Don't let the snails eat your business

With any business, senior level management are fighting to stay on the course of strategic direction and management.

We can find ourselves drifting into the small issues that seem important, but often it is an emotional attachment to ourselves and not the company’s best interest of our time. An example of this is recently at the Hummingbird Eco Retreat we have had a snail problem.

This year we have grown our produce from seed but came across an army of snails mowing down our ‘trying to hatch’ seeds. This put our food production behind and I became emotionally attached to the seedling by trying to protect new seedlings, especially our basil. We tried beer traps, egg shells and coffee ground from our restaurant. We even tried ceramic flower pots upside down to gather bulk snails. Nothing seemed to work.

I found myself every morning and any spare time gathering snails and feeding them to the chooks or putting them under my foot. To say I was a little bit obsessed with snails was an understatement.

Our Executive Chef, John Carroll, who is into Bio-Dynamic growing and developed a 3 year plan on what to grow was laughing on the inside. As the CEO of Hummingbird Eco Retreat it was not my best use of time picking snails and finding ways to exterminate them.

The real main reason John was laughing, is we didn’t have a snail problem, we had a snail predator problem or soil imbalance. As a CEO, if I wanted to fix our snail issue which may still not be my priority, I must first look at the whole balance of nature.

Was our soil healthy? Had we rotated our crops, built up the soil with compost after harvest and let it rest? Or had we contributed to it by building up beds with too much straw, creating a breeding ground and hiding place for snails? Did we have enough predators, as our chooks eat snails in the cage but then was there too many other bugs the chooks preferred when they were in the veggie patch?

Solution: purchase of 2 big guns. Donald and Daisy ducks (actual 2 females!).

What I found was that the snails were not only eating the seedlings but more importantly eating into my precious time. They had somehow jumped the priority chain and structure of my day.

I’m sure every senior level manager can look back at the last week and see what has jumped the priority chain and how did we let it happen?

Nature shows us how to run a business and do it in sustainable ways. It gives us all the tools we need to learn and continue to flourish.

Scott Davies
Sustainable CEO