Aaron J. Crowley

Stone Industry Consultant

Have you heard of the study (or maybe it’s just a story) about the barracuda that was placed in the fish tank and fed goldfish?

The story, I mean the study, goes like this:  For a period of time scientists fed the barracuda goldfish for its dinner. Once the razor-toothed silver bullet became accustomed to its food and feeding schedule, a glass panel was inserted into the center of the tank to protect the goldfish and test the barracuda’s perseverance.

The scientists would drop the dinner into the opposite side of the tank and the feeding frenzy would begin, only to end with the barracuda slamming its teeth into the glass panel while the innocent little goldfish swam safely by.

Wham!  Wham!  Wham! 

It wasn’t very long before the barracuda concluded that the laws of nature had been suspended and that aggressively pursuing its prey was no longer worth the effort or the pain.

As you have probably guessed, the final stage of the study was removing the glass panel and dropping a bucket of goldfish into the tank. 

The result was shocking. The natural instincts of this violently capable killing machine had been conditioned to accept defeat and apparently starvation, while dinner swam right past its nose.

So, what about you and me?

Is it time to consider our own “Goldfish Behind Glass” experiences and whether we’ve accepted defeat?

What aspect of your business has eluded you or frustrated you to the point that you are starting to believe that further effort isn’t worth breaking your teeth on the glass panel?

Sometimes in our exhaustion and discouragement, we can be blind to golden opportunities that are
staring us right in the face.

Is there a prospective customer you’ve simply given up on because the gatekeepers have shut you down or the buyer has rejected every one of your proposals?

Well, pick up the phone and call them one more time! Get on the computer and bang out one more email, requesting the opportunity to quote their next project! Drive down to their office and walk in and ask to talk to them today!

Have you thrown up your hands in frustration because your shop can’t meet your installer’s expectations? 

Well, get your shop guys and installers together in a room and hammer out the top 10 problems the shop “causes” the installers and work to define an acceptable standard that the shop can produce and install can accept.

Have you concluded that you just aren’t capable of “managing people”?

Hogwash! Reject that idea out of hand and sit down and write out a commitment to improve as a manager. Then identify your five most recent failures to manage and what you could have done differently. Then do it differently next time!

Have you concluded that no matter how hard you try, building an economical, consistent, and predictable flow of profitable leads is just not possible?  (By the way, this is my “goldfish behind glass” issue).

Screw that! This is no time to accept defeat in this or any area of our businesses!  

We don’t want to be the barracuda that starves to death while supper swam safely by! While we may be wincing in pain from past failures, while we might have cracked our teeth on the glass panel of our own perceived limitations, we can persevere!

Sometimes in our exhaustion and discouragement, we can be blind to golden opportunities that are staring us in the face. 

So, let this be an encouragement to us all and a reminder to unleash the barracuda of ambition that resides in us all!

Aaron Crowley is a stone shop owner, author, speaker, and consultant to mid size stone companies. Contact him at aaron@fabricatorsfriend.com