I recently took a tour of the Lake Nokomis Cranberry Marsh (it’s on the same lake as our family cabin). The operations manager told me that growing cranberries was complicated compared to most other crops. Boy was he right.
I don’t remember everything he said but some of what I remember is:
- It takes three years from planting to getting a viable crop.
- Every winter they have to put a .75-inch layer of sand over all the beds, 320 acres in this case. (They have a fulltime sand harvesting operation.)
- Millions of gallons of water are used to flood the marsh at harvest (to float the berries so the cutter can trim them off the vines).
- They use floating tubes (like oil containment tubing) to gather the floating berries to be pumped into a container.
- The pump was adapted from a pumping apparatus that is used to pump minnows from growing ponds into transport vessels without hurting the small fish.
- Water gives off a lot of heat while freezing and that heat protects the berries as the water freezes around them.
My point is that the above truly is complicated. It got me thinking about my business and the businesses of my clients. It’s a rare case where our businesses are anywhere close to being as complicated as growing cranberries.
Yet sometimes (often) we make our businesses more complicated than they need to be. We focus on minutia instead of strategy, we try to do too much too fast or we try to be everything to everybody.
Good things happen when we simply focus on what we do best and actually implement those great ideas.