Sea ViewsFrom President and COO, Adam Goldstein

Sea Views Blog with Adam Goldstein

How to Connect with a Colleague When You Have Conflicting Interests

We are not all the same.  Not in life and not in business.  As a consequence, maintaining a healthy perspective on differences among people is a critical success factor in a business career.

Some years ago I was struggling to keep a balanced perspective on one of my colleagues.  He ignored or at least appeared to be disinterested in fundamental elements of our daily world at Royal Caribbean.  I’m not talking about esoteric stuff.  I mean he did not care about what departments we had, who was responsible for them, how information flowed within the company or which of us might influence his success. He simply pursued his interests as independently of the rest of us as humanly possible.  I searched for a construct to help me and others understand how to make the relationship with this colleague work.

So I came up with the metaphor of the bee and the tree.  RCL is a fairly large organization overseeing a complex business model that requires mastery of hospitality and maritime, two sectors of the economy that do not normally go together.  We constantly develop products and services and launch them successfully into the market for our customers or internally for our employees.  Yet we are perpetually frustrated that we cannot act faster.  Our people, especially those who remember the days when we were much smaller and depended less on corporate process, feel we are bureaucratic.  From their perspective, at least, we are a tree. After 45 years we are firmly planted.  There is nothing wrong with this.  But it is a particular paradigm.

Our entrepreneurial colleague a/k/a the bee had primarily an external facing responsibility, working on transactions and organizing projects on a fast moving basis.  From the bee’s point of view the tree could not keep up with his efforts.  He and his small team were nimble in a way the tree could never be.  On the other hand, many of his efforts did not come to fruition.  To him, that was natural, his role was to pollinate flowers and see what he could make bloom.  Rapid twists and turns were the norm.  To those of us in the tree, he was flitting about haphazardly, maybe even randomly.  It didn’t seem likely that he was going to build anything of substance. The paradigms of the bee and of the tree did not overlap. This caused misunderstandings and occasional ill will.  But I found that explaining the predicament in these terms provided a frame of reference that helped my colleagues to co-exist.

The above example happens to be about a person and a company.  But that is not the essential point.  For example, the U.S. government and the business community struggle to understand each other’s paradigms.  To the latter it is self-evident that job creation is the product of business activity.  The saying “America’s Business is Business” underscored this nearly a century ago.  To business leadership, it’s almost bizarre that our government does not necessarily see it that way.  This is a profound challenge to the two sides that undermines needed engagement to spur economic recovery.

Paradigm conflict of this significance is obvious as it relates to Democrats and Republicans, any number of countries, religions, ethnicities, clans, etc.  Coming back to business, one of my responsibilities as a leader of Royal Caribbean is to recognize as quickly as possible when we encounter an alien paradigm.  If it is the paradigm of an adversary  or at least an entity or person with opposing interests, my goal isn’t to adopt the alternative paradigm but rather to explore it with the intent of gleaning opportunities to connect with it in ways that would be beneficial for our company.

It’s easier to say “put yourself in their shoes” than it is to actually do so.  A lot of times you will have no desire whatsoever to be in the others’ shoes.  But you may walk better in your own shoes if you take the time and put in the effort to why “they” are wearing the shoes they have on.  At least that’s how it looks from high in the tree.

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn.

6 responses to:
“How to Connect with a Colleague When You Have Conflicting Interests”

  1. binh lam

    Dear Mr. Goldstein,

    My name is Binh Lam. My family only cruise with Royal only. We love crusing with Royal and was very satisfied. However,
    my most recent call to the Royal representative was very disappointed. I notice that there was a price decrease on my reservations. All I ask for was either a room upgrade or price difference refunded to me. I have to reservation on file with Royal 7184894 and 7187133.
    I booked my cruise half year ahead of time. My reservation 7184894 for 4 people in a room was purchased for $4168 and now its only $2332. That is a big price difference ($1836) and it mean alot for my family to either be treated to a suite or an upgrade for the overpriced cruise that we had paid for. The representative was not willing to work with us for our request. I am very sad and upset with Royal for such unsincere gesture. My other reservation is 7187133 which i paid $2694 and now its $1394. The price different is $1300.
    So in all we are looking at a total of $3136, now that is alot of money that i am overpaying. Please help our family get a fair deal on our upcoming trip. My family and I would greatly appreciate it if you would help us in this matters.

    thank you

    Binh

    • Royal Caribbean International

      Hi Binh – Please visit the following link to learn about our Best Price Guarantee: http://bit.ly/PJanYr. Thank you.

