Duff buck syndrome

My very first business adventure was breeding rabbits. I was 15, it was 1968 and there was a market for rabbit meat.

I became quite successful and was beginning to make money. I had built or scrounged the hutches and developed my own breeding programme, creating a steady flow of stock to go to market.

After about 18 months, I decided that I needed to invest in a new buck, an F1 hybrid from pedigree stock. I remember the day I picked him up, he was expensive and he was my pride and joy.

Unfortunately my magnificent new stud turned out to be a blank firing dud and the does were no longer producing litters. I couldn’t accept this, he was the biggest investment I had ever made, surely it couldn’t be true? So I gave him another round with the does and my stock ran down and the food bills kept coming in and I lost all my money. His predecessor was already pushing up a pie crust, so there was no going back. I had no plan B.

The lesson was hard learned, but it’s always stuck with me.

Hiring people, the right people is one of the most difficult things we do, but the most important thing is to recognise and admit when you’ve got it wrong…and act before any further damage is done.

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