Low-Hanging Fruit: 77 Eye-Opening Ways to Improve Productivity and Profits

  • 2h 8m
  • Jeremy Eden, Terri Long
  • John Wiley & Sons (US)
  • 2014

In just about every area of life, we tend to think there are only two possibilities: accept things the way they are, or put in a lot of effort, time, and money to make things better. Low-Hanging Fruit is about a third possibility. What most people don’t realize is that there are dozens of easy, affordable, and quick ways to make things better. We can pluck this “low-hanging fruit” every day to save time and money right away.

Step inside any organization, even a very successful one, and chances are good that you’ll find a lot of waste if you know where to look. From providing a feature that consumers don’t care about to doing an outstanding job on daily tasks that only require “good enough” performance, there are countless areas where resources simply go down the drain. In this book, Jeremy Eden and Terri Long have distilled 77 of their most effective techniques for generating real performance improvements drawn from their success working with major companies.

Too many business books are written in a dry tone and offer little practical advice. Low-Hanging Fruit is a breath of fresh air, thanks to the entertaining chapters that get right to the point.

If you think you don’t have the resources to be faster, better, and more profitable, think again. Whether you are a member of a small team or an executive of a multinational company, you will learn from Low-Hanging Fruit how to identify and solve hidden problems.

About the Authors

JEREMY EDEN and TERRI LONG have worked with the CEOs of a wide range of companies in both size and industry to guide their teams through a galvanizing earnings growth process. They have worked with companies such as PNC Financial, H.J. Heinz, Manpower, The Schwan Food Company, Energy East, Webster Financial, and Standard Register, among many others.

Jeremy attended Yale College and Yale School of Management where he is on the Advisory Board. As a McKinsey & Co. consultant, Jeremy served clients such as Goldman Sachs, Hilton Hotels and Travelers Insurance. Jeremy then left to develop what is now the Harvest Earnings innovative Idea Harvest process.

Terri received her degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was in the corporate banking world for nearly two decades in a number of customer-facing senior roles, including at U.S. Bancorp, one of the most efficient banks in the country. Terri was a client of Jeremy's and was so impressed with the principles of his approach that she joined him over a decade ago.

They are the Co-CEOs of Harvest Earnings Group headquartered in Chicago.

In this Book

  • Introduction—Why is Low-Hanging Fruit So Hard to Spot?
  • Put a Price Tag on Everything to Stop the Waste
  • “Value Engineer” Your Products to Eliminate What Your Customers Won't Pay for
  • Ask “Why?” Five Times to See the Real Problem
  • Ask, “How Do We Know That is True?”
  • You Need to Tag it to Bag it Name a Problem to Help Everyone See it!
  • Don't Be Fooled by Misleading Metrics—Zero in on the Ugly and Rattle the Status Quo by Turning Metrics Upside down
  • The 80/20 Rule Everyone Knows it, but Few Use it!
  • Find Quick-and-Dirty Data to Get Refined Insights
  • Benchmarking is a Mistake
  • Use Brainstorming in a New Way to Find Problems, Not Solutions
  • Ask the People Closest to the Work for Their Ideas
  • Get Out of Your Office and Go See for Yourself
  • Stop Ignoring Your Introverts
  • Turn Complaints into Collaboration—The Interdepartmental Job Swap
  • Other People Have Great Ideas—Just Ask Your New Hires and Your Vendors!
  • Does Your Customers' Journey Take Them on a Road Full of Potholes?
  • The Unintentional Squelch
  • Stop Brainstorming to Find New Ideas That Move the Profit Needle
  • Making Problems Harder Can Make Finding Solutions Easier
  • Use a Checklist—It Works for Fighter Pilots and Brain Surgeons, and it Will Work for You!
  • Actually … Just Don't Do it!
  • Give People What They Need, Not What They Want
  • Simplify
  • Push Work down to the Lowest-Paid Person Capable of Doing it
  • Save a Bundle—Take Simple and Low Tech over Sexy and High Tech
  • Save More than a Bundle—Go No Tech over Low Tech!
  • Borrow Good Ideas
  • Force People to Get Help
  • Create an Idea-Based Budget
  • The Five Surprising Words That Keep a Good Executive from Being Great—“I Want Everyone on Board”
  • If You Want the Money, Spend the Time
  • Executive Motivators That Demotivate Everyone Else
  • The Corporate Imposter Syndrome—“The Better I Do, the Worse You'll Think of Me”
  • Improving the Company Should Be Everyone's “Job One”
  • Sweat the Small Stuff
  • Rally the Troops
  • Catch the Vision or Catch the Bus
  • Eliminate Corporate Whac-a-Mole
  • Beat the Competition by First Beating Your Teammates
  • “Blame the other Guy” Syndrome
  • How Dimming the Lights Increases Productivity, and Why Paying Attention Pays Staggering Dividends
  • Firings Can Boost Motivation
  • Form a Steering Committee to Make Sure the Left Hand Knows What the Right Hand is Doing!
  • “Pocket Fisherman,” Yes; “Pocket Veto,” No!
  • Hold Collaboration Workshops
  • The One Monthly Meeting You Must Hold
  • Celebrate Good Times, Come on
  • The Three Essential Parts of a GOOD Idea
  • The Miracle of Deadlines
  • For Big Results, Focus on Small Ideas
  • Fight the War with the Army You Have, Not the One You Want
  • Add to Your Army Only When Necessary
  • Create an “Idea” Flight Plan That Coordinates Implementation
  • The People Who Implement the Idea Should Help to Develop the Idea—Make Sure the Buy-in is Built in
  • The Devil's in the Details—Track Every Idea, Every Dollar, Every Month
  • The Golden Rule—Withdraw and Replace
  • Follow the Money All the Way to the Budget
  • Don't Let Someone Else Dictate the Value of the Ideas You Implement
  • Want to Actually See the Earnings? Lock the Vault
  • Track Your Position Plan
  • It's Not What You Start, It's What You Finish
  • ROI—Making the Investment is Easy, Now Make Sure You Get the Return
  • Learn from Your Mistakes—The After-Action Report
  • “Everyone is Entitled to Their Own Opinion, but Not Their Own Facts”
  • Replace Agendas with Game Plans
  • Ban Meeting Tourists
  • Don't Have a 60-Minute Meeting to Do 22 Minutes of Work
  • Watch the Clock!
  • Use Hard Starts, Not Just Hard Stops, for Your Meetings
  • The Obligation to Dissent
  • Talk More, E-Mail Less
  • PowerPoint Kills
  • Schedule a Little “Me” Time
  • If You Feel Busy, Take on Even More Important Work
  • Increase Your Return on Time
  • In Order to Shine, Have other People Do Your Work!
  • Mom Should Have Said, “Don't Always Do Your Best!”
  • You Can Find the Time—Now Use it Wisely!
  • Win over the Skeptics, Cynics, and Faint of Heart!
  • And a Few More Thoughts for Everyone …—Fight Decision Fatigue
  • In Conclusion