  2. Lisa Langrell

    Adam,

    Well said. It’s all true in my humble opinion. I view things almost three dimensionally at work-its just how I am wired. I look at things from every angle, from the “roots” to the mission or keeping with the conversation the “apples the tree produces”. I engage people from the roots or backbone on up such as the folks that work on our plumbing, HVAC (heat, vent and AC), electrical, project managers, engineers, admin, procurement, contracting, and the folks that do the producing that the public mostly engages with. For me, spending the time in each of these fields to see how it all flows, program effectiveness, chain of custody, looking at how various departments work together or not, and a host of other things-its all important and everything each person brings is important to the mission of the organization. What I found is that one side cared about final destination and the other side was concerned when the car had its last oil change and spark plugs changed before heading out. I found many alien paradigms when I first started. Lots of hurt feelings or feelings of insignificance. A disdain had developed amongst the bees as you accurately name them-there was no communication occurring, no acknowledgement that these tiny little bees were equally important and significant to the success . I was unofficially the bridge creator and really by accident but because of the way I am wired, I was able to see these alien paradigms. I observed, asked questions and wanted their opinions (key I think) about how they thought a process could be better. Building relationships or putting yourself in someone else’s shoes certainly is a benefit. The two were not that far apart but a shift had to occur from both sides. Eventually we got there and we are now a well oiled machine. A shift in a level of respect had occurred that took nothing more than a thanks from the top to the bottom-that little effort opened up the ability to make changes and close gaps for the overall mission.

  3. Gabriel Fok

    Hi President,

    i had travel with Royal Caribbean last November and experience great time on the ship. Everything is fine like the show, the food, all the entertainment.

    However, i bought the full package of digital photo around $300 USD, and the make up keep input the wrong date. Our cruise day was Nov 17 – 24 on Allure. But half of the photos i bought show Nov 10 – 16!! That really annoying me and a bad mood for myself to recall this wonderful memory.

    i had called to customer service try to ask them to fix it for me, but they did not reply very well and this problem could not be solved. That is the first cruise in my family. That is why i am so concerning all details, perhaps, that is why this is being ignored.

    thanks for the great experience on the ship anyway.

    Gabriel Fok

    • Royal Caribbean International

      Hi Gabriel – We’re sorry to hear this. Image Photo Services operates the photo department onboard all Royal Caribbean ships. Please give them a call at (800) 772-3470 or (305) 476-3666, or e-mail at customerservice@imageservices.com.

  4. Joy

    Just found out the Dreamworks Breakfast is no longer complimentary with our fare. Now, there is a charge! Very disappointed. This is our first experience with Royal Caribbean and so far, it is not what we expected. We read reviews and how others raved about the Dreamworks breakfast for the kids that we opted to book so we can experience it. But to our dismay, RCCL is starting to charge a fee for it. I understand the demand, but as with your entertainment shows, the reservation system should be sufficient. Contemplating if we should just cancel our booking and try the Nickelodeon experience on NCL. Thank you for your time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Close

Connect With us

Tab indicator
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
Playtime with Shrek? Only on Royal. See how we're reinventing family time on #QuantumoftheSeas http://t.co/7tCcOVYWmd http://t.co/wbWMTZquzc
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
We're on the move! Learn more about #QuantumOfTheSeas' river conveyance: http://t.co/aFqoGL5SrC
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@VisitSaintJohn Thank you!
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@MissKellycook And we can't wait to see you back onboard next year. Where will you be sailing to?
Royal Caribbean's avatar
Royal Caribbean@RoyalCaribbean
@LIPSapp We're glad to see that you have an amazing time. What do you enjoy the most onboard with us?
Even more ways to play. From bumper cars and a flying trapeze to Xbox tournaments and special +DreamWorks Animation programming, Quantum of the Seas is reinventing family time. http://bit.ly/1C5CMKV
Sit back and enjoy the ride. How are you relaxing this Labor Day?
Kick off the long weekend with warm tropical breezes.

