Aim High or Go for the Low-Hanging Fruit?

Aim HighWhich do you prefer? Strategies that involve aiming high or those that go for the low-hanging fruit?

I’ve had jobs where the mantra from the boss was always “Go after the low-hanging fruit!” What he meant was, “Go make money fast without spending any of mine to do it.

There is certainly wisdom in that strategy. Often, there are plenty of opportunities to bring in some quick revenue without much expense or complexity.

But is it wise to only go after the low-hanging fruit? It may be possible for a company to thrive for a long time with that strategy but I don’t think it is best and it certainly isn’t as much fun as aiming high.

There’s excitement in rising to the challenge of doing something no one’s ever done before. Smashing industry averages – breaking company records – raising the bar to heights never before dreamed possible. That’ll get your team energized!

Sure, you need to go after the low-hanging fruit every once in a while. It can keep the lights on while you are working on doing something spectacular. But consider the last chapter of Shane Snow’s bestselling book Smartcuts about the 10X principle.

Snow says “10X Thinking is the art of the extremely big swing.” Snow quotes from Google’s Astro Teller who claimed “It’s often easier to make something 10 times better than it is to make it 10 percent better.”

My experiences in Sales and Marketing over the last 20 years have proven this principle true time and time again. I’ve worked for some tough bosses that wanted to keep our team focused on low-hanging fruit but I’ve also been privileged to work in company cultures that are dynamic and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.

In Smartcuts, Snow masterfully unpacks convincing evidence that aiming high is a better strategy than going after the low-hanging fruit. I highly recommend you get a copy. Here are just a couple more quotes from that chapter to whet your appetite for more.

“Academic research actually shows that we’re less likely to perform at our peak potential when we’re reaching for low-hanging fruit.”

“…human nature makes us surprisingly willing to support big ideals and big swings.”

To apply this to Customer Journey Mapping, what shocking thing can you do to delight your customers and make their experience so incredible, they’ll have to tell someone about it? What can you and your team do that’s never been done before? What can you do to serve your customers in ways your competition has never even thought of?

Go after the low-hanging fruit but don’t forget to aim high. Or, as Seth Godin says, “Go, make your ruckus!”

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