Being versus Doing- A tale of two airlines


“We are human beings, not human doings” – Deepak Chopra,2008.

being-and-doing

Over the last year or so, I have had two markedly different experiences with Airlines on the same issue. Let me not name the airlines here but rather focus on the experiences.

Airline A : I reached Chicago over the airline’s European hub only to find that both my bags had not arrived. It was eighteen hours into the journey and as I stood there clutching the missing baggage report, I was advised by the ground handling staff to call up the airline toll free number for further assistance and updates. Little did I realise that this was the beginning of my ordeal. Countless calls only led me into the votaries of a sophisticated message switch with friendly automated voices always offering a menu of further numbers to be dialed and inviting me to leave a message. I felt like going round and round the mulberry bush! Try as I did, I could never reach a human voice. Several frustrated calls and auto reply emails later, the airline deigned to send a cryptic SMS to the effect that the missing bags were available for collection and for further assistance, could I call them on phone. I shuddered. Visions of me once again failing to negotiate the matrix like maze of the airline communication system haunted me in technicolour.

Airline B : A few months later as I traveled on a lesser known regional airline, my bags once again failed to make it to the conveyor belt. As I was getting the passenger irregularity form filled, hearing running steps, I turned around to see the airline station representative come to me. He hesitated and then apologetically told me that since his airline baggage tracing system was still not automated, he would be the point of contact. I remained skeptical but to my pleasant surprise next morning, not only did I get a call from the guy that my bags had arrived but that he had arranged to send them to me. The bags duly arrived along with a box of chocolates and an apology note.

lost-luggage

What is it that differentiated my service level experiences of these two airlines thus?

My thoughts once again returned to “Leadership and Self Deception” by the Arbinger Institute*. One of the great take-away from this book is that our externally manifested behaviour of how we do what we do is never as important as who we are. We hold the choice of how we wish to see people around us.

We can choose to see people as people. Which leads us to genuinely connect with people and do what is right.

Or we can choose to see people as tasks. Which leads us to see them somehow as obstacles in our scheme of things, stuff which need to be completed and disposed off in the most efficient manner.

Airline A chose to see me and my bags as a task to be done. Being a global brand, it used the latest customer response technology. I and my missing bags were a blip in the statistics and graphs. A blip that goes off with no trace once the problem gets sorted. The airline had chosen to follow the path of ‘how we do what we do’. So in all its affirmations of providing the best in class customer service and experience, technology had taken centre stage, employees relegated to being merely the support cast.

Airline B chose to see me as a person. Someone with feelings and emotion. Someone who was desperate to find a person who would listen and care. It had put its faith in showing up as ‘Who we are’. Lacking great resources, it had to make do with the few employees it had on the ground and trusting and empowering them.

So I come back to why ‘Who we are’ resonated so much more deeply than ‘How we do what we do’ with me. I could intuitively put my trust in the genuineness of ‘Who Airline B was’, complete with its vulnerability and shortcomings. What really mattered to me was that my existence was being acknowledged. Contrast this with the Airline A’s focus on technology and ‘How it does what it does’. For me, this remained what it was, the Airline’s obsession with its own inner process and priorities, not really about me, the client.

What is it then that makes many of us, organisations and individuals alike, take the path of how we do what we do? Is this because of the modern day belief that the more we do, the more we have? A belief reinforced by technology that allows us to ‘do’ 24X7, globally, virtually. Is it because as we ‘do’, we get reassured of the results? But could this be conditioning us into a compulsive ‘doing’ behaviour? A behaviour that stops us from being ‘who we are’, something which would have allowed us to gain greater awareness and become more discerning about what we do.

I come to the realisation that be it as organisations or individuals, it is only when we remain firmly anchored in ‘who we are’, our core values and competences, and allow ‘what we do’ to flow out of that can we hope to be the true leaders and game changers of tomorrow.

In learning………………….. Shakti Ghosal

Footnote: * In an earlier post titled, “ What if……..”, I had taken reference to the book, Leadership and Self Deception, in a somewhat different context.

Acknowledgement: Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box – An Arbinger Institute publication, 2008.

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59 thoughts on “Being versus Doing- A tale of two airlines

  1. In this case, Airline B’s very shortcomings were its advantage. Being small should not be considered a bad thing. Unfortunately in our cut-throat global economy in which the stockholder rules, it’s awfully difficult to stay small, focused and still succeed. We can only hope that once Airline B “grows up” and becomes technologically equal to its competitors, it won’t forget the value of the personal touch and ownership of service.