#royalwow photo thanks to chelsea9wilson.
Join CEO Richard Fain and David Pogue now as they reveal how technology on Quantum of the Seas is innovating the vacation experience: http://bit.ly/QuantumOTS
Last week, Quantum of the Seas docked out for the first time, and tomorrow we're revealing exciting details about our newest ship. Watch live at 10am EDT: http://bit.ly/1tuwsK0 http://youtu.be/_6bo3sT_y0U
Need a weekend escape? http://bit.ly/1pbiFXj

Photo thanks to s_marie92.
Dream vacations are our specialty. Book by 8/20 and get up to $200 onboard credit PLUS 50% reduced deposit during our WOW Sale: http://bit.ly/1kJN8LY
Spend more days wearing flippers. http://bit.ly/1nXc1ie

JavaScript and Flash are required to view video content. View the playlist on YouTube.

  • Don't you just want Don't you just want to jump in? 1 hour + 47 minutes ago
  • Time for a beach day Time for a beach day. 1 hour + 47 minutes ago
  • Paradise found in Co Paradise found in CocoCay. 1 hour + 48 minutes ago
  • Keep calm and go to Keep calm and go to the beach. 1 day + 20 minutes ago
  • Let's go. Let's go. 1 day + 20 minutes ago
  • Live. Live. 1 day + 20 minutes ago
  • Time for an adventur Time for an adventure. 1 day + 20 minutes ago
  • Planes landing over Planes landing over Maho Beach, St. Martin. 2 days + 20 minutes ago
  • Beach day at Labadee Beach day at Labadee. 2 days + 20 minutes ago
  • It doesn't get much It doesn't get much better than this. #labadee 2 days + 20 minutes ago
  • Best part of Dragon's Tail Coaster? The views. #royalwow thanks to @marcellav
  • Twice the fun. #alaska
  • What more could you ask for? #stmaarten
  • Spotted at the #PapenburgFestival: Quantum of the Seas.
  • We're excited to welcome Ovation of the Seas as the third ship in the Quantum family.
  • We live to explore. #greece
  • Ready for a day in #Santorini?
  • Dream today, go tomorrow. #caribbean
  • No worries for miles. #allure
  • Waiting for you. #cococay
Out of Office: Never Leave Home Without a Sense of Humor

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 11:32 AM

By Adam Goldstein, President &amp; COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD One of the likely casualties of the rise of online communications is the travel disaster fueled by misinformation or no... Continue Here to Read More…

It’s Not Rocket Science – Keep Your Head in the Game

Thursday, July 31, 2014 9:20 AM

By Adam Goldstein, President &amp; COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD This is intended as the first in a series of relatively easy to accomplish tasks that remarkably few aspiring managers actually... Continue Here to Read More…

Why the Royal Caribbean Brand Continues to Evolve

Monday, July 28, 2014 10:02 AM

By Vicki Freed, SVP of Sales and Trade Support and Service, Royal Caribbean International I asked some of the Royal Caribbean International senior leadership to write a guest blog about the state of... Continue Here to Read More…

My New Responsibilities

Thursday, July 24, 2014 10:37 AM

By Adam Goldstein, President &amp; COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. When I took on my new responsibilities a few months ago, I thought it would be very interesting to become a provider of shared... Continue Here to Read More…

Royal Caribbean at the Food & Wine Classic

Monday, July 21, 2014 11:52 AM

By Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International I recently returned from Aspen, Colorado where Royal Caribbean International was the official cruise... Continue Here to Read More…

Have You Cruised on 30 Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 10:07 AM

By Adam Goldstein, President &amp; COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Less than four months to Quantum of the Seas! As one of my law professors like to say, the “relentless march of the... Continue Here to Read More…

Royal Caribbean Expands Cruise Vacation Offerings in Asia

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 8:30 AM

By Adam Goldstein, President &amp; COO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. My latest travels brought me back to Asia the week of June 16 – 20.  As always, the pace and energy of the region are... Continue Here to Read More…

Personal Plans for the Second Half of 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:51 AM

Blog by Adam A quick update on my other doings as the “empty nest” approaches even faster than the delivery of Quantum of the Seas. Our family continues our involvement with many aspects of... Continue Here to Read More…

How Entertainment on Quantum & Anthem Will Transcend Anything You've Seen on Land or Sea

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 4:22 PM

Blog by Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Executive Vice President, Operations, Royal Caribbean International Hello, everyone.  Last week I had the pleasure of being in Las Vegas where we announced the amazing... Continue Here to Read More…

Catching the Travel Bug: My Explorations through SEED

Friday, June 20, 2014 11:18 AM

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s community support efforts often focus on education and social services for underserved youth. Over the years I have written from time to time about my long term... Continue Here to Read More…