The Brazil Nut Factor
Have you cracked a Brazil nut recently? You know, that dark half-moon shaped, hard as a rock nut that yields a large chunk of nutmeat when you have the perseverance to get into it. Have you ever given any thought to the process that went into getting that nut from the tree to the neatly wrapped cellophane package that appears in the grocery store in abundance? With less effort than it takes to crack a Brazil nut, you can learn a fundamental secret of the rainforest that can revolutionize your business.
The Brazil Nut Effect conveys the story of strategic relationships; the kind of relationships that can make or break a business. In the squeeze of the current economic climate, those that form strategic alliances are positioning themselves for market dominance in the days ahead. A trip to the rainforest can provide relevant information for business application.
The Brazil Nut is at the core of a host of complex relationships that form a productive team. As with many unforgettable lessons, it was through failure that the importance of these relationships was revealed.
Most people are aware of the detrimental effects of clear-cutting the rainforest. Man is often woefully oblivious to the long-term effects of his schemes that disrupt natural systems. Case in point is when the clear cutters tried to create Brazil Nut tree plantations. The trees grew well – even growing up to 200 feet in size – but there was one major problem. The trees produced no nuts. Zero. The perplexed business developers turned to the scientists, who in turn discovered that there are several species crucial in the reproductive process of the Brazil Nut.
The process of fruitfulness in Brazil nut production starts with a certain species of bee that pollinates the flowers of the tree, facilitating the process of nut production. This bee lived in the rainforest, but did not stick around through the establishment of the plantations. Furthermore, the bee happens to require a certain species of orchid that is involved in the bee’s reproductive process. The scenario becomes complicated further because of the necessary participation of a giant rodent in the propagation of Brazil Nut trees. The agouti, a 10 pound rodent, is the only species capable of chewing through the extremely hard Brazil nut shell to distribute the seeds for new tree growth. This chain of relationships worked beautifully in the rainforest but did not translate to a man-made environment. These strategic alliances are unseen by the casual observer, but are critical in the life of the rain forest.
In subsequent posts this week, I’ll review the different types of relationships as they translate to business. There’s great wisdom in nature if we’ll take the time to open the eyes of our understanding.