About 15 hours into a two day strategic planning meeting someone will grab the blue pen, head to the white board and declare that we are going to list the “low hanging fruit.”  Here are the reasons I have learned to hate this practice:

1.     Low hanging fruit by definition does not take effort.  It acts like a down payment on a decision to minimize the effort spent on the plan.            

2.     Low hanging fruit is a “feel good” attempt to convince ourselves that we are off and running. Where it is intended to create momentum, in reality the inertia created ends at the close of the meeting.

3.     Low hanging fruit as a credibility generator does the opposite.  If I start my diet by weighing myself and then taking off my shoes and declaring a two pound loss the first day, it signals that I am doing it for show not for results.

4.     Low hanging fruit does not create a culture shift.  Any strategic plan worth implementing will require a culture shift in the organization.  Without the culture shift it is temporary gain at best.

5.     Low hanging fruit does nothing to set us up to pick high hanging fruit.  It appears sequential but is does not get us any closer to the ultimate goal that will require discipline and hard work.

6.     Low hanging fruit does not make us better.  Our skills, knowledge, and ethics do not have to rise to the occasion of picking low hanging fruit.

7.     Low hanging fruit does not build a team.  If we are capable of doing it right now with little or no changes it will not gather a team of people who are committed to a new outcome. 

8.     Creating a strategy to pick high hanging fruit will automatically encompass the low hanging fruit; no strategy is needed for the low stuff. 

9.     Low hanging fruit will not distinguish us from others.  There is no brand distinction in low hanging fruit.  There is not core competency in picking low hanging fruit. 

10. Low hanging fruit will lull us to sleep.  We leave the meeting believing that it was just a matter of filling the whiteboard with minimal tasks making us unprepared for the realities of change. 




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