How do you prioritize your options?
It's tempting to go after the opportunity that is the easiest to accomplish. Just like plucking the low-hanging fruit on the lower branches of a tree. You can reach it quite easily, grab, twist and pull. Voilà!
Boardrooms around the world don't always reverberate with chants of ambitious action
Business strategy is usually a mix of both simpler, short-term initiatives and more extensive, demanding, long-term initiatives. It consists of actions that are prioritized after considering how difficult they are to execute, how much time they might take, and their potential risks and rewards.
In the boardrooms and at high-level meetings, executives critically evaluate all opportunities for improvements and determine what to do when. Plucking the low-hanging fruit or chasing the slow fat rabbit (an alternative quote with the same meaning) is realistic, promising, and minimizes the company's risk, they may argue. At the same time, understanding that great success comes with a lot of effort, they may concurrently set a major plan into motion while making haste on the easily achievable milestones.
What constitutes low-hanging fruit?
Low-effort improvements that create some immediate positive impact.
Let’s say your customers have given your support team a low score on quality and timeliness of response. You might set one goal to improve the response time to one hour and the other to improve the quality of their responses.
The first goal is less difficult to achieve. You could highlight your FAQs so that customers resolve simple queries on their own. You could consider setting up an automated response the first time and route customers to a human if required. These small changes would improve the customer experience by some measure. This is your low-hanging fruit.
To improve the quality of responses, you may need to thoroughly examine your processes and team, both at the individual and group level. This could involve changes in staffing, ongoing training and education, reinforcement of best practices, and revising compensation and reward systems. While reshaping your team may require significant time and effort, it may ultimately lead to happier customers and greater rewards in the long term.
What about making investments in new technologies or innovations? By automating processes, low-hanging fruit in small digitization projects like automating simple rudimentary tasks builds quick, positive momentum for forward progress on technological transformation.
It's worth going after options that are easier to accomplish:
Momentum is important for success. Quick, small wins can get the ball rolling
A quick win is what you may need to prove a point or attract more investment
Small milestones may give you the experience and insights required to take bigger strides
The opportunities you have now may disappear soon; the harder options can wait
Low effort and high success are great for your team's morale and confidence in solving bigger challenges
In business, options have consequences. You're putting your company's capital, its future and indeed your reputation on the line. Identifying and evaluating low-hanging and high-hanging fruits will help you prioritize your actions smartly and make things happen.
Have other uses for this saying? Have other sayings you frequently use? Do expand all our readers' (and our) understanding of boardroom sayings. You'll be helping share business lessons that allow everyone to make better decisions.