Spinal Tap and the Bailey Building & Loan for Business Efficiency
Most people have either seen or heard of the movie It's A Wonderful Life where its lead character, George Bailey, went from the depths of despair to exalted heights from the movie's beginning to end. George Bailey found himself in a self-described dead end life having accomplished nothing he'd dreamed of as a child. He was seemingly forever stuck in his job as the head of his father's failing Bailey Building & Loan business. There he was perceptibly with no options in the sleepy little Bedford Falls, New York town lacking any ability to ever fully appreciate the sweeping impact his daily efforts were actually making.
This movie vividly highlights the important one-to-many network effect that can be achieved by doing the small things consistently right. In baseball vernacular, it's 'small ball'. Nothing exciting but gets the job done. The movie's conflict arises when George decides he wants out of this life. He just doesn't fully appreciate what he's accomplished and the people around him who benefited from his daily diligence. As George was ready to cash it all in via a fatal bridge jump "Angel 2nd Class" Clarence appears jumping into those frigid waters pulling him to safety.
What transpires after Clarence's aqua rescue mission is where the narrative arc bends even more towards the dramatic. In short, Clarence not only saves George but also grants him his wish to have never been born. With Clarence in stride, this allows Mr. Bailey to see Ebenezer Scrooge-style what life would be like if he were never born. What happens as a result of George's erasure from life is that the town's demonic figure, Mr. Potter, who owns just about every entity in town other than George's Bailey & Loan now looms even larger without George Bailey around to keep his wicked ways in check as the uncaring banker interested in only making another almighty dollar. Potter's concern for the little man's troubles were nonexistent.
As expected, with George Bailey and his building and loan out of the picture things in Bedford Falls are no longer as they were. Exit the town of Bedford Falls. Enter the new-and-sinister locale newly named Pottersville, a dreary, disheveled place lacking a pulse or color to it.
As an invisible onlooker, George learns more and more about the impact his life had on so many people. Realizing this George then begs for the life back that he shunned which Angel Second Class, Clarence, soon grants him. Yes, George's able to return to his life happier and more content than ever with Mr. Potter checked as before.
Bedford Falls is restored to its old glory with Pottersville only a secret between the newly commissioned Angel 1st Class Clarence and George Bailey. It's Hollywood, what did you expect???
In short, George just needed to realize that doing the right things, which aren't always the most exciting or sexy things to do, are the very things that can make a big impact or even allow the big things to occur.
I'm thinking the financial close, consolidate, reporting & file processes as well as your budgeting and forecasting approaches. Without transforming them into processes that add value to the organization, you're missing some addressing the real inefficiencies in your organization. No, these processes don't always get the most visibility for one reason or another but if they're not effective they can do the most harm. This is because these processes tend to involve most of the organization and therefore can eat up valuable man hours if they're not structured well that could be utilized in other areas.
Get the basics right like these practice areas. Play 'small ball' getting the most out of those unglamorous processes like budgeting and forecasting else your business end up more like Pottersville and less like Bedford Falls.
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