For a romantic weekend a few years ago, before we had our two daughters, I took my wife to a fancy Bed & Breakfast in a small picturesque town in Ontario.
We woke up Saturday morning, enjoyed a scrumptious Breakfast and headed out to explore the area.
One of the things we did early that morning was stopped at a local apple orchard. We enjoyed some freshly pressed cider and thought it would be fun to spend an hour or so picking apples.
While I was there, I saw something interesting. There were these two young boys who were climbing up the apple trees, filling their shirt pockets with apples, and then climbing down to fill their baskets.
They looked like they were having a lot of fun, but their baskets were pretty empty. They weren’t making much progress.
A little further back, I saw a girl who was only a couple of years older than the boys – and she was going from tree to tree, picking all the apples that hung from branches low enough for her to reach out and grab.
Her basket was overflowing…
I remember watching her struggle to drag her basket back to her parents. She plunked the basket in from of her mom and quickly ran off to go play with the other kids.
I realized that she was demonstrating something that I often try to point out to my clients…Effectiveness and effort aren’t’ always linked.
And all the noisy, loud, sweaty work that so many spend their days doing, might not be generating the best results.
In fact, more often than not, your results can be maximized by looking around for the opportunities that are easiest to address, and taking care of them first.
After that work is done, there is always plenty of time to play with the fruit on the higher branches. But if you do that before addressing the low-hanging fruit, then you’re going to end up continuously struggling to fill your basket.
Today’s Key Question:In your business, are you sweating and grunting and climbing the trees, or are you calmly identifying the low-hanging fruit, and picking away at that first?