become a high-performing team. Through team building activities like this baking day, we are working on developing the following important skills:

·  Recognizing individual strengths ·  Integrity ·  Collaboration
·  A focus on hitting goals ·  Kept promises ·  Trust
·  Alignment ·  Interest in learning ·  Respect
·  Open feedback ·  Commitment  


It was through collaboration that our recipes were selected with team members given equal responsibilities in baking and decorating. 12 hours of baking is a long-time to spend on your feet, so it was not without tireless commitment from team members that this feat was able to be accomplished. We look forward to refining our recipes in the years to come and are always open to new recipes! If you have one you’d like to share with us, please do not hesitate to connect with me:

Finally, we want to thank all of our clients for making 2017 such a wonderful year. Here’s to an amazing 2018!