    And now, I’m going to start having nightmares about my luggage for an upcoming major flight!

    • I wish you a safe and pleasant flight. I suppose by misplacing my bags twice in quick succession, the law of probability would ensure secured passage of yours 🙂

      These is a well known principle in Marketing which says, “As organisations, we forget what made us successful as we grow and move away from the knitting.” I do hope that Airline B succeeds in bucking the trend.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, I appreciate.

      Shakti

  2. Well said again, Shakti.

    Seems like you travel a lot… or have lately. But to lose your bags twice – ugh.

    I distinctly, naturally, prefer the second level of service. I would have HATED getting automated answers in the first instance. The chocolates were a wonderful touch.

    Yes, anchored in who we are ALWAYS. Very well said.

    • Frankly speaking, I do not travel a lot nowadays, much less than what I used to some years back. But you know what? I remain much more mindful of the situation nowadays, like to be in the moment.Losing the bags twice within a year. Well it had not happened to me before so I guess the law of probability caught up with me 🙂

      Thank you for commenting, I appreciate.

      Shakti

  3. The lessons you shared with us by considering two different approaches of two different lessons are priceless. At some point of time, we all experience such behavior from reputed brands who consider people as tasks. I have similar experiences while dealing with a popular mobile network provider; where I ended up pressing all the keys of my cellphone and could only hear a computer recorded voice from the other side whereas I had to talk to a customer care executive and to file a complain.
    Sometime people forget that reputation is directly or indirectly proportional to the customer satisfaction. And believe, that’s where “How we do it” comes into play.

    • Hi Arindam,

      At the outset do accept my apologies for the delay in responding. I had been travelling out for more than two weeks…..

      Thank you for your very considered comment. Yes, brand reputation is directly proportional to customer satisfaction. It is thus surprising to see so many well known brands forgetting this simple aspect what made them well known in the first place.

      As customers observing from outside, what responsibility do we take to support brands gone astray?

      Shakti

  4. Hi Shakti. Like a true management professional, you have lent a philosophic touch to a mundane issue. Technology has already rendered customer service useless in many situations. The human touch shall forever be supreme, about which there is little doubt. But corporations rarely learn, blind as they are in their single minded pursuit of profits.

    • Hi Vatash,

      At the outset, sorry for the delay in replying but I had been travelling for over two weeks and got back day before.

      Thank you for your kind comment. I suppose it remains important for each one of us to try and discover the underlying trends and compulsions in many of our day to day disparate situations. It is only through such understanding can we realise the way-forwards.

      Yes, as technology and knowledge access become more and more ubiquitous, the cycle would turn towards the human touch as the differentiating factor.

      I appreciate your visit.

      Shakti

  5. Shakti, thank you for addressing an issue that is roaring rampantly through our lives. It’s becoming more and more difficult to determine who is serving whom. When I do run into genuine service such as you experienced with Airline B, I’m reminded that the pendulum will have to swing back – to a remembrance of origins of their revenues. Technology is a wonderful drug, but people will, out of necessity, work around it.

    In a few years, someone will write a book about SERVICE and tell how to make a million simply by serving people with respect and keen desire for resolution. The author will feel brilliant – as though the idea is brand new.

    We do have power…we are the consumer. We have a new job as consumers – to be discerning and speak with our buying power. As you know, Monsanto is a perfect example. There’s even an app to help grocery shoppers know what products are not connected with Monsanto.

    There are alternatives and those of us who are awake and aware will find them. Plus, more and more, we’re using technology to deal with technology.

    I recently wanted to send funds to Japan. I went to the Bank that has international operations – a logical thing to do. The clerk became flummoxed because I was not client. I said, “You don’t want my business?”

    “Oh, I guess I can do this. BUT…” she seemed to need some dire consequence to lay on me as punishment for one of her unticked boxes on the form. “But if this gets lost and doesn’t reach the addressee, you can’t come in here to ask us to put a trace on it.”

    I continued with the purchase of the money order, put it in the mail and it arrived safely in Japan.

    I gave up trying to understand the rationale. Money is money. My lawyer explained, when I was signing the 24th paper over a house deal: there’s been so much international chicanery that financial institutions are now loathe to deal with strangers. Lawyers here now have to include photocopies of their credentials when they witness client signatures. He said, “Banks have been severely stung by a few lawyers so now they are really loading the paperwork on us.”

