Making a Value Choice

I returned home yesterday, after three weeks between Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok and London. We left London on a relatively balmy day and landed in New York on a dazzlingly sunny day, with what seemed like almost spring weather.

A few hours later London was deluged in snow, more snow than any time in the last 14 years. Heathrow was closed, over 250 flights were canceled, and airport hotels suddenly found themselves enjoying a non-recessionary few days as everyone clamored for a room at the proverbial inn.

A week ago, in Dubai, we had days of rain, and in the nearby hills, snow! It’s a desert…talk about shifting times and definitions!

It’s a strange time in the world…climatically, economically, geopolitically. But then is it really that strange, or is it just that we are facing a real inflection point in many ways, as we move from one sense of ‘normal’ to another?

I do know this, that while we can’t control some of the world’s transitions and transformations, we can certainly influence our place in them. Stranded passengers at Heathrow seethed not because of snowfall but lack of information or apparent care for their plight. This could have been a moment for Heathrow to in one fell swoop renew their global service brand image by providing the type of attentiveness, concern and care that would have lingered long after the snow had melted and passengers were safely on their way. Instead it seems, they may have confirmed the perceptions (fair or otherwise) people have of the sterility of airports in general and the obtuseness of Heathrow in particular, in human terms.

If the airport hotels were sane, they went out of their way over this period to provide empathic service and additonal value wherever possible, rather than exacerbating people’s stress with their own obliviousness and disdain. I have to say other than the Regal in Hong Kong (which consistently wins awards for best airport hotel in the world), I have yet to find an airport hotel that doesn’t seem awash in pro forma and quite insipid service…on a par with say bank lobbies and doctor’s waiting rooms.

Much is afoot in the world, and as we travel, and as we serve our clients, when unprecedented storms strike, we have to provide unprecedented responsiveness, care, empathy…and value. We should in fact be trying to do that anyway. But it’s needed now more than ever. People will still purchase services, make trips, choose business partners. But I truly believe they won’t make their choices on the equivalent of a Superbowl commercial — full of sound and fury as the Bard wrote in another context, signifiying nothing. People will be more discerning, more substantive in what they’re looking for. For those of us willing to be the right choice, that’s great news.

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  1. Samad Aidane
    Posted February 6, 2009 at 1:37 am | Permalink

    Congratulations Omar on your blog.

    I have been a long time admirer of your work and have listened numerous times to your interview podcasts with the Engaging Brand, Learn from Life, and Total Picture Radio with Peter Clayton. I look forward to the newsletter every month.

    And while I am here, I want to thank you for your book “Liberating Passion”. It is a wonderful book full of insights. I am an Information Technology Project Manager an so many of the insights there on how to liberate passion are so relevant to project managers and project team members. I keep going back to it again and again to read of the many passion liberators.

    Now that you are blogging, I wonder if you have any plans for podcasting. I know you are extremely busy with all your travels around the globe serving your clients but it would so wonderful to be able to listen to your podcasts on commute to work. One idea I thought would be an easy starting point is to convert to podcasts those interviews you did for the Singapore TV on how to be a better boss. They have wonderful content that lends itself to podcasting. Another idea is to do a podcast by reading the monthly newsletter. I know that Dan Coughlin, a mentee of Alan, uses this and it works well.

    It would also be great to hear you again in an interview with Anna Farmery and Peter Clayton to introduce your new book. I think they are great interviewers and you seem to have a wonderful chemistry with both Peter and Anna. During your last interview with Anna (about “Liberating Passion”), she said this at the end of the interview: “There are times when I wonder why I do these podcasts, because it takes me an incredible amount of editing and an incredible and amount of time. Then I get to speak to somebody like Omar Khan and all the hard work behind the scene seems to be incredibly worth it”. I thought that was brilliant.

    I have also become interested in NLP after I hear you talk about anchoring in one of the interviews with Peter Clayton. I plan to learn more about it as I already see how I can apply a lot of the NLP tools to deliver successful projects.

    I am also a big fan of Alan’s work and have both his Million Dollar and Getting Started in Consulting.

    Anyway, thank you again for the books, the newsletter, and now the blog. I look forward to more interviews and hopefully a regular podcast.

  2. Posted February 6, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words. Funny you should mention podcasts, one is going up later today hopefully. Enjoy Global Consultant!

  3. Samad Aidane
    Posted February 6, 2009 at 8:00 pm | Permalink


    Thank you. I look forward to listening to it.

    By the way, I forgot to mention in my earlier post that I noticed something unusual about the content in the “Foundation for Community Encouragement” website you link to from “Omar’s Links” page.

    It looks like the domain was taken over by another goup and the content is not related to FCE.

    Thank you.

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