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Archive for the ‘General Management’ Category

Global Corruption Barometer 2013; It is Still A Long Way Ahead

12 Jul
via scottchan/freedigitalphotos.net

via scottchan/freedigitalphotos.net

Corruption is everywhere; that’s the result of the Global Corruption Barometer 2013 report published by the society of Transparency International. 114,000 respondents from 107 countries took part in this large survey to measure how corruption affects people lives around the world.

The results are truly repulsive; you would think the world would be doing much better in the days of globalization and social networks based communication, it does not. More than one out of four respondents have paid a bribe during last year; it is either you pay, or you will be prevented from getting the service you are entitled to.

Here are some of the key findings of the report:

  • Surprisingly, institutions entrusted to protect people are scoring high in bribery levels. 31% of respondents reported paying a bribe to police, 24% to judicial system.
  • Majority of people do not believe that governments are doing enough to fight corruptions.
  • Almost two out of three believe that personal connections could help you get things done when they shouldn’t (yes, you’ve guessed it right, it is Wasta).
  • 54% believe that governments are administrated in a way that favors certain powerful groups rather than all citizens.

It comes as no surprise that the Arab world is performing badly in the survey, that despite the claims that the unrest currently sweeping the region can be traced back to fighting corrupted governments and abusive use of power. All the countries affected by the so called ‘Arab Spring’ are scoring higher levels of corruption compared to two years ago, around the time most of the events started to unfold.

Let’s take examples:

-          Egypt

  • 37% believe that corruption has increased in the past two years.
  • 28% believe that the country is administrated in favor of big influencers.
  • Only 5% believe that the government is doing what it takes to fight corruption.
  • 72% believe that political parties are corrupt/extremely corrupt.
  • 80% consider the media to be corrupt/extremely corrupt.
  • 65% believe that the judicial system is corrupt/extremely corrupt.
  • 38% have paid a bribe to police.
  • 21% have paid a bribe to medical service.

-          Tunisia

  • 61% believe that corruption has increased in the past two years.
  • 20% believe that the country is administrated in favor of big influencers.
  • Only 11% believe that the government is doing what it takes to fight corruption.
  • 66% believe that political parties are corrupt/extremely corrupt.
  • 53% consider the media to be corrupt/extremely corrupt.
  • 56% believe that the judicial system is corrupt/extremely corrupt.
  • 43% have paid a bribe to police.
  • 38% have paid a bribe to medical service.

 

Saudi Arabia takes no part in the report; either data could not be collected, or could not be verified.

 

It is All About the Attitude

25 Mar

In management, like in any other walk of life, the ideal case rarely, or hardly, matches the reality. To reach the exemplary state, although impossible most of the times, there are always gaps to be filled, challenges to be dealt with, and problems to be solved.

The attitude we choose to face these challenges with is the factor of determining success or failure.

Western management mostly choose to pursue the ideal state, to try the theory, to challenge it, move it around and play with it in an attempt to reach success. That’s why they show a lot of respect to management as a science. That’s why management there is vibrant, alive, and changing!

Saudi managerial style, on the other side, mostly choose to ignore ideals, they are comforted by the idea that  ideals are hard to reach, and it is waste of time and energy even to try. That’s why most Saudi managers believe that the science of management belongs to books; it is not applicable in real life!

Do you know now why most of our organizations suffer from a chaotic business culture? It is all about the attitude.

 

This is what we want from the New Airlines

05 Jan
via freedigitalphotos.net/Kittikun Atsawintarangkul

via freedigitalphotos.net/Kittikun Atsawintarangkul

It is good to have two more aviation companies in the market, not particularly because they are Qatar Airways and Gulf Air, a Lalaland Airways would be sufficient; it is just because we have choices beside Saudi Airlines.

And let me be clear here, we do not hate Saudia, OK may be some of us do, the company insisted on putting us all down the dumps for so long. It has always acted as an arrogant patient who refuses his doctors’ advises without any apparent justifications. Saudia is, unfortunately, a classical example of a good company gone bad, very bad.