    “Maybe they could load some service on us while they’re at it,” I said.

    • Hi Amy,

      What jumped out at me were these near prophetic lines that you have used.

      ” I’m reminded that the pendulum will have to swing back – to a remembrance of origins of their revenues. Technology is a wonderful drug, but people will, out of necessity, work around it.”

      We who get close to an incident or situation sometimes loose this kind of overall perspective and so I acknowedge you for reminding me of this.

      Your story of trying to send funds to Japan provides a great learning. What is really that core differentiating element between an organisational culture which lays great importance towards faithfully following the lad down process ( ticking all the box marks as you say) and that which allows flexibility and empowerment to employees so long as they work in alignment to overall goals ( something I experienced with Airline B here and many years back, at Disney World Orlando)? As I have said in my response to another reader’s comment, I believe this has to do with the leadership.

      Thank you Amy for once again bringing in a thoughtful discussion point here. I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  6. It’s always so heart warming when big organisations take the time and trouble to treat their customers as real people instead of just statistics. A big thumbs-up to airline B. Great post, Shakti. 🙂

  7. Pingback: The Other Bottom Line | talktodiana

    • Delighted to know the post has provided some food for thought for you. May I now invite you to consider how you could apply some of the insights gained in your life.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  8. Hi Shakti, Thanks for your visit to my site. I wondered about you and came for a visit. I’m pleasantly surprised to meet such a thoughtful and philosophical person. So many people rush through life and don’t take time to examine it to make it better. Automation has its place in our world. Many dangerous factory jobs are much safer done by automation. However, this trend of having machines call your house to give you messages, and calling and ending up in what I call Voice Mail Hell. It’s like being in Sartre’s vision of hell in No Exit, except instead of being trapped with boring or annoying people for eternity, you are trapped alone, wandering in a digital wilderness, never able to connect. I know hell is a christian-construct, but it’s an understandable theory of afterlife, where all your sins during your life are visited on you. I don’t know that airline executives went with automation out of greed and an indifference to their customers. My guess is that none of them call the automated service themselves and probably did it partly out of ignorance and being out of touch. I do think if enough of us raise our voices and complain about talking to machines, perhaps we can change things. I like your way of explaining the issues, and I’m chiming in with you. Warmly, Brenda

  9. Good reflective post, thanks Shakti. I’m a humanist, so I almost cannot think or act in what I would term a corporate manner. It’s that alien to me. It’s also why I live far from cities and close to nature. I would be overwhelmed into unhappiness were it otherwise.

    That being said, these phone systems can drive anybody mad. I’ve figured it out, though. “Agent” gets me through to many. Hitting the zero once or twice dials up an operator (live voice), in other instances. “Representative” is another spoken word that might get you results. Wading though these mazes of phone answering messages seems such a waste of time when there’s life waiting outside!

    Blessings.

    • Hi Bela,

      Thank you for your kind words about the post.

      I would only say that you are amongst that less than one percent blessed folks on the planet who have the ability and wherewithal to live there lives where they choose to. But what about the remaining 99% who may not be that lucky and thus are increasingly dependent on corporates and the services offered by them ?

      To me therefore, avoiding something and wishing that the discomfort is not there does not assuage the issue.It remains important to confront and then consider what could be the way forward. That is what I have tried to do in my post.

      As always, Bela, I truly appreciate your presence here.

      Shakti

      • Shakti, though I cannot live in cities, it’s unavoidable when traveling to the countryside to have to confront them. And of course you are right, many have no choice in the matter. I have traveled extensively to impoverished places, seeking out the simple lives of those who live on the fringes of society, so don’t mistake mine for an imperialist attitude. Friends have often expressed their concern for my well being at such times, but it is imperative we experience for ourselves those for whom we pray and initiate change.

        And yes, I am thrice blessed to live where I choose. Even a virtual lifetime of struggling through long, bitter cold winters in the woods of Maine without water or plumbing in drafty log cabins for over twenty years does not match the unimaginable suffering of too many others. But it did give me a reality shakedown from the life I was raised to aspire to.
        Many blessings, Shakti.

