Customer orientation and flexibility. Those two are values, which oh so many companies state as their core values. Some might even say that the customer is always right.
It is true that on intercontinental flights, for example, the cabin staff tries to make the life of a customer comfortable. We get a blanket for napping and movies to kill time with drinks to accompany. And there is food, be the customer a vegan or a barbarian. Customer oriented, I say.
But what if, during the flight, a customer concludes that he knows best how to reach Los Angeles. What if he demands that the pilot changes the plane’s flight altitude and heading? Or if the flight plan should be changed to make a quick stop at New York?
The pilot will not even consider fulfilling those wishes. The pilot just follows her experience, some intuition, and the flight plan. Occasionally she receives instructions from other professionals in flight control.
The pilot is the expert of this story, the guru who’s in charge. And this is where the true values of a business or a professional get revealed.
Suddenly we don’t need flexibility or customer orientation. As long as the passengers reach their destination safely and on time. That, if anything, is the role of an expert.