During a visit to one of my favorite towns, Annapolis, MD, I had the privilege to spend a few hours at the United States Naval Academy with the head of the Midshipmen Food Service Division (MFSD), David O’Malley, to see how his team uses effective teamwork practices to accomplish their mission.

I had heard great things about this relatively small and amazing team of fewer than one hundred people and how they prepare, set and serve 4,500 Midshipmen three meals per day – that is 13,500 meals in one day. That number is simply amazing to me, as many of us have challenges finding the time to prepare our small families just one or two meals per day.

Effective Teamwork - How One Veteran Team Get's The Job DoneThis all takes place in the impressive King Hall dining facility which lies within the largest dormitory in the world, Bancroft Hall. With nearly five miles of corridors, Bancroft houses over 4,000 midshipmen each year. King hall dining room has almost 400 tables, seating 12 midshipmen per table, and yes they all eat at the same time every day, together.

Oh, and while the serving is only a microscopic part of their job, it is the most visual and quite impressive. This very small team serves 4,500 meals three times per day, family style, in less than 10 minutes – Mr. O’Malley said it usually takes between five and seven minutes to actually serve everyone.

Before they can even begin to think about serving the food there is a lot of preparation work for the kitchen team. Mr. O’Malley spent just about two hours showing me the entire process from where the food and supplies arrive, to how it is stored (including some VERY large walk in refrigerators and freezers), to preparation and moving everything to the dining room floor, followed by a massive cleanup and preparation of tables for the next meal.

Mr. O’Malley and his finely-tuned team at the United States Naval Academy perform an essential service for our future Navy officers, every day. I can’t wait to return to King Hall and sit at a table during meal time to experience this astonishing team in action!

My thanks to all those who serve and to Mr. O’Malley for sharing the processes of this incredible team with me.

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