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Conflict Management
×
8 August 2020

Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz, commonly known as Umar II, was the eighth Umayyad caliph, ruling from 22 September 717 until his death in 720.

It was dark when he accidentally stepped on someone sleeping in a Masjid. The guy shouted:

Are you a donkey?

Omar replied: No I am Omar

Omar’s companion asked him: He called you a donkey!

Omar replied: No he didn’t. He asked me if I was a donkey and I told him that I am Omar

That’s how a professional manages conflicts

 

False Plans Are Plans To Fail
×
2 July 2020

 

Our elders taught us about a wolf who got tired of being scary and wished to turn into a kind and loving animal. An Elephant referred him to the King of the jungle. The lion advised him to turn into a loving and cute rabbit. The wolf liked the idea, but moments later returned and asked the lion: But how? You didn’t tell me how to turn into a rabbit? The troubled lion said: My job is only to set strategies and you must find a way to implement it!

It’s important to have a SMART plan because a false plan is a plan to failure.

 

To The Space
×
25 September 2019

 

UAE is geographically small, but has a universal vision.

UAE is historically young, but has a global mission.

We are the world and we are the hope. We are a proud Muslim majority country that peacefully embraces many cultures and nationalities.

Oil and Gas is a golden program. It’s a gift that sparked our passion, fuels our mission but can’t achieve our universal vision. Other and more sophisticated programs were needed.

So we raised the bar, courageously took the lead and embarked on to the Nuclear program. We are proud to be part of the nuclear community.

Today we have humbly decided to embark on to the most sophisticated program known to mankind. Today Hazza, a brave Emirati, is travelling to space on behalf of all of us to honor the souls of our founding fathers and of those who sacrificed for our flag. We are proud to be part of the space community.

Why Nuclear? Why Space?.

While these programs may seem to scepticals as meer adventures, to us they are necessary environments to raise our competent future generation. As Oil and Gas program gifted to us a golden generation, nuclear and space will gift us our diamond generation. Yes, we are investing in our future generations.

My dear UAE, stay beautiful as usual.

(more…)

Mega Knowledge of Mega Projects
×
6 September 2019
“I am confident that this plant will complete to the best standards. But without competent Emirati operational and maintenance teams, the plant will be simply a big pile of steel,” Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, told us during a gathering in 2012, referring to Abu Dhabi’s prestigious nuclear power plant project, which was then under construction in the Western Region. I could not agree more.

Projects normally involve clients, consultants and contractors, who get together temporarily to produce a unique product. If clients desire, projects could be both product- and knowledge-based investments. As described below, the way organisations and teams interact makes a significant difference to the client’s ROI (return on investment).

Knowledge-based project teams

CONSERVATIVE CONSUMERS invest in mega projects by adopting the most effective governance and procurement processes. They measure success by the number of bids received, celebrate awarding the best techno-economical offers and perform strict oversight. This is operationally commendable.

On the other hand, AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS invest in the mega knowledge offered by their mega projects to transform themselves into smarter consumers, capable of managing mega projects and celebrate profits. This is strategically commendable.

However, the energy market offers two types of consultancy services, Expert Consultancy and Process Consultancy. While CONSERVATIVE CONSUMERS opt for Expert Consultancy, AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS opt for Process Consultancy. Both consultancies offer valuable services, but only Process Consultancy provides valuable knowledge.

Expert Consultancy teams work independently of their clients and their task normally ends by submitting the agreed deliverables and performing oversight.

Clients often review the deliverables and perform oversight. This approach could result in project delays and the duplication of efforts, while offering some minor and unstructured transfer of knowledge to client’s personnel.

Meanwhile, the Process Consultancy teams are a mixture of consultant and client personell. The experienced consultant gets to interview client’s staff, selects the best, forms the teams and leads them. Such teams produce all deliverables and perform oversight. This approach supports timely completion of the project, best utilisation of resources, while offering significant and structured transfer of knowledge to the client personal, enabling clients to gain consultancy knowledge, which is a step towards becoming smarter consumers (contractors and developers).