  10. I wish you had mentioned the names of the two airlines… well, at least the name of the better airline.

    We also have bad experiences with airlines, and thanks , I’m now encouraged to talk about my airline experiences and compare them with their rival airlines. The lost baggages is less problematic compared to what we had experienced with British Airways. Travellers need to know about this..

    • Hi,

      The reason why I did not name the airlines was not to detract from the inherent lessons learnt from the experiences.My objective here is to consider the way forward and that would not be served by smearing some brand.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment here. I do appreciate.

      Shakti

  11. I believe that when an organization becomes a brand, that is when the true test begins. That is when they start losing focus on everything from customer to employee satisfaction.

    • Hi Amit,

      Nice to hear from you.

      Since the corporate goals are to build brands, what is it that organisations need to do on the side so that they may ‘retain focus on customer and employee satisfaction’? Could it just be that they need to hold the consciousness of “Who they are for their customers and employees” and “Who the customers and employees are fro them’? The actions that flow out of such consciousness might just be the gamechanger…..

      Cheers

      Shakti

  12. Airline A’s approach “how we do what we do” is shortsighted. That philosophy fails to recognize that people (customers) have choices … and the next time they choose an airline they will opt for one that values them as an individual. Airline B’s “who we are” is customer friendly and will be the one that people will “talk up” to others as well as the next time they use air travel.

    Several years ago, my husband and I rented a car when we were in Las Vegas. When we returned it, we made sure it had a full tank of gas. But, we were unaware that the terms of our rental required that we provide a receipt – dated – from the gas station. So, the car rental agency charged us a fee for NOT filling the gas tank. Needless to say, we never lose an opportunity to tell people to avoid this particular car rental place. to inquire about the terms of filling up the tank, and we go elsewhere for a car when we’re in Vegas. Again “who we are” should trump “how we do what we do,” but it didn’t.

    Thank you for your thoughtful post.

    • Hello Judy,

      Lovely to hear from you again.

      As you rightly say, organisational focus on ‘how we do what we do’ could be seen as shortsighted at times. But as another reader has commented, it all comes down to the corporate perspective of optimisation and maximising of shareholder returns.To me the question is, “How could organisations align their several intrinsic values of customer delight, employee empowerment and shareholder returns to each other?” I suppose this is what enlightened leadership is all about in today’s world.

      I loved your car rental experience in Las Vegas and your takeaway thereof.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment here. I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  13. Hi Shakti,

    Your contrasting and revealing experiences with a “big airline” versus a “small airline” is fairly typical in the “big vs small” operation of any kind across product, service lines and even across the globe. When a company or a service/operation is small, the owner and employees are very responsive to customer needs and adapt and change quickly to suit the customer needs. When the same company/service/operation gets big, there is mind boggling amount of delegation and red tape that it no longer is nimble and responsive like it used to be. They essentially become dinosaurs so to speak.

    Since the whole world is now tying to get on the bandwagon of unrestricted capitalism and its mantra of “greed is good” for making as much profit as possible at the lowest cost (who could have imagined so-called communist countries like China and Russia, and a devout socialist country like India getting on board this model), every company owner’s dream is to make it big. Like you mention, in a big company, people become just stats and as long as the “80% solution” (i.e., if the satisfaction surveys are above 80%), then everything else becomes an outlier and not worth bothering about.

    I think every person reaches their level of incompetence at some or other and it is true for any system or technology as well. At that point everything starts going downhill unless he or she or it is replaced with a better one.

    Since every company has outsourced their customer service/call operations or automated it, it is quite difficult like you say to talk to a human being and get a resolution for anything these days. Here is a trick that I try, and it works mot of the time. Even if the automated system does not give me an option to connect to an Operator, I ask for it or simply keep hitting the “0” button until I get one. I don’t bother giving out any details to identify myself either because I have found that even after going through a lengthy process to identify myself with name, address, telephone no and everything else, when I finally manage to get hold of a customer rep, they ask for all of it anyway again. Hope you get lucky next time!!

    Cheers,

    Sesh Ramakrishnan

    • Hi Sesh,

      What a delight to see you here after a while. I do trust you are doing fine.

      Thank you for such a detailed analysis and comment.Does customer responsiveness and agility have to do with the organisational size always? As I think of this, I recall an incident of many years back of this wonderful ’employee empowered’ experience I had inside Disney World Orlando. On a small jetty on the lazy river, the girl inside the booth, seeing we were unable to get onto any of the returning boats going past,chose to transport us herself. As you know Disney World is a huge place with thousands of employees and cast. What then was at the core of such customer responsiveness and employee empowerment?

