TOMMY WEIR

Cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment of mu­tual suc­cess.

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS - Dr. Tommy Weir is au­thor of 10 Tips for Lead­ing in the Mid­dle East and founder of the Emerg­ing Mar­kets Lead­er­ship Cen­ter.

IT’S FUNNY HOW PER­SPEC­TIVES change over time, def­i­nitely com­pared to how we thought in 2007 and think now. The other evening we were com­ment­ing how nice it is that the roads are packed and the sound of con­struc­tion is keep­ing us awake at night, not­ing that in 2007, we fer­vently com­plained about both.

“Do you cel­e­brate this progress or moan about it?” While this may sound very na­tion­al­is­tic, these are signs show­ing the strat­egy is work­ing. At times, I am tempted to com­plain, and then I re­mem­ber what a “quiet” Dubai means.

Even af­ter liv­ing in Dubai for so many years, I still get chills when I drive down Sheikh Zayed Road, the city’s main artery. Not be­cause of the driv­ing pat­terns, as more than two hun­dred na­tion­al­i­ties get be­hind the steer­ing wheel, but be­cause nearly ev­ery­one who is liv­ing in Dubai is here be­cause they can do bet­ter than they can in their home coun­try and maybe even any­where else. I’ve be­come numb to the speed of de­vel­op­ment, even find­ing so­lace in it.

“Do you cel­e­brate this progress or moan about it?” While this may sound very na­tion­al­is­tic, these are signs show­ing the strat­egy is work­ing. At times, I am tempted to com­plain, and then I re­mem­ber what a “quiet” Dubai means.

And I take for granted the spec­tac­u­lar sky­line, half of which, or maybe more, was built in front of my eyes. I ac­cept the ex­cite­ment and en­ergy as be­ing nor­mal. Yet, I get this chills be­cause it is a place where any and ev­ery one can suc­ceed.

Whether it’s a bus packed with con­struc­tion work­ers who spent the day labour­ing away to add to the sky­line, the taxi driver car­ry­ing tourists across the city, the CEO of a ma­jor busi­ness rid­ing in his Range Rover, or any­one in be­tween, all are liv­ing in Dubai be­cause it is con­tribut­ing to their suc­cess – and their suc­cess to Dubai.

In the same fash­ion that peo­ple trav­elled to Cal­i­for­nia in 1849, where gold nuggets were lit­er­ally sit­ting atop the ground to be picked up by hand, Dubai is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing its own rush. But there is one big dif­fer­ence be­tween the Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush and Dubai. Dubai’s rush was and is shaped from the lead­er­ship’s ideal of cre­at­ing an en­vi­ron­ment for oth­ers to suc­ceed. In Cal­i­for­nia, few suc­ceeded, they only had a pre­cious com­mod­ity, not the en­vi­ron­ment. Gold worth tens of bil­lions of to­day’s dol­lars was re­cov­ered, which led to great wealth for the few. How­ever, many re­turned home with lit­tle more than what they started with.

Over the past four decades Dubai has ex­pe­ri­enced boom­town growth. The pop­u­la­tion grew five times be­tween 1975 and 1995, then another four times be­tween 1995 and 2015. The “rush” is in full force from the con­tin­u­a­tion of the lead­er­ship prac­tice – cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment for oth­ers to suc­ceed.

What amazes me is that even af­ter the dis­cov­ery of oil, the lead­ers stuck with the cen­tury old strat­egy ad they con­tin­ued cre­at­ing this en­vi­ron­ment. They worked even harder than be­fore, rein­vest­ing their new­found wealth in the orig­i­nal vi­sion. Af­ter gen­er­a­tions of fight­ing for sur­vival, the temp­ta­tion had to be huge to re­lax and en­joy pros­per­ity. But they didn’t.

Help­ing oth­ers should be a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion of ev­ery leader’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. While it is the “busi­ness” of lead­ers, at all lev­els, to help those in their care to de­velop be­yond their dreams, it is not al­ways easy. Lead­ers of­ten get too caught up in daily op­er­a­tions or their own prob­lems to give peo­ple the help they need. In Dubai, the lead­ers cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment for oth­ers to do just that, suc­ceed. Just ask any­one liv­ing in Dubai, “Are you bet­ter off for be­ing here?” With­out fail, the an­swer is “yes” from both lo­cals and ex­pats. Good jobs, stan­dard of liv­ing and se­cu­rity. You can suc­ceed here.

You need to al­ways be think­ing about how you can help your em­ploy­ees, team and even com­pany suc­ceed. If you want to learn from Dubai’s lead­er­ship prac­tice, make your com­pany a place where you help oth­ers suc­ceed and you will also. This has be­came the core strat­egy of Dubai.

Does your lead­er­ship con­trib­ute to oth­ers’ suc­cess? Or do they (em­ploy­ees) only con­trib­ute to yours?

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