Dear Mandy & Samantha,
Haven’t heard from you in a while. Not sure what’s going on, or when the scout is planning to visit us in Chicago. Things have been good at Max’s Deli, if not a little heated. Thought I’d send you a recent correspondence to underscore my point, and give you a glimpse into the Madness.
Last night, at 10:44PM, I received an email from my General Manager, Raoul. The title of the email was “Peace.” Here’s what he wrote…
In an effort to try and keep peace in the family for the short term, I have issued each one of you a $2000 profit check that will be at Max’s for pick up on Thursday morning.
I am working on finishing June now, we made some money in the second quarter, I don’t know how much yet, but don’t forget we lost money in the first quarter.
As you know we have not made much money this year, cash flow is tight, and accounts payables are very high, we will review this on the meeting on Monday.
Before the meeting on Monday the three of you need to get together as partners and make decisions on the following items and let me know on Monday how you want things handled going forward.
- Who is on payroll or off and who is getting paid what.
- How you want to handle profit payouts. I would suggest that at the end of each quarter we look at the profits and agree to pay out ½ of the quarterly profits split by 3 to the partners. At the end of the year or the last quarter look at the profits for that quarter and see what is left and distribute more if possible, maybe come up with a higher percentage for 4th quarter. You have to leave some money in the company for cash flow, as we have no line of credit.
- The madness has to stop, you need to have calm rational ways of communicating, getting along and making decisions as partners. I think the monthly meeting are good, but if you don’t want them let me know what other suggestions you have.
- If things continue the way they are it is a recipe for disaster as far as the business goes, we need to get rid of the drama and get down to business in a rational manner.
- When you have major decision about operations or money, everyone should be sent an email and the partners should discuss and vote and let me know in writing via email what your decision was.
You have a good thing going and need to work on certain things, but you need to get together as partners and work with each and not against each other.
These are only suggestions, I am trying my best to keep everything cooking, but feel I am failing.
Immediately, I called Raoul. We talked. Not much was resolved. But I could tell he needed to vent. This morning, I got to the deli early. I sent out this email…
Dear Raoul, Edith & Joey,
I’m writing this at 5:39AM from the office of Max’s Deli. I should be making bagels, which is my favorite way to spend Thursday Mornings. But the events which unfolded yesterday need to be addressed before I can bake in “peace.”
For the record, I’m not interested in peace. I’m interested in profits. I do not want a $2000.00 check to pacify me. I appreciate the offer and do believe we should be able to consistently pay the partners at least this much, if not more.
But first, we need to sit down, look at the numbers and forecast where things are headed. To say we’ve been busy is an understatement.
As for the phone calls that went around yesterday, at some point, in each conversation, everyone talked about walking away from Max’s, or quitting. I cannot base my adult relationships, especially business relationships, around utlimatums.
Things get uncomfortable. This is precisely when you lean in, not relinquish your power. I need everyone to hold on to their position so we can get together and have an uncomfortable conversation. It’s been my experience that these uncomfortable conversations are the most important component of what drives success.
Every leader I respect, from Abraham Lincoln to Lyndon Johnson, would gather together the men and women they were working with, and allow things to get heated because they knew everyone involved was passionate and didn’t have one foot out the door.
You can’t disagree with someone you’re trying to coax into staying – it doesn’t work – everyone has to be invested in the business and hold on to their power. It’s the least I expect, the very least.
For the record, I called Raoul last night when I received his email at 10:44PM. I don’t usually call at this hour, but I felt his email demanded an immediate response. There was a subtext of “doom & gloom.” I don’t let that kind of thing slide.
Our conversation was raw. But I wanted Raoul to know I understood he was frusterated, and even though I didn’t have an immediate solution, I’m perfectly willing to lean in.
Listen, I have big goals for Max’s Deli. It’s not going to be easy to achieve what I have in mind. I wouldn’t be reaching out to TV Network Executives if I thought we were going to fail in front of America; or even worse, show America it’s okay to aim for status quo. It’s not!
I suggest everyone come to the meeting on Monday at 10AM prepared to get uncomfortable. Please don’t take it personally. I do not want things to derail into a conversation about “tone” or “style.” We’re all different and come at things to the best of our abilities. It’d be something else entirely if I felt like someone wasn’t trying, and simply hiding behind an attitude.
I want this meeting to be about issues and expectations. Alright, it’s 6:21AM. I’d like to get back to baking. Have a great day, everyone.
Needless to say, Mandy & Samantha, things are going well.
As a side note, when I was talking to Raoul last night, I happened to be walking my dog, Dudley Moore. He’s super cool and walks off the leash. Don’t know if he picked-up on all the drama and didn’t like it, but he decided to run into the middle of a versy busy street, Western Avenue. All the cars stopped. In the middle of my conversation with Raoul, I was screaming “Dudley Moore!” Then I hung up. Raoul must have thought I was completely nuts!
Dudley is fine, which is more than I can say for Raoul. Anyway, thought I’d give you a glimpse into the Madness. Hope you’re enjoying summer. If you’ll excuse me now, I have bagels to make.