      I believe it all comes down to the Leadership and the external perception of ‘Who they are?’ and ‘What they stand for?’ The leader who propagates and amplifies these aspects with integrity and transparency can succeed in anchoring the organisation to its core values. The right responses and actions then flow from that.

      Thank you for the tip on how to get the operator on the call. I would surely try it the next time I get the chance.

      Thank you also for taking the time to comment here.

      Cheers

      Shakti

      • Hi Shakti,

        I do understand where you are coming from and I certainly agree that even in some big organizations individual employees can and do go the extra mile to provide their customers with some extraordinary service. By the same token there are small companies, and even mom and pop joints, that provide terrible service and yet manage to survive because they don’t have any competition for example. In both instances it may be due to the vision and culture of their leaders/owners or the individual employees and or their circumstances. The reason I included “circumstances” is because even though companies and individuals may have lofty ideals and culture ingrained in their organizations, if they are losing money or going through a rough patch, then everything will go out the window. Disney World is making a ton of money and so they can afford to have greeters and helpers around to make the customer’s experience better. However, if they are losing money, then they would cut the staff and make everyone remaining work long and stressful hours. So a harried employee may not have the time or patience to be nice to a customer in that case. So it all depends on the circumstances and the situation.

        This concept can be applied equally to a country as well. America signed the International treaty to ban torture. And yet we know that is what they did during the Bush administration. So what happened, and why did they do it – didn’t they get the memo? Or was it because they thought that if the enemy does not bother with those niceties that we don’t have to follow them as well? So what happened to who we are as a country, and can it be separated from what we do and how we do it? I think not. Everyone knows that the Saudis have a brutal regime which does not recognize basic human rights for its citizens and yet they bend over backwards when that king or any of the princes come here for a visit – why, because of their oil ofcourse.

        Sesh.

      • Hi Sesh,

        I can see and relate to what you are saying.

        But should the values of an organisation in terms of employee empowerment ans customer delight remain a hostage of its bottom line performance? And if that be so, what does that say of the leadership and its core values?

        In the ultimate analysis I do not think “Who you are” and “how you show up” has anything to do with having sufficient resources of ‘ greeters and helpers’. To me this has to do much more with the organisation’s intrinsic values and how this becomes a part of the culture and ethos.As recounted by me in the post, Airline B hardly had the resources but trusted and empowered the few employees it had on the ground.

        Thank you for bringing up this interesting perspective and discussion here.

        Shakti

  14. Everything that you say is true and important and worthy of thought for certain classes of people. But that is where these wonderful ideas end – yes,sadly they do not pertain to those who are at the very bottom of society. They do not have those choices. Sadly, they are struggling way too hard to: clean that last piece of laundry on the river rock, scrounge through the dumpster in hopes of finding a crust of bread or perhaps looking for a place to hide from the man who is about to arrive home and beat them. Shakti, I realize this response is way off the mark, unlike any others and unlike one that you might expect from me. However, after reading this excellent article and all of the responses – my response is what “popped” into my head.

    • Hi Liz,

      At the outset, thank you for commenting.

      To be frank you have halted me in my tracks. All that you say is true. Yes, folks at the bottom of the pyramid do not have great many choices as they live form day to day, meal to meal. But do you see that they are ‘being’ who they are and their ‘doing’ remains closely aligned? For such folks just do not have the luxury to show up differently and differentiate between these two aspects.I realise that it is only as one goes up the socio-economic ladder that one gains the option to doing things no longer aligned to who we are. So what could be our take-away from this I wonder.

      Thank you for taking the time to bring this aspect up here. I truly appreciate.

      Blessings

      Shakti

      • Shakti … please FORGIVE ME for not replying. I forgot – it’s an age thing, but then you literally just popped into my head and I remembered.

        What could be our take-away I wonder. Kindness. Being motivated by kindness which need not be lost along the corporate way. Kindness always works, writing your corporate plan can easily include kindness without losing sight of making money.