Dnata and DP World are examples of AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS successfully transformed from being local service organisations to leading international consultants offering recognised Management Services to sophisticated clients abroad. This is a tremendous, strategic and commendable investment in knowledge.

In 2006, I had the honour of visiting PGESCo to encounter the successful transformation story of this Egyptian EPC and EPCM contractor, currently active in MENA region. It all started in the late ’90s, when the Egyptian electricity sector decided to become smarter by transforming into an AMBITIOUS CONSUMER and investing in its human capital.

Their smart tender for partnership was awarded to a reputable American construction company to mark the beginning of a win-win business model. A team of Egyptian pioneers was shortlisted and posted in the United States for few months to undergo a systematic and structured process of knowledge and skills transfer.

The certified team returned to inaugurate PGESCo and work under the supervision of their US-based partner. Over the years, the level of supervision progressively dropped and PGESCo is now operating independently. Ever since, PGESCo has successfully executed most of the Egyptian energy projects. This is a tremendous, strategic and commendable investment in knowledge. I could not be more proud.

Knowledge-based project organisations

Organisations are designed to give a required output. Hence, there is no such a thing as a typical organisation that all must fit into. An organisation that targets TIME is different than an organisation that targets COST or QUALITY, and vice versa. Similarly, knowledge-based organisations need to be different, as described below.

A typical energy project organisation consists mainly of several structured core and non-core teams, such as Project Management, Supply Chain, Engineering, Construction, Commissioning, Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Human Resources.

Such mature organisation structures work well for mature companies with experienced staff that have successfully conducted several projects of the same type. Only experienced companies can effectively manage the inherent and significant interfaces associated with such matured organisation structures.

My advice to all AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS and those engaging in a new field is to start with an organisation consisting of teams structured to support learning, such as Project Management, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation & Control, Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Human Resources.

Technical teams shall be broken down into systems and equipment promoting specialisation and enhancing familiarity with the technical requirements. Each technical team shall be accountable for the Supply Chain, Engineering, Construction and Commissioning of its systems and equipment. Such organisations are designed to help produce Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and complete projects.

I can’t stress enough on the importance of minimising and managing interfaces effectively, because 90 per cent of the time, balls are dropped when tossing them around rather than when they are secured by individuals. Therefore, the adopted organisation structure must, to the extent possible, minimise interfaces and allow for their effective management.

I know that change could be uncomfortable and thinking out of the box is scary, but without doing these things, we don’t stand a chance against the global competition. The future is for consultants, developers and producers, not CONSERVATIVE CONSUMERS.

It’s time to transform by investing in the Mega Knowledge of Mega Projects.

My article of July 2nd, 2017 published by AMEinfo. Thanks to the support of Mr. Mujeeb AlRahman
Do We Need Genuine Leaders?
×
14 August 2019

CEO of a reputable company decided to participate in a risky bid.  “We will participate under my responsibility”  was CEO’s response to a detalied Risk Assessment performed by his organisation, which identified the subject bidding as highly risky and recommended not to participate in the bidding.  The legal team of the organisation cautioned the management but the CEO insisted to proceed with the bidding. The legal team then wrote to the CEO:

“No you won’t. Being a CEO doesn’t mean you can tell us to steal from a supermarket and we do”.

As a result, the company didn’t bid. That’s how corporates with genuine systems perform.

A wise man recently reminded me that we need genuine systems more than genuine leaders.  In a genuine system, average people could lead successfully.

Genuine leaders are so rare.  Building the system around them is risky.  We need to build fool proof and genuine systems to minimize corporate risks.

Genuine leaders empower their organisations and minimize their own powers.  Only confident, brave, honest and wise leaders would do that.

While all genuine corporates correctly adopt development programs that target to generate employees who “do the right thing without being supervised”, all such organisations know that such targets are extremely hard to achieve.  That’s why, genuine systems are established to enable average employees to shine/rise and prevent shining employees from falling.

So, do we need genuine leaders to be successful?

Not necessarily

الفيلسوف البريطاني برترند رُسