During an especially stressful day, I decided a Whole Foods Green smoothie was just the thing to help relieve the cortisol I felt building in my system. Their green smoothie is one of my favorite drinks, I can just feel the goodness going down. I ran into Whole Foods, straight to the juice/smoothie counter. There was no one there and I eventually noted a sign that said the juice bar had been moved to the coffee bar – on the other side of the store. I hiked all the way across the store, walked up to the coffee bar and ordered my smoothie. The barista who was working the counter had the unfortunate duty to tell me they no longer had smoothies – a self-serve juice bar – but no more smoothies.
By now my cortisol level was probably off the charts, as I walked away, announcing to shoppers on the juice bar aisle, “Well it looks like Whole Foods has gone to ‘The Man.’ How could Amazon and Jeff Bezos determine that their delicious smoothies had to go away. That was one of my favorite things at Whole Foods!”
Who is “The Man”?
For those who grew up in the post-‘60’s era, “The Man” is slang, often derogatory, that may refer to the government or other authority in a position of power. Resisting The Man’s way of doing things was (probably still is) considered being a nonconformist. When I hear people say, “I am not working for The Man,” my interpretation is that they all want to be entrepreneurs, not stuck behind a desk complying with rules.
Later that day, when I had calmed down a bit, I realized that my annual expenditure of 3-4 Whole Food green smoothies probably did not warrant keeping smoothies in the product offering; the personnel required to man the bar and maintain the low customer demand was probably not cost effective.
Wait a minute! Does that make me the smoothie crusher? Putting on my Financial Strategist hat, I thought about the clients I help analyze revenue and costs to determine if they are making money on product lines; and if not, help them strategically determine what changes can help make the business more profitable and increase the enterprise value.
If you are making decisions about finances based on very short-term needs, like making payroll or paying bills without the right financial information and analysis, you could have unprofitable green smoothies throughout your organization and not be aware of it. Continuing to offer green smoothies at a loss is a strategic decision you should make based on facts. At times it is warranted.
Business professionals in both the corporate and non-profit world often move out of that world to get away from “The Man.” They feel worn out from the suppression an employee feels trying to make a difference in the face of bureaucracy. They have the desire to impact society by providing great products and services for all. Their exuberance can lead to unprofitable (or unsustainable) business products, programs, and lines of business that persist for years if the leader does not respect the need for quality financial information and commit the infrastructure to get it. And to take that one step further, leaders must also invest the time to analyze the information and make strategic decisions.
Respect the Need for Financial Infrastructure
I have gotten over the loss of my green smoothie and will persevere through the change. What about you? Could you be a leader with unprofitable green smoothies, leading your organization to a negative cash flow abyss that will be difficult to dig out of? Respect the need for financial infrastructure and take the time to analyze it.
Barker Associates can facilitate a review of your product lines, current financial infrastructure and processes to determine the next steps for your organization. Be “The Man” in the positive sense, by using timely, reliable financial information to think strategically and move your organization forward.