Peaches, Capacity, And Capability

Two friends from south Florida thought they found a way to make their fortune. First, they bought a pickup truck with no money down. Then they drove to Georgia and filled the truck as much as they could – to capacity – with peaches for which they paid $1 a bag. They drove back home, set up a stand by the side of the road and sold those peaches for $1 a bag.

By the end of just one day they sold out of peaches. But when the cost of the peaches, the truck payment, gas and other expenses were deducted from what had come in from sales, they found that they had lost money. After some thought one of them declared, “Aha, I figured it out. We should have bought a bigger truck.”

People chuckle at that story. Yet so many times men and women think that the solution to their problems is more – more of something. “If I just had more time, more employees, more education, more money, this problem would be solved.” But maybe “more” is not the answer. Maybe greater capacity is not the key.

More employees can be good. They can also create a payroll burden that puts a company under. Education is wonderful, but knowledge by itself has limited value. And how many relationships have been ruined and character flaws revealed by the pressures of a sudden increase in net worth?

Vacations are another example. People often try to pack in just as much as they can. Later they say, “I need a vacation from my vacation!” This is a symptom of the “More is better” mindset.

The alternate approach involves focusing on capability rather than capacity. Capability asks “What tools, talents, or resources do I need? Which do I already possess and how can I develop them to make my life count?” It’s not about packing more in, but about creating the right outcomes.

More isn’t always the solution. A bigger truck doesn’t always mean more profit. Instead, focus on meaningful results.


The above is used by permission from the book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 e-mails about business and life by Steve Fales.

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