Phil Acock in the Fourayes Fruit Processing plant

Fruit industry comment and insights from Phil Acock

Nov 1, 2016

Is Being Single-Minded Just Good Business Intelligence?

Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Computers, once said: ‘If today were the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?’ It’s a salutary thought, and one that we’ve embraced wholeheartedly in our 2020 Vision for the Company.

The Vision has been created to provide a single point of focus for everything that everyone in the Company does. And in doing so, to deliver the essential clarity that makes sure we all focus our efforts on providing dedicated expertise, fast turnaround, product innovation, new processes, new equipment, industry-leading performance, incomparable flexibility, exceptional products, single-minded purpose and more.

Our take on Steve Jobs’ perspective is to challenge whether the things we do each day will contribute to the Fourayes 2020 Vision or whether they are a distraction. And it works: whether it’s applied to a meeting or a project, a procedure or an initiative, it makes a world of difference to challenge the value of the action.

It’s not always easy: there’s the constant fear that the things we didn’t do might turn out to be the things we should have. Steve Jobs put it into perspective: ‘People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things we have done’.

Ben Hunt-Davies, and the GB Men’s Rowing Eight, won gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 following many years of not winning races. It happened because they changed the way they worked: every new thing, suggested by any member of the team, was met by the simple challenge ‘will it make the boat go faster?’ After all, it’s the fastest boat that wins gold. History shows that it worked for the GB Men’s Rowing 8; Steve Jobs’ approach worked for Apple Computers and our 2020 Vision is working for us too.

Someone once said ‘if you chase two rabbits, both will escape’. That person was absolutely right.

Our Fourayes 2020 Vision has also delivered some surprising additional benefits. One such is the fact that the clarity and focus it brings has led to more people focusing on fewer things that are, in themselves, more important to the Business. Instead of having a management team that tries to focus on everything we now have everyone in the Company focusing on the things that matter; and coming up with actions that make a real difference. That’s powerful stuff when you consider that your focus determines your reality!

Phil Acock

Managing Director and Mad Scientist at Fourayes; the UK’s number one grower and processor of English Bramley apples and processor of fruits from the UK and across the globe.

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