One Secret To Business Mojo Is In Your Cup of JoeJune 3, 2021
Ok, so if you’re reading this, maybe you’re “WFH” — working from home, and staring into your latest cup of coffee. Java. Joe. Cafe with one F, Caffe with two F’s. Colombian coffee. Arabica. Robusta. Cuban Coffee (the best!). Autocrat. Starbucks. Keurig. Dunkin.
And try game changers like SuperCoffee and Cometeer!
How about old trusty staples like the cup O’joe from some fantastic diner in New Jersey — there are many! Or, if you’re doing some windshield time, from Stuckey’s! (grab a pecan roll, trust me!)
It’s the little container of brown or caramel colored hot confidence, energy, motivation, clarity, drive, well, yeah, your mojo.
“Coffee is the lifeblood that fuels the dreams of champions.”
So said Mike Ditka, playing himself (who else could play Mike Ditka?) to Will Ferrell’s character in the kids’ soccer movie “Kicking and Screaming.”
Next time you find yourself ordering or enjoying a cup of coffee, think about what actually goes into making it. You might be at your favorite Starbucks, Panera, Dunkin’ or other chain. It might be the 16-ounce Slippy-clad Stuckey’s cup (again, get the pecan roll, trust me!), the local breakfast place, or it might be a diner with an old-school heavy antique white glazed ceramic mug. Don’t you love those old school diner mugs? Maybe it’s a mug with your sports team logo, or the Chevrolet Bow Tie, or the RoadRunner and Wile E. Coyote.
Or your FC7 Plum Crazy Plymouth Road Runner. Meep Meep.
Maybe it says “CompuServe 1992 Sales Conference, Toledo.” If it does, 1. Drop this and the rest of your mugs off at Goodwill, and 2. Proceed to Stuckey’s or their web page to get yourself a new mug or a “Slippy” (3. Wear a mask. Social distance.)
Not going Nietzsche on you.
I’m merely suggesting that when you stare into the abyss of your coffee mug, down at the mysterious dark brown simmering steaming magical mojo, you think about what went into making that magic happen. Just don’t let the abyss stare back into you.
Independent and Dependent
Just as we’re all reliant on each other — clients, colleagues, Zoom compadres, there is an independent/dependent variable dynamic throughout the pieces of our lives — our work and personal lives.
Things go in as inputs, things come out as outcomes.
Businesses, departments, organizations, behaviors, people — all are relational Independent Variable (Inputs) and Dependent Variable (Outcomes) scenarios and processes. What does that mean? Well, you put something into a process or a device, and something comes out.
Transformational Change and Processes
We’re talking about the parts being greater than the whole; we’re talking about transformational change. Ever try to drink straight hot water? Ever try to eat a handful of coffee beans? Ever try to “drink” a few tablespoons of dry ground coffee? Can’t be done. Yet, under the right conditions, mixing ratios, and temperature, with the right fluid mechanics and the right equipment, magic happens. A great cup of coffee is a joy to behold; but it doesn’t make itself. The result doesn’t just happen. There are inputs, processes. There are ingredients. There is equipment. There is, at least when you venture out of the home office, to, perhaps a local bean juice location, where a person, perhaps a barista (is that an earned titular designation? Like “Captain?”) or Earl from Stuckey’s, makes the magic happen.
But sometimes, most of the time, of late, you’re stationary.
So, if you’re going to make a cup of coffee, you need some ingredients, namely, 1. fresh, cold water, and 2. coffee (ground, unless you have the machine that grinds the whole beans.) Is that it? No. You need the machine, or at least something such as a french press, or primitive basket holding said coffee over which you’d pour the heated water, and of course, something to catch the coffee in.
We have all had some memorable coffees, such as wonderful Cuban coffee in little cups served from authentic specialty stands across Florida, and others in fine bone china cups (and saucers!) in fine hotels, and everywhere on the road. The one I remember most of all was the one I made in an antique enamel blue stoneware percolator pot (called the “cowboy coffee” pot) meant to be on anything from a campfire to the top of a red hot potbelly or “Franklin” woodburning stove, to the electric coil of your grandmother’s ancient Caloric or Tappan range. How could I forget my mother’s and grandmother’s famous “Farberware” plug in stainless percolator? The coffee was strong, and the coffee was steaming hot; many of the “drip” makers don’t make it/keep it hot enough.
Better living through chemistry AND electricity.
So I’m not here to go on about coffee. I’m here to tell you that there is a business lesson in every cup.
The Business Lesson
I suggest to clients that they view business processes as making the morning coffee. It you take bad water and run it over good coffee, you just made bad coffee. If you don’t use a filter, you get grounds. If you don’t energize (duh, plug it in) the coffeemaker, everything is static, that is, the water stagnates and the coffee sits there. If the water temperature isn’t right, the coffee isn’t properly brewed. If the ratio of coffee to water is off, so is the taste. And, like coffee, once executed, business processes have a bit of a shelf life, and often don’t have the same usefulness at a later date.
Is making coffee chemistry?
I suppose so. Is running business operations chemistry? Most definitely. Business, like making coffee, is a fairly precise process. Like your team, there must be correct ratios, balance, and good chemistry. There must be adequate and correct resources, the right tools and equipment, and someone who knows how to make things “just right.”
You can’t get the right results if you have the wrong ingredients, system or controls.
Can’t be done.
Understand in your work life, in your business, the role that each input and ingredient plays — and enjoy the caffeinated buzz that comes from being energized by the right mix under the right circumstances. And, with the right team members.
Drink up. And grab that pecan roll. And master not just the chemistry, but the alchemy, of your business.