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Posts Tagged ‘management talent’

Days are passing by and the end of the year is around the corner. For a lot of companies and a lot of managers, these three last months of the year are so critical. It is time to revise plans, goals, budgets, and not to forget, performance appraisals are just around the corner.

In such heated situations, there are two types of leaders that you may encounter, or might be yourself:[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=clowns&iid=76347″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/76347/clown-business-suit-with/clown-business-suit-with.jpg?size=500&imageId=76347″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]

  • True Leaders: Those who already have well crafted planes and smart objectives earlier that year. A lot of their goals have been accomplished or about to be completed. However, they might face some missed targets and deadlines here or there. In such situations, they calmly and logically sit to restudy the situation, and ask themselves and their team members a lot of why’s and how’s. They turn obstacles into opportunities and failures into lessons learned.
  • Clowns: Those who built their plans on vague inputs, poor data, and sometimes pure dreams!! Most of their goals are missed, if not all. But nothing will stop them from raising their voices and pointing their fingers on everybody around them, even their own team members. Whenever around one of those, you will start witnessing a lot of fightings during meetings, a lot of heated emails, and a lot of passing the ball theory practices!

Look around you and check; which type of managers are you pumping into more often?

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Have you met many people who say that their work environment is no other than Utopia … the heaven on earth? I know I haven’t!!

For a lot of employees out there, such work environment can only be a dream. But our fellow blogger and my guest for this post begs to differ; she is living the dream, she is working in Utopia.

Maha Noor Elahi, of “A Saudi Woman’s Voice” blog, is sharing her professional story with us, her story about Dar Al Hekma College at Jeddah. In Maha’s post we could see how great leadership can create a distinctive working environment, how a great leader can contains her subordinates, motivates them, and makes them feel like they belong.

This is another example of a Saudi managerial talent … a Saudi managerial success.

Again, thank you Maha for accepting my invitation to share this magnificent post with us … honored to have you here …

Enjoy the post everybody …

Saad

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College of Love

When I first came to Dar Al-Hekma College, I thought it was a utopia. Yes… a utopia on Earth and in Saudi Arabia! Well, after a few months of being immersed into career boom-bam daily realities, I discovered that the college was not a utopia at all. Surprisingly, I found out it was something much better than an ancient Platonic dream. I realized that Dar Al-Hekma is a workplace where professionals lead, think, care, and love. It was a completely new realm for me; a novel definition of the word “professional”, especially in a country like Saudi Arabia. It was a new vision that led me to understand that seeking professional excellence is a humane act rather than a mere mechanic inflexible policy.

At Dar al-Hekma, I’ve seen a genuine representative of the Islamic leadership spirit; a spirit that implements hard work and dedication as acts of worshipping Allah. The exquisite incomparable personality of Dr. Suhair, Dean of the college, has made me love work ten times more than I used to a year ago.

Now, some might be thinking, “What a hypocrite! She is definitely asking for a promotion in an unethical way!” Well, I am sorry for those who don’t appreciate this spontaneous emotional revelation of mine. Dr. Suhair is a rare woman who has an extreme incredible blend of contradictions in her personality. Not just that she is witty, brilliant, and humorous, she is also a person who can read faces and understand different minds in a way that enables her to conduct high-profile meetings with a kind smile on her face and a wise crucial decision in her documents. “Phenomenal” is the precise word that describes the leader of Dar Al-Hekma. Unlike most Saudi authority figures, Dr. Suhair attends the college as early as any one of us, employees, and wanders around to observe and guide while she makes friendly visits and ordinary chit-chats. She is the only Saudi leader whom I’ve known who can make her employees laugh, think critically, and feel spiritual at the same time! She is the only dean I’ve seen that students and employees don’t run away or worry when they see her roaming in the corridors of the college! If Dar Al-Hekma College happens to be something, it is because of the positive energy that Dr. Suhair is spreading among us….it is because our Dean leads and loves each one of us.

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No unbiased observer would be able to dismiss the fact that Dubai has been able to create many wonders. And by wonders I do not mean its remarkable skyscrapers, huge malls, and its trademark palm islands; however part of its overall image, what I mean by wonders lays in its revolutionized business models that granted the small city in the aggressive desert a global position.

 Examples of such innovative in times and well adapted business models in other times can be found in its numerous world-class free zones (e.g. knowledge city, Media and Internet city, etc …), in its laws flexibility that permit a 100% foreign ownership, in its extremely flexible taxes policies (e.g. no import or re-export taxes and no corporate taxes for the first 15-50 years of operation,) and in its legendary logistics services in air and sea ports. These are only examples of the real competitive advantages that Dubai has been able to create in the past 10-20 years.

However, it seems that its unprecedented success has blurred the vision of its officials and led them to think that they are the modern alchemists who can turn anything into gold.