  15. Ah yes….The doing versus being saga continues. Hi Shakti! This hits home for me really close. I spent three quarters of my life living in self disapproval because I wasn’t working and in this world ‘doing’ defines who you are, therefore I must I be a nothing! I lived that way for a mighty long time and life was stressful and not happy within. I was so thankful and grateful to finally discover that doing is not what matters but rather being! Not surprising, we were made to believe DOING was what was important as we were their slaves. Who we choose to be, what we choose to offer the world is what matters. In the end we all just want to be validated for who we are and taking the time to validate another human-BEING is really what makes life worth living. Thanks for your wonderful thoughts as always. Sending you love and blessings….VK

    • Hi VK,

      Great to see you here again my friend!

      I need to acknowledge you for this great self awareness you bring into this space. This is a reflection of ” Who you are” being aligned to your own convictions and values. To do this also needs courage and being in peace with one’s situation.

      As always thank you for commenting, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

      • Thanks Shakti….It is such a joy to be rid of that old way of thinking and to flourish in my new world. All was not in vain. I learned a great deal and as it is often said, it made me what I am today 🙂 I love stopping in here to read your heart. Thank you….Blessings…VK

  16. Very insightful and thought-provoking. As a high school teacher, I know how easy it is to see my students as obstacles, or a hindrance to my lesson plan. I also know that seen from that perspective, my job is sterile and largely pointless – constant testing, anyone? When I connect to my students as fellow human beings, it’s a rewarding experience for both them and me.

    I think the chief motivation behind our tendency to focus on “how we do what we do”, is our obsession with data and quantification. It’s easy to manipulate and package numerical data, like number of calls, number of lost items, etc. It’s nearly impossible to quantify concepts like respect, honor, and fairness. And as long as businesses focus on the short-term, as long as their bottom line is the bottom line for their existence, they will favor the former over the latter.

    • I love this comment of yours.

      I agree it is our obsession with data and quantification. How did this obsession come about? A mindset carrying beliefs fed into us from childhood. Beliefs which put great value in achieving growth in terms of lifestyle, job, bank balance……. all ‘shouting’ to be quantified and then compared with that achieved by the other guy.Thanks to the rise and rise of consumerism, our belief, nay even our inner value system relating to ‘what is success’. stands aligned to ‘ how much we are worth’. Only way to determine this is through data and quantification as you have rightly pointed out.

      So what needs to be done in our life to heighten the importance and awareness of those other intrinsic values of integrity, respect, fairness etc. which you speak of? What could we do to prevent these from being stampeded upon and lost sight of, in the hurry burry of the twenty first century lifestyle?

      I appreciate your presence here.

      Shakti

      • Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to this; I’ve been visiting family and friends.

        Unfortunately, virtues, values, and qualities of character are not as easy to impart or engender as things quantifiable. The best that can be done is to teach by example, and that requires time and patience, neither of which is valued in our “hurry burry” lifestyle. Ironically, it seems that the faster we go, the less idea we have about where we’re going: we’re obsessed with a myriad of maintenance-type tasks that ultimately lead nowhere. A certain quality of life is good and necessary, but as an end-goal, it’s sadly lacking, particularly if it’s attained by stepping on the fingers of one’s fellows.

        I’m convinced that true, lasting change happens at an individual, one-on-one level, and that it is a very slow process. I have little faith in top-down solutions, or charismatic leaders. At the same time, we need leadership. The ironic thing is this: the best leaders are those who have ability, a keen sense of human nature, and a deep belief in service to others. Such people do not naturally gravitate to the free-for-all predation of politics and finance, which is currently the base of control and power.

        I guess this is what I believe: we as individuals should aspire to our highest ideals, keep our minds open, strive to be an example of truth, beauty and goodness to those around us, and actively engage with other people whom life brings our way. We should seek to strengthen that which is good, and refuse to support that which is evil. I personally don’t always live up to my beliefs, but they serve to point me in the right direction, I think. This is why I appreciate your blog; I sense we are working toward many of the same goals.

      • What jumped out at me from your comment was , ” Ironically, it seems that the faster we go, the less idea we have about where we’re going: we’re obsessed with a myriad of maintenance-type tasks that ultimately lead nowhere.” Could this mean that in our “hurry burry” lifestyle, we have started seeing the means as the end? So, what has led to this confusion? Is it due to our obsession with keeping up with the Joneses? Or could it be that we have deadened our minds as a protective measure to our inability to comprehend all that is happening around us?

        You are so right when you say that change, any change is a slow process and needs a “buy-in” rather than being thrust upon.Successful leadership today is more about vision and motivation from within rather than giving directions. It is more about being collaborative , less about “command and control.” So indeed, the best leaders, as you say, are those who are empathetic and service focused.

