N80pxtreeovember. The rituals return. It doesn’t matter what line of work you are in, certain themes and activities will re-appear with the first foggy morning.  In my business, it’s the planning of new-year team ‘awaydays’. With the TV schedules, it’s the return of the celebrity chefs.  Including a chef with a mission this year….

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has (bravely) taken on the supermarket trope that consumers demand perfectly and uniformly shaped vegetables.  Apparently we won’t we buy peculiar parsnips, or crooked courgettes or crazy carrots. And the waste that attends this unshakeable truth, as it works its way through the entire production to plate process, is breathtaking.

You can get involved at

And you can get involved where you work, too.

No, not about vegetables. But about how this apparent perfection passion extends across our working lives.  Vegetables, supermarkets, and waste are simply playing out in a physical way something that happens at a behavioural level in the workplace.  In every culture, a template of ‘perfection’ will have been created and absorbed unconsciously, by just about everyone.  The circumstances around the creation and tenacity of this template will vary by place and profession. But it will exist in some form.

And why not? You ask. No bad thing to have an ideal standard to work to, an attainment level to which we can aspire.
It’s the other aspects of the analogy – as well as waste – that are interesting and disturbing..

As with Morrison’s perfect parsnip, the fit of this perfect template will be in the service of some sort of control. Yet all we know about the hectic pace of change in our world tells us that in business, total control is an unhelpful ambition.

As with Morrison’s perfect parsnip, the constant selection of uniformity means that we gradually lose the ability to work with a non-uniform shape. Yet all we know …is that as our economy moves inexorably towards service and experience, the ability to refine and personalize will represent higher value.

As with Morrison’s perfect parsnip, we lazily become accustomed to one form of looking and assessing, to one aspect of what is in front of us. Yet all we know…is that as every business tries to improve on innovative and creative thinking, it is the hard wired habit of curiosity that will help us find the other values and qualities that make a difference.

It’s simple, really.

Hire some crazy carrots onto your team.

Quirky: wonky fruit and veg are often rejected by supermarkets
Quirky: wonky fruit and veg are often rejected by supermarkets


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