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  • Karl Walker-Finch

The view from the plums


One of my favourite family activities over the holidays was harvesting plums from our garden. We had around 12kg again this year, more than enough to make a batches of plum jam and plum chutney to be enjoyed for many months to come. Both were made by adding honey or fruit syrup instead of refined sugar, not that I’m convinced it makes it any better for your teeth.

Amidst all the excitement picking plums with my little helpers we would periodically think we’d picked everything that was ready to be picked, only to move around the tree a bit further and find a new party of plums ready to go (plums definitely party on the tree before being picked).

Time and time again it would happen, the tree looks bare, only for a change in perspective to reveal more low hanging fruit.

When a problem is viewed from a single perspective, a single persons biases can blind them from a bounty of solutions. Changing our position, trying to view things from a different perspective can reveal a different answer. Working in a team with a diverse blend of viewpoints can come up with an even richer melting pot. This is the premise behind Matthew Syed’s fascinating book Rebel Ideas.

It’s easy to be friends or colleagues with people who look like us and think like use, but we can all reap a greater harvest by building a diverse network, one full of people willing to challenge our own beliefs and prejudices, people who can see clearly in our blind spots.

When we’re picking plums, it might mean a bigger harvest in a shorter period of time.

When it comes to healthcare, it might just mean better care and reduced morbidity for our patients.

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