I was just telling a friend about a story I heard when I was younger, about how farmers used to trap raccoons. It reminded me of business strategy — So, I thought I would share.
Raccoons are notorious for destroying farmers’ crops. Because farmers are so resourceful they devise a way to trap raccoons in their fields by using only a piece of bread and a large silver spoon in a small jar.
While walking through the field the raccoon sniffs out the jar and out of curiosity attempts to retrieve the food. While doing so, the raccoon, which is known for its love of shiny objects, is distracted by the silver spoon reflecting in the moonlight. It grasps the spoon, and since the opening of the jar is smaller than its closed fist, it relentlessly pulls on it for hours.
The noise from the spoon clacking against the glass alerts the farmer of the raccoon’s presence. Determined in removing the spoon, the struggling raccoon gives the farmer enough time to put down his dinner, grab his gun and make his way to the ill-fated rodent.
In this example, the raccoon did some things well:
- It stumbled onto an abundance of food on a farm.
- It found some delicious bread and went after it.
- It found something shiny that it liked and went after it.
What was its deadly mistake? It couldn’t give up on a bad situation once its investment went south. In other words, he wasn’t able to reassess risk/reward and how it compared to its higher purpose.
The gist: Sometimes giving up on what we love/desire can be distracting from what we need to win. An entrepreneur is risky enough to take a chance on the delicious bread even though it is surrounded by a field of food, but it knows a shiny spoon in a small hole when he sees it. 😉