At one time or another, we have all heard the saying that one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.Recently, I found out for myself. I purchased a bushel of red delicious apples from the Farmers Market. There were seventy-two apples in the bushel. The bushel was left intact in the garage for two days.Upon unpacking the apples, I had 57 great apples, 8 slightly bruised apples, and 8 rotten apples to betossed out. Of course, I started thinking about what would have happened if the apples were un-packedin a timely manner. Could I have saved some by immediately disposing of the rotten ones? How manywere ruined just because they were next to or touching a rotten one? What is the valuablemanagement lesson here?
1. The Pareto Principle also known as the 80/20 rule applies once again. The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, sparsity-of-effects principle) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Who are the 20%
rotten apples on your team?
2. Don’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today – odds can be increased by acting immediately. Two days wait, cost me eight. Do you think waiting longer would have cost me more? Who are you waiting to address a performance issue with that continues to impact other team members in a negative way?
3. You can save some by tossing out the rotten one’s early. Ever notice how your good apples shine when the rotten ones are gone? Have you ever thought of the valuable team members you lost because of not addressing the rotten ones sooner or not at all?
4. The eight slightly bruised were almost perfect. By concentrating on their perfect part, and downplaying the one little imperfection, my perfect apples increased to 90%. For those eight apples, we ate them first enjoying the part that was perfect and delicious. How many times have you concentrated on the small imperfection of a team member without utilizing their numerous strengths and good parts? Do you concentrate on the good?
Don’t let the rotten apples spoil the others. Address issues immediately to avoid the loss of others. Find the good in those that are slightly bruised. Enjoy your harvest.