I eat a lot of apples. I haven’t always done so, but when a Chinese acquaintance raved about the magical powers of the Fuji, I bypassed consumer reports and bought a bag. I’ve been hooked ever since. I keep them in my briefcase, at my desk and – weather-permitting – in my car. On a recent plane flight I was audibly delighted when, while pulling my iPad out of my bag, I discovered a forgotten one. (I guess airport security doesn’t worry about apples.) It sounds a bit like an addiction. Let me set the record straight: it’s not a bit “like” an addiction. It is a FULL-ON addiction!

Fujis get a little soft and sour in the fall. But then, to the rescue, comes the Honey Crisp. I didn’t capitalize the ‘H’ and the ‘C’ in ‘Honey Crisp’ at first. But both ‘Honey’ and ‘Crisp’ deserve the upper case. Eating one stimulates multiple senses. The other day I was looking at my Honey Crisp and noticed that the skin looks like a gorgeous fall leaf had melted to it. Who wouldn’t melt when in the proximity of such sweetness? When you bite into it the crunch is embarrassingly audible. When they are fresh out of the fridge, the cold sensation combines with the sweet and life is good.  The flesh is white and succulent and seems to smile back at you through a liquid glaze.

The Honey Crisp is big but I finish them without guilt. They measure out somewhere between a baseball and a softball. They also play well with friends. I’ve eaten them with slices of brie, smears of peanut butter and dipped in honey (I learned that trick from my 14 year old!). They are also superb diced and tossed in a salad.

So what’s the business analogy I get from these two – the Fuji and the Honey Crisp? Well, I did discover one while enjoying a mid-morning apple snack the other day. I frowned and tossed a soft, out-of-season Fuji in the trash. It was not at all up to par. Are we aware of the tools we use that have better times of year or a distinct seasonality? Do we have processes which sour at a certain time but for which we have others that are in perfect form at that same time? What about our people? Do we have open conversations about when they are at their best? Or do we simply frown and toss them, sure that our momentary perceptions represent full-time reality?

We all have peak and non-peak times, whether it is during the day or during a quarter.

I made a note to talk to my Executive Team about this concept so that we have realistic expectations of each other and of the rest of our team and so that our initial reactions are to give someone the benefit of the doubt until we have experienced them fully. If I had first tried a Fuji in October, I would have made the incorrect assumption that they were not worth the time. What a loss that would have been for me and my senses! My apple addiction has helped me become more aware of if I am experiencing someone in their Fugi fall or Honey Crisp fall.

I’ve got to go get a Honey Crisp.


– Becky Sharpe, President & CEO