Recently, I was trying to figure out whether I was working on the right things or not. There are a lot of red herrings in the industry and in my role, so it is very important for me to ensure that I’m spending my efforts doing something that will move the needle. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to see the needle for the haystack.
When I talked to a mentor of mine, I was told a story and I wanted to pass it on:
Once, there were two people in Georgia who saw an opportunity to make money by transporting watermelons. They figured they’d purchase the watermelons in Georgia, drive them to New York, and then sell them to make a lot of money. The two purchased a lot of watermelons for $2 each, drove them to NY, sold them for $2 each, and then drove back with the expectation that they’d made a lot of money — they’d sold all their watermelons! When they got back and started figuring things up, they realized that they hadn’t done as well as they had figured. One of them looked at the other and said, “Wonder what we did wrong?” And the other said, “I know! Next time, we need a bigger truck!”
It’s not always a situation where you need to do more or bigger or flashier – sometimes it’s as simple as looking at the logical things, like your base pricing vs cost. This helped me step back and not try to look at the obvious solutions to some of the issues we’ve been facing. Instead, I’m trying to look at the underlying issues and resolve them.