Despite all this, it is not the time to be jumping for joy yet. The licenses have just been awarded and the image is yet far from clear. At the moment, there are tremendous differences between the licensed companies. Saudia, as we said, is bad, very bad. NAS, a low cost carrier, nothing special, it has not been able to build a group of loyalists. Gulf Air, honestly, it was a surprise seeing this company wining the license, shadows of bankruptcy have always been hovering over its head! Qatar Airways, the five stars airlines of 2011 & 2012, I wonder if they will keep the same level of service in the local market, between me and you, I doubt it!

How are these companies going to compete? Will the government keep supporting Saudia especially in fuel prices? There are a lot of questions, yet few answers.

Anyhow, let’s be positive, these are the things I am expecting from the new airlines:

-          Smile: Your staff, ground and air crews, should understand this: smiling does not make you a bad person. Yeah, it is obvious I know, but let me tell you, we have had enough of frowny faces. You cannot compete with the current operators in frowning even if you want to, they have gone pro!

-          Serve us like you mean it: Flash news, you do not do us any favor by allowing us to board a plane and fly, we did pay for the trip from our own pockets you know. So ask your ground staff to be helpful and friendly, your air crew to stop doing faces whenever someone asks for a cup of water.

-          Be on time: I know that this may sounds surprising and all, but there are Saudis who actually care about their time. If the take off is at 9:00, you better not start boarding at 8:55??

-          Say no to ‘wasta’: No, I do not need to know anyone working in your company to book a seat for me nor to confirm my flight.  I need no one sending me to a supervisor shouting in a walkie-talkie and have no time to address my problem. I have booked a ticket, chosen my seat online, I better find the reservation and find the seat. And no, I will not change my window-seat because some woman happens to be sitting next to me, last time I checked, I do not bite!

 

The Trains of Holy Lands

27 Oct

via satelnews.com

To put it in the fewest words possible, something wrong happened to the trains of the holy lands in Makkah. No confirmed news yet about what actually happened and what was the cause of the problem. As usual, the truth is wavering between TV screens and official comments that are all revolving around the word ‘successful’ (check this one out, in Arabic) and those talking about a disastrous organization and control (check out these couple of tweets)

https://twitter.com/_Aara/status/261820579378769921

https://twitter.com/_Aara/status/261820724761735169

https://twitter.com/_Aara/status/261820735163600896

https://twitter.com/_Aara/status/261821076311531520

https://twitter.com/Asem/status/261848798131793920

https://twitter.com/Fology/status/261889336818155520

Hajj is, not doubt, a tremendous challenge in crowd management. Millions of people need to move, to be fed, to be secured within a few kilometers radius. While it is hard to discredit the country’s huge efforts in facilitating the event and making it as effortless as possible, such news ruin the whole scene and steal the spot light from whatever achievements might actually taken place. That’s how the media world works, shortcomings find its way to the light faster than achievements, especially when there is no transparency.  Operating train lines should not be a hassle no matter what. There are no excuses; the huge number and the limited area do not qualify as ones. The Shinjuku station in Tokyo, Japan, for example, was used by an average of 3.64 million passengers per day back in 2007. I wonder if we ever approached those countries to ask for advices, consultants, and help. There is no harm in doing so, you know!

The Prince of Makkah has formed an investigation committee which I hope would share its findings with the public. And I hope the results won’t be a bunch of blames flying around. In project management, these are called ‘lessons learned,’ and they better to be transformed into solutions to prevent such failures in the future.

 

Broken Promises

10 Oct

via freedigitalphotos.net

You can promise and not deliver once and they may forget, twice, and they may forgive, but on the third time, you absolutely lose all your credibility.

This is virtually true everywhere, in all situations, but it intensifies in workplaces. I mean, you could do such a thing as a parent, a spouse, but you would still have enough emotional credits in the banks of those around you to forget, forgive, and move on; that’s hardly the case in the business world.

