I was out the other day catching up with a good friend of mine when he made a statement that I thought was powerful. In our case it was referring to a company that we had spent some time together, but maybe it will ring true for you in an organization you may have or still may work at today.

In any successful organization it is key for all the functional areas to be working together. Marketing, sales, procurement/ finance, manufacturing (where applicable) and a few other that are around to support the ultimate goal of success depending what success is for that organization. Over the last several years working well together has become increasingly challenging as organizations are challenged to keep manufacturing facilities manufacturing or keeping employees employed to achieve success. The definition of success often depends on where you are sitting within the organization and when there isn’t alignment around goals and objectives, things can go sideways. When each area focuses on their own goal without understanding the overarching goal, the results tend to suffer. If the finance/procurement teams are focused on keeping the costs down and buying the cheapest raw materials or marketing material, it can inadvertently eliminate the story for the marketers to market or the sales guys to sell. When the marketing function thinks that what they do is more important to the brand than sales or finance you usually end up with a bunch of activities that build the longer term health (no guarantees) of the brand, but there are no funds left for sales.  The finance guys end up wondering why the numbers aren’t coming in. Finally, if the sales guys focus only on their goal, which usually requires distribution and throughput (including discounting), but don’t worry about the cost or the brand strategies you can usually keep the boat a float in the short term, but the long term health of the brand will suffer.

As of late it seems that many organizations have been defaulting to having the finance team lead in order to count the beans.  The only issue becomes that it is a short path to the bottom (unless short term success is the ultimate goal). No offence to the finance folks out there, but if the true objective is to keep the company afloat in the long run, step back and look at the big picture. It is great that you can deliver the bottom line numbers, but at what expense. Are the brands still delivering great experiences, are the sales guys able to get the product into the right stores and in the hands of key influencers to try? Do the marketers have investments in sort and long term brand building activities? Without investment in those as part of any strategy there will soon be no beans to count and everyone will be looking for a new place to do their work.  Don’t let self interest (be it money or praise) get the best of you. Work together to achieve the team success. That way everyone wins and the long term prognosis should be good for the brand, the team and the organization.

Cheers,

Pete

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