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Golden Delicious or Granny Smith: The Importance of Understanding

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Written by Daz Burns

In our latest interview with Ranjna Patel we talk about the power of meeting the need of the community, there is a secret lesson here team and one that we needed to highlight! 


The Good Old Saying

Author Richard Spinos, said that people need to “get rid of the idea that everyone has to like you! Even if you were the most delicious apple on earth, get real, some people prefer bananas!”. Now for anyone who knows me, I despise bananas so I need to shuffle this analogy to apples and oranges, but I think we all get the gist of where I am going with this right?!


Lessons from the Fruit Shop

I had the honour of having a kōrero with Ranjna Patel, ONZM, QSM an all round force for good here in Aotearoa and she shared a story of working in her family’s fruit and vegetable shop when she was growing up. During this time, she learnt the importance of knowing the difference between “a granny smith or a golden delicious” and ensuring that you delivered what the customer asked for, as “back in those days”, customers didn’t touch the produce, it was prepared for you by the staff at the store, so listening and being particular in the choice of produce was imperative to success.

Later in our kōrero, Ranjna referred to this memory again, but this time moving it into how she and her husband, in spite of mountainous challenges and misunderstandings, have made business choices and been effective in delivering meaningful community support.

“Granny Smith or Golden Delicious, it’s a different mindset”.

Which reminded me of something Martin Luther King said many years ago “even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree”. 

The Patel whānau have done this over and over again, listening to people, seeing challenges in front of them and planting seeds to support their community for generations to come.   


It’s All About Listening

The bottom line, the key takeaway for us all, is that it all comes down to effectively listening and delivering quality, everytime. 

Not trying to mix apples with oranges to get an outcome that works in your favour. 

Talking less.

Listening more.

Truly hearing.

Meeting needs.

Adding value.

Caring about what you do.

Caring about the person who asked for Golden Delicious.

Caring about the person who needs health care early in the morning or late at night so they can still go to work and earn money for their whānau – listening to their needs and meeting them with new opening hours at their GP.


A default can be to meet the needs of others, when it suits us.

Another defaut could be to try to move stock that is substandard, that suits you, but not your customer. 

The less we listen, the less we learn.

The less we learn, the less we grow.

The less we grow, the less likely we are to reach our potential. 


So Give it a Nudge

Listen intently.

Don’t think of how you are going to respond while someone else is talking. 

Clear your mind as much as you can.


Tune in.

Hear them.

See them.

Deliver your best for them, and you will feel true success.

Whether this is in business.

In relationships.

In service. 

In meetings. 


And hey, if you do have a customer who has a strong opinion on the kind of apple they believe they need, you can share perspective with them, because, as Seth Adam Smith said “a bruised apple is not all bad. It still has tremendous potential.” 

You, dear reader, have tremendous potential.





Ranjna, you are on my hero list! 

Thank you for doing your part to develop and change our world. 

Ngā mihi nui ki a koe


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