The debt crisis Dubai is going through these days is nothing but another episode of the series of greed and uncalculated risk that led the whole world to the economical crisis at the first place. Corporate investors, banks, and even individuals believed beyond doubt in the current financial systems and in their dreams of ‘building bigger’ and ‘having more.’ And suddenly, the dreams just turned into nightmares.

 One of the most basic studies that should be carried out before providing long term financing is studying the capacity of the company requesting the debt; How much does it owe other financial institutions, how many projects is it already engaged in and how is it planning to pay back its debts. It seems that nobody asked these questions or discussed them with Dubai World. Dubai World kept inflating its bubble and international banks provided the required tools till they reach the moment when the bubble is just about to explode. It is the moment of truth for both; for Dubai World that kept taking a debt after another to finance projects with no real added values, and for the banks that kept providing with proper risk calculations.

Before concluding this post I just want to comment on how Dubai officials are dealing with this crisis. I believe in such situations, the leadership behavior carries a great weight on stabilizing the matter at hands or adding more fuel to the already burning situation. I am afraid that Dubai officials are from the latter category. They keep coming out and trying to act as there is nothing serious going on. Not only that, but they talk with unmistakable tone of arrogance and aggressive words towards others whom they like to call: people who are envious of Dubai!!

I am not sure such level of communication is suitable to address a global fear caused by your own behavior. When the economical meltdown started about a year ago, I remember one of Dubai World big officials when asked about the possibility of Dubai sinking down because of the events; he stated that: ‘our company will never fail because we are MEN!!!!!!!!’ This is a direct quote, and believe me I do not know what is the relation between being a man and bypassing such an economical situation.

Of course I am not suggesting panicking on TV and press releases, but I am supporting being logic, consistent, clear, and courageous enough to face the situation and addressing it in the proper manners especially that your are working under a global spot light and not only talking to some poor investor who owns 5 stocks in your company and does not really know what a stock is!!!

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One of the most important issues that accompanied the current financial crisis was the debate over the excessive pays top executives were receiving despite the fact that their organizations were failing, and failing big time!  President Obama was the one who disturbed those Wall Street giants by starting to shed the light on their unbelievable compensations when compared to their lousy performance; he even described the situation as being ‘shameful’ in one of his speeches. Now, although Saudi Arabia has been going through this crisis with a lot of dignity because of its conservative financial policies, still we are part of the world and we have been hit by the recession in a way or another. However, the issue of executives’ salaries has not made it to the public attention, given that it should’ve made it a long time before, in the time of the repeated stock market failures.

It should be noted here that the debate about executives’ salaries and compensations is not new. It has been around in the management literature for a while now. Most of the recent articles on the subject tend to argue that executives should be compensated for their performance in reaching their organizations’ long term strategies. On the other hand, there are those who argue that these pays are justified in a sense that they are paid to attract management talents and provide the required incentives for them to perform. Furthermore, there are always some ethical issues surrounding any such argument especially towards shareholder in general and, nonetheless, toward the organization own employees. It could be expected and, somehow, accepted to reward outperforming leaders; those who are revolutionary in their visions and contributing a great deal of their time and efforts to maximize their shareholder value. But how can a one justify the skyrocketing benefits to underperforming, typical, visionary-less kinds of managers (I did not say leaders) who happen to be on the top of big companies, and yes, they exists! My favorite management thinker, Peter Drucker, is arguing that everybody in an organization play his/her own part in deciding the whole organization destiny. So Drucker stated, while talking about US big shots, that ‘executive salaries at the top were clearly out of line with the responsibilities of those holding these positions.’ Moreover, he recommended that the executives’ salaries should not be more than 20 times the average employee salary.

Now let’s get back to the Saudi business world. It’s a fact that some companies are paying their big guys some big chunks of money. But we have to be honest; on average, they do not resemble their counterparts in USA. The Saudi corporate governance regulations for the publicly listed companies rule that companies have to show the total salaries and compensations paid for the top five executives (CEO and CFO should be included if they are not among the big five (yeah … right!)). However, these regulations are not mandatory yet, but some companies already started to adhere to them. So I did some research and calculations and found some interesting results. Some successful companies (successful=making a reasonable profits and paying rewarding dividends) are not doing bad at all, the average of executives paying is about 30 times the average salary in their organizations. While some average performing companies, and sometimes underperforming ones, are paying up to 150-200 times the average salaries! And please note that this is a quick-not-so-scientifically-accurate prediction.

At the end, with the repeated stock market failures, recession, and bad performance; companies’ leaders should be held accountable as they are responsible for their companies’ performance. After all, they are playing a big role in our economy, and their decisions, sometimes, have a direct impact on our lives. As it is encouraged to reward distinctive talents, poor managers should not be rewarded for wasting their shareholders value.

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