Let me begin with a question. What do we often hear when a woke business does poorly financially or when a woke bank is shut down? The common cliché is “go woke, go broke.” I have used the phrase sometimes, and many other commentators use it to explain what happens when a company or a bank focuses too much attention on DEI or ESG or LGBTQ or climate change.
But is the cliché true? Isn’t it possible that the company or bank merely had bad management, and wokeness had little to do with it? That’s a reasonable question, so let’s consider a different example.
Imagine many of the failing banks and businesses were run by evangelical Christians. And as we begin to see a pattern, we also notice that all those Christian CEOs were fascinated with end times prophecy. In fact, they were convinced that the return of Christ was imminent and thus spent less time and attention on the details of the company. After all, why put together detailed plans and programs if Jesus could return tomorrow?
Anyone looking at those companies would say that the CEO and the organization was distracted. They didn’t focus on the company and spent too little time developing plans and programs for the future.
Now let’s return to these woke banks and businesses. If you are convinced that we live in a world of systemic racism and are nearing an environmental apocalypse, you might be distracted from your true mission because you are focused on those social problems. It certainly seems like the leaders in these organizations took their eye off the ball. And they were also being rewarded and promoted for all their virtual signaling.
That is why I think the phrase “go woke, go broke” is an accurate assessment of what has been taking place recently.