7 Steps to “Cake Boss” Your Next Project

Have you ever watched Buddy Valastro and his team craft amazing cakes? There’s something magical, creative and truly amazing about the cakes from Carlo’s Bake Shop. More than the Jersey, feel-good experience that Buddy creates, there are a few secrets to team success.

  1. Listen. First of all, Buddy starts by listening to his clients. He listens to the details of their story; he listens to their ideas; but most importantly he listens to their desired outcome. So often, we are building while the client is still talking.
  2. Over-deliver. If his clients expect an 8 he is going to deliver a 10. If they are expecting a 10, Buddy is going to deliver an 11. Every time the audience of Cake Boss peers into the reveal, we see clients that are in awe because Buddy seeks to “wow” his customers.
  3. Stirring in the same direction. Buddy is careful to get the team on the same page. After the creative juices gel, he paints the mental picture of what shape the culinary creation will take.
  4. No compromise. Sometimes you have to throw out the brownies with the batter. Buddy’s attention to detail and meticulous focus on the end delivery means that sometimes you have to rethink your great idea in order to deliver WOW.
  5. Ask stupid questions. Buddy doesn’t resist the opportunity to ask the basic questions, “so… how is this going to work?” Truth is, we could all use a healthy dose of this truth syrum. Sometimes we are far “smarter” than we need to be, and the greatest asset on the team is the person that says “sure we could spend 100 hours to do it that way, but what if we spent an hour doing it this way.”
  6. Be tough. From deadlines to straight lines, sometimes our team needs another perspective to keep us all honest. Rather than fearing the pushback, every team needs the person that keeps us on time and keeps the icing on the top of the cake in line.
  7. Have fun. Buddy is the first to throw a little fondit for the fun of it. Projects are stressful, and occasionally we need to let our hair down and have fun.

Whether you like “Buddy’s way” or the resulting creations, we can all take a few lessons on our teams to make more wow.

Jeremy Floyd

Jeremy Floyd is the President at FUNYL Commerce. Formerly, he was the CEO and President of Lirio, Bluegill Creative, a marketing and communications firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to managing the digital strategies, Floyd was an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga MBA program teaching digital strategies and social media. Floyd blogs at jeremyfloyd.com and tweets under the name @jfloyd. Jeremy is licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU in English and Philosophy.

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  • Michele

    Buddy also always apologizes when he looses his temper with his employees.  He is good at communicating too.  One time cousin Anthony burned some of the cookies and put them out to go downstairs.  Buddy was very specific with him and told him he was not upset about the burnt cookies, he was upset that he put them out to sell.  

  • Yes. He maintains a high intensity and drives hard, which is part of being a good leader. But, sometimes you make mistakes by driving over the top of people. Having the insight to take a step back and evaluate is an area that he excels. 

  • carolyn.shope

    Love this story, i got to use this at our PMO meeting to help us project managers motivate!