Low Hanging Fruit

I recently had a very interesting coaching session with a young man who has taken on a new role with a growing organization. He is new to the organization, and the role is new as well.

This is an exciting spot to be in, but it is challenging as well. I once worked for someone who used to say, “There is nothing more challenging than putting a brand new person in a brand new role.” It is challenging because it is difficult to tell whether issues that arise are related to the design of the role or the skills of the person. As any scientist will tell you, a well-constructed experiment only has one variable at a time.

So, he is in a challenging situation. He was telling me about his ideas for initiatives to be undertaken, and he has great ideas! But they are very grand. And all the bright and shiny opportunities are making it difficult to prioritize.

I asked him if he was familiar with the term, “Low Hanging Fruit.” “No,” he replied.

So I explained that an apple tree has fruit all over it, but we don’t have a ladder. We can either build a ladder now, which will take time, or we can pick the Low Hanging Fruit first. We can reach it now, and it is ripe. We’re hungry now, I said. “Yes!” he said, “Hungry and thirsty!”

“Then start with the Low Hanging Fruit,” I suggested. “What are the projects you can start with first and get some momentum, while building a ladder to get to the top of the tree?” And we began talking about the projects he can undertake immediately.

It occurs to me this morning that the same is true for developing products.

I am in a “mastermind” or “success team” group that meets, virtually, every week. Our mission is to support and hold each other accountable while we are building our businesses. As part of that, each of us is working on a Product of some kind. We are having some interesting conversations and some exciting breakthroughs!

And we face some interesting challenges, some of which are of our own making.

I wonder, to what extent are we – am I – forgetting to pick the Low Hanging Fruit, overlooking it because it is almost too easy?


My late husband used to look at me sometimes and say, “I hate it when you’re right.”

This time I have to say, “Gah, I hate it when I’m right.”

What is the Low Hanging Fruit you are overlooking?

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7 Responses to Low Hanging Fruit

  1. Mary Havlicek January 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Gah, I hate it when you’re right, too.

    Nah, just kidding, I don’t.

    I’ve been getting a lot of signals lately about how I’ve been trying to force things to happen, and this post is yet another reminder for me. I’m like your client – I have all these grand ideas and goals and I want them all to happen RIGHT NOW.

    I have been taught the “low hanging fruit” concept in regards to finding clients, but this definition is so much better. And it’s an excellent reminder for me to go towards what is easy for me to do right now, what will build the momentum. Not stress myself out and stretch myself too thin trying to go just for the big stuff.

    Thanks for giving me the smack upside the head – I needed it. 😉

  2. Susan January 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    LOL – Believe me, it was a smack upside the head for me, too. Just wait until tomorrow’s sequel, wherein I give myself quite the talking to.

    The good news is, (#1) you DO have great ideas, and (#2) we don’t have to do everything at once. We just have to – get to – do something. The bad news is, we have to – get to – choose. Hopefully this helps!

    Thanks Mary!

  3. Tisha January 27, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    This is very helpful Susan. I guess that’s why all of us in the group resonate so well with each other, we have similar goals AND blocking issues. I know that many times it is just me standing in my own way (the dreaded fear of success, I guess). I really needed to be reminded to stay the course, cut my losses and just keep moving in the direction that inspiration is trying to pull me in. So, feel free to keep those reminders coming! 🙂

  4. Jesse January 28, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    For the first time, I’m faced with a tree that has so much fruit (ideas that I’m excited about).

    The trick is to start, like you said, going for the low-hanging fruit, enjoying the process and pacing myself.

    The blessing is in being excited about what the tree has to offer.


  5. Susan January 28, 2011 at 11:10 am #

    Hi Tisha! Thanks for the support – you know I’m in the same boat! You’re doing some great stuff and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  6. Susan January 28, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    Hi Jesse! It IS a blessing to be excited about what the tree has to offer – it is good to keep that in mind rather than choosing to be overwhelmed by all that fruit!


  1. Low Hanging Fruit – Part II - January 28, 2011

    […] spontaneous post on Low Hanging Fruit has spurred all kinds of additional thoughts, and the committee in my head has jumped into the […]

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