        Loved your comment so thank you. I appreciate your presence here.

        Shakti

  17. I love this post. Did I say love? Because, I meant LOVE! how we do what we do is never as important as who we are – I couldn’t agree more! And For me, this remained what it was, the Airline’s obsession with its own inner process and priorities, not really about me, the client. – is something I have tried to articulate over and over and over and over again when working with non profit orgs.

    • Hi Diana,

      Wow! That’s great concept. I had not considered it this way and I need to acknowledge you for bringing in the aspect of LOVE. Yes, we need to love ‘Who we are’ and bring that centre-stage. It is this love that would fuel our passion and align us with what we do. I believe it is this shift which would once again empower each one of us and the organisations we represent to display those forgotten aspects of care and empathy which the world sorely misses.

      Thank you for taking the time here.

      Shakti

  18. Very interesting subject Shakti, And how frustrating too to get those phones with auto messages on… It shows us that our choices in treating people as people and not objects helps us quickly connect and solve problems.. Within my own post of Pressing the Reset Button where I said that we should set our thoughts to ” What can I contribute” instead of ” What can I get out of it “… If we all just made those few correction in our ways of being and helping one another with respect, our world would indeed be a better place and more harmonious..
    Wishing you a good weekend.
    Sue

    • Dear Sue,

      That’s a lovely perspective. What you say reminds me of that famous John F. Kennedy quote, ” Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” What do you think is needed for this shift to occur in the society? How could we contribute to make this happen?

      I would now scoot down to read your “Pressing the Reset button” post, thank you for pointing me to it.

      Hope you are enjoying a great Sunday. I appreciate you.

      Shakti

      • Thank you Shakti, I had a most enjoyable day, as we headed for our coastline to absorb some sea air… I came home tired, but so refreshed!…

        What do I think is needed? it only takes small things in our lives to be altered..Instead of being aloof and within our own bubbles of self, We need only to shift our perspectives a little, And become less judgemental and more understanding of one another… We especially in our modern day lives within our very streets have become strangers to one another.
        Taking time out to see how a neighbour is doing, especially an elderly one..
        Only today my hubby took some Runner Beans, veggies we had loads of which we could not possibly eat this week, and we have already frozen plenty for storage… He took a bag full to a neighbour down the street who is finding it hard to get around.. He was thanked profusely..
        Sharing Kindness, with word or a smile, and perhaps for those wishing to go one step further in deed.
        Thus we create a caring community… Where we all feel part,
        Once that feeling spreads out, from family, to neighbour to your community… Society then begins to heal as it helps heal itself and others…
        One pebble, a small one ripples outward..
        The Shift may already be happening, One step at a time… All it takes is a little thought as to how we ourselves would wish to be treated, and do to others likewise…
        Not rocket science…
        The problem today I feel is that we have cut ourselves off to stay within our own bubbles, creating boundaries, building fences, not only wooden ones, but we fence our thoughts in.. Thinking we are Right, others are Wrong.. When there are no right or wrong ways.. Just experience… Choosing what we wish to experience comes down to our thinking..
        While ever we live within the Fear of thinking we own… and others are going to Take what we Own.. then there will always be conflict..

        I know all I possess is only on loan…. I came to this earth with nothing,
        I will leave with nothing…
        What I gain in the mean time may to some seem precious.. as they gather gold, and possessions around them..

        What is more important to me..
        Is gathering what no amount of Gold could ever give me.. And they are the memories, the love, and the knowledge that what I contain within my heart is all I take..
        And I intend it to be filled to overflowing with Love and smiles, not hatred and bitterness..
        As I feel so sorry for those who do not see what they give out is returned to them…

        Always you make my thoughts spin as I type, and I thank you Shakti for allowing me to air my thoughts here with this comment..
        Blessings to you and Yours.
        Sue 😀

      • Dear Sue,

        Thank you. You have so beautifully articulated both the aspects. What ails the world as also what we could do about it? Your comment is a complete post in itself and I would like to acknowledge you for taking the time to write it here. May I also add that such clarity of thought can only come when one is passionate about issues which impact one’s thoughts and values.

        So, what is it that we could do? As we have correctly put it, we start with working on ourselves. We become selfish in the art of giving.

        As always I truly appreciate your presence.

        Blessings

        Shakti

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