(Aside: What Hiring Managers can Learn from a 7-Foot Nigerian…)

Building on my previous post, the fact is that our industry needs a wave of innovative, spirited young talent. There will always be people passionate about the airline industry, and the doors to the world that working here gives us. Unfortunately, our industry’s leaders–and not necessarily top leaders, but perhaps more middle management–often fail to understand that taking a young person with the brains, charisma and determination, while it may mean a few extra lunch sessions explaining vocabulary today, would reap massive rewards in the long run.

Hakeem (just “Akeem” at that time) Olajuwon, one of the greatest players ever to play basketball, was not recruited by anyone when the University of Houston invited him to visit from his native Nigeria. The coach at the time, Guy Lewis, heard that Olajuwon was as top-notch soccer goalkeeper, and figured you can’t teach height (7-feet) and agility. So rather than hold his last scholarship for the 6-foot-7 kid with a pretty solid game, he took a chance on Olajuwon, coached him up, and went to three consecutive Final Fours as a result. Oh, and “The Dream” became the first overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, and later an NBA Champion, Olympic gold medalist, and basketball hall-of-famer.

Is it possible that the manager who worked for Braniff, PanAm, Delta and now wants to join Emirates may be that 6-foot-7 contributor, and the eager beaver you’re passing up could be the next Dream? If the answer to that question is not the one you want to hear, or it threatens you in some way, or if that 6-foot-7 contributor is what you’re reallylooking for because you want to be the only one who shines, then you should probably ask yourself what you’re doing in the position you’re in anyway.


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Customer Engagement Strategy for the Airline Industry