Good morning. It’s a beautiful day here in Vancouver.
Here in the Northwest, we get a lot of light this time of year. Tomorrow, we won’t see dusk until around 10PM. It’s special!
I was looking for some inspiration for this week’s post. I prefer not to write if I don’t have anything of substance to share with my readers. During the early days of this blog, I could take BIG risks. Why? Well, because nobody was reading! No followers. My “verbal gymnastics” were my own and nobody really cared.
A lot has changed now. There are more than 1000 beautiful people following these blog rants now, and just like that, I find myself being tentative on occasion with my posts due to the power (both positive and negative) of “the written word”. My own written words. If I am not careful, I can really do myself damage.
Writing these posts are personal. They selfishly feed my own need for understanding, for knowledge seeking. I’m always searching for better ways, for answers to big questions. I’m looking for feedback. Instant gratification. It’s selfish. But hey, isn’t that what the internet is all about? Just a sea of words, photos, videos and data.
You see, in my line of business, strategy, education and software services for the off premise channels for the restaurant industry, the sales cycle is slow. Very slow. Painstakingly slow. The contracts we are signing today are with strategic relationships that we have been nurturing for years. Sometimes, it takes six visits to a brand’s corporate offices. Three dinners and conference call after conference call. 3700 emails and many messages left in voice mail boxes. Yes, the effort is high. The costs extraordinary.
So why do I do it? Because I believe in what we are doing. We are changing the unit economics of our customer’s operations. At least, that’s what our customers tell us. The one’s that see what we see. The ones that have taken some time to “harvest low hanging fruit” in their operations. It’s right in front of them! (And you too!). Ok, I’ll move on with my point.
And so, to keep my own sanity, I write. I write what is on my mind. Not necessarily what is in the best interest of anyone specific. These are my own views. When I write, I get instant feedback. I use that feedback to help me process my own direction. It serves as a compass for my leadership at MonkeyMedia Software.
Otherwise, I often feel like I am floating on a dingy in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with no land in sight. I thought I was paddling in the right direction! I swear I saw a lighthouse straight ahead! Well, it was there a couple of hours ago. Then, just like the contract that we thought we might close this week, I realize that what I thought was up ahead is just a mirage. Like some black magic trickery. I must be dehydrated! I need drinking water.
“Ok, it’s not personal”, I tell myself. “They’ll be back”, I imagine. Why? Because just like me, they have no choice but to do the right thing. They just don’t know what the right thing is! That’s my fault. Not theirs. I have more work to do. “Just keep going Erle”, my internal voice retorts. “Show them the low hanging fruit”, I think to myself. Yes, catering and the off premise sales channel for restaurants is “low hanging fruit”. Well at least I think it’s that way. But what do I know?
Just like all of you, I too have to harvest “low hanging fruit” at MonkeyMedia Software. Sure, the big opportunities are sexy, tempting and they sure look delicious. Who wouldn’t want to sign up a 30,000 unit chain of brand’s on their technology? Wouldn’t we all? Wouldn’t we?
The thing is, I have to remind myself to keep my eye on the ball. I find working with BIG corporations fascinating. So fascinating. It concerns me at how marginalized our corporate managers have become. It’s not their fault. They are “boxed in”. They just can’t see the forest through the trees.
They are facing huge challenges today. Regulation, employee turnover, disgruntled franchisees, store robberies, fierce competition. The pace at which our managers have to process data for decision making is absolutely frightening. Frankly, it’s just too much. How can any human being manage this kind of confusion? It’s a real pressure cooker.
I think as a society we have always known that by chasing short-term share value, we are neglecting the very essence of the principles that made us so successful in the first place. We are trapped. Really trapped. So much so, that we spend hours and hours in mind numbing meetings.
I believe that any meeting that lasts more than 59 minutes is way too long. What person on this planet can focus for more than that on any given topic? By the time we hit 2PM, we are ready for a corporate tranquilizer.
This “tranquilizer” takes shape in the form of neglect. Our people just pack it in. They tune out. They go towards the path of least resistance. It’s just easier that way. Who can blame them?
And so, as we go on, day to day, we become marginalized. Why? Because at some point as we go around in circles, we start neglecting each other. Like any social experiment, we get tired of hearing the same stories over and over. All the reasons “why it won’t work”. All the reasons of “why now is not the right time”. We marginalize our managers in a big way. They don’t stand a chance based on the compensation and bonus packages that are in place. Way too much self interest.
I could go on all day. “So Erle, where are you going with this? What’s your point?”
Well, my point is this. Nobody wants to deal with the reality of cleaning up dirty laundry. If we are smart, (and we mostly are), we need to just focus on the “low hanging fruit”. Not necessarily what is the easiest path. Not necessarily what is the most popular road. Not necessarily what is the current trend. No. We must look for the low hanging fruit and we must harvest it.
Why? Because it’s the right thing to do for our shareholders, our employees and our communities.
Here is a cool and fun video that I think says a lot about this topic. It’s simple, short and too the point. Ok, the guy’s style might not be for you, but he speaks a lot of truth.
DO THE FUN STUFF FIRST!
So, as I sign off for today, I hope you will take the time to provide me your feedback. It feeds me and tells me if this effort of writing is worthwhile outside of my own selfish need for writing.
Send me your thoughts….. Have a great day.