A number of years ago I was travelling across eastern Washington and stumbled on Mr. Harris’s farm. Mr Harris now has two choices for consumers to purchase produce from his farm. That wasn’t always the case. I talked with him as he sat in his rocking chair offering me ‘Pick and Buy’ or ‘U Pick’ options.

He told me that when he was younger he focused on picking and selling so those who stopped at this roadside stand could choose their produce, pay a premium for it, and be gone. The Pick and Buy sold well, involved a lot of farm labor, and he heard complaints when a single tomato or apple in the basket or bag was bad.

As time went by he began to realize that lots of city people (like me) would enjoy picking their own produce and having the experience of being on his farm. This U-Pick option dropped the price a little because he needed less farm labor, created an experience for people, especially families, that caused them to return time and time again. It also shifted the responsibility for the quality of the produce to the buyer so he heard very few complaints about quality.

What experience are you selling to your employees? Do you pick and sell where you hire talent that you expect to perform without investment? Or do you U Pick where you hire talent and encourage experiences that they learn and grow from? There’s room for both options, Mr. Harris knows that. your job is to know that too. Applying the right approach equals better recruitment, retention, and performance.

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About Judy Hissong

Judy Hissong is the President of Nesso Strategies. A former law firm Chief Operating Officer, she helps firms become more profitable by developing leaders. Her mission is “world domination for Good.” By creating actionable, lightbulb moments that leaders want to share and spread, she intends to improve the world one person at a time.

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Judy Hissong