Summer here in the Northern Hemisphere means vacation travel for many of us. Heather and I just returned from a very enjoyable two week road trip through New York State, New England, and Pennsylvania. With record breaking heat and humidity during the “dog days” of July, we often put up the roof in our little two-seater convertible and cranked up the air conditioning.


August, from the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry showing a group of travelers

Of course, like much of life, weather is all about perspective. When we returned we had dinner with a Client living and working in Doha, Qatar and back to Canada for a few weeks visiting relatives. As with my recent trip to Karachi, summer temperatures in that part of the world often reach 45 – 50 C (113 – 122 F) with very high humidity. They laughed at the complaints they were hearing from Canadians about our “record breaking temperatures” of 38 C (100F) with some humidity.


Next week we’re publishing the August issue of The Leader Letter putting all of my July blog posts in one newsletter. As you’ll know from reading my last few weeks of blog posts, most of the August issue focuses on The Three Rings of Perceived Value. During our road trip we experienced a wide range of service/quality levels at inns and hotels, restaurants, ferries, tourist/info centers, and retailers. Our trip showed — once again — just how tough it is to provide high service/quality levels across all three rings. When it happens, it’s a rare and memorable event. Sometimes two of the three rings are fairly strong, but the one weak ring quickly deflates the experience. A Japanese restaurant in Ithaca, NY for example, had excellent food (First Ring) and a very personable and attentive server (Third Ring), but their ordering and delivery system led to such serious errors and delays (Second Ring) we left with a negative overall experience.


When we returned, our July mobile phone bill came in with errors on the roaming plan we’d arranged for our travels. When I tried calling the phone company I was cut off numerous times. The recorded message apologized for their major technical problems and told us they were working on fixing them. So here’s the phone company having big problems with its phone system! Another frustrating example of First and Second Ring breakdowns leading to poor perceptions of value despite Third Ring service delivered by caring customer service representatives.


Blackberry-maker Research in Motion (RIM) and Apple are both at critical leadership and culture development crossroads in their travels toward sustained performance. Can they make the critical shift from building a business to building an executive team that builds the business? The first item in next week’s issue looks at this hot topic vital to so many organizations and the heat on RIM this summer.


If you missed some of my July blogs or want to review the four part series, plus thought provoking quotations on The Three Rings of Perceived Value, find a shady spot and plan your next cool leadership moves!