Throughout my career, I have heard so many promises, so many dreams of a better tomorrow; the number of those promises actualized is shameful. Most companies have two faces; the one facing the public, and it’s usually showing that everything is perfect, management is working hard to make a difference, to move the whole society forward, and to make its employees’ lives better. And there is the face of reality, where organizational politics are dominating.

Organizations, and leaders, with two faces and so many broken promises are the ones lacking true values, the ones that cannot look beyond the bottom line, the profit!

 

Cyber wars: How dangerous are they? – Arab News

29 Sep

What do you about cyberwar, and how serious it could be? Check out my latest article on Arab News.

 

Violence in the workplace: Why does it happen? – Arab News

01 Sep

What causes violence in erupt in the workplace? This is what I am trying to dsciuss in my latest Arab News article

Enjoy …

 

Saudi Arabia Needs more Women CEOs – Arab News

27 Jul

In my latest article on Arab News, I am discussing why we do not have Saudi women in high ranking managerial positions?

Enjoy …

 

After-Hours

03 May

via Michal Marcol/freedigitalphotos.net

I have been to after hours meetings, and I have sent and received emails at midnight, and let me tell you, I felt good about myself, It gave me the illusion of being important, especially when one of my family or friends calls at 9:00 PM and I ignore the call and send a message ‘I am at work!’

Maaaaan was I so wrong!!

Such kind of culture exists, you cannot deny it, the worse is that it, somehow, stereotyped; you work late, you send after hours emails, means you are a dedicated and loyal staff. In simple words, that’s a total nonsense.

This is not to ignore reality that sometimes work demands such dedication and long hours, whether for an established high rank manager or a start up entrepreneur, it’s normal, but when it becomes a culture, an organization way of living and a performance indicator, then it’s just a disaster.

Contrary to popular belief, long hours in the workplace is an indicator of lack of proper planning, over-utilization of staff, and no work/life balance. The outcome of this poisoned combination is not hard to predict; burned out staff, no motivation, and low productivity.

If the COO of Facebook can leave office at 5:30 PM, I wonder why can’t you (read this as well)?! Or why demanding your staff to respond to emails at 10 PM knowing that global companies are now banning after hours emails (here & here)!

For those managers wasting time judging staff on their after hours work, they better utilize that time in better management skills to increase the real productivity.

* Image Source

 

The Science behind Great Teams

28 Apr

via Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net

The next time your manager calls you in his office and asks you to wear a badge to monitor your and your team performances, do not start laughing, it is not a joke!

Researchers at MIT ‘s human dynamics lab have come up with a badge a person can wear to collect data that after analyzed, could determine if his team is high performing or not.

I know it sound like a science fiction, but believe it or not, it is there, and the badge is in its 7th version!

The idea behind the whole research is simple; high performance team tend to have certain characteristics in the way their members communicate and interact; energy, engagement, and exploration are the secrets here. Does this work in all fields, you may ask, according to the research, yes, because the content of the team’s interaction does not really matter. That’s why the data collecting badge does not even record conversations, it is sensitive to a different kind of input, it collects the tone of voice, body language, whom the team members are talking to and where!

Having studied this for some time now, the researchers believe that high performance teams share these common behaviors:

  • Team members talk and listen almost equally, everyone participates in ‘short and sweet’ manner.
  • Members face one another and talk energetically.
  • Members interact with each others, not only with the team leader.
  • Members engage in side conversations amongst the team.
  • Members go exploring outside the team and bring feedback and share it with the rest.

Go ahead and read this article for more information and examples about how this new approach is implemented.

The approach of this study is very interesting and it gives some empirical evidence to a lot of theories that dealt with team building. There are also a lot a leader can conclude from such a study. One of the most important conclusion and the central idea of this research is COMMUNICATION. Encourage it, develop it, nurture it, and you would end up with a very engaged harmonic team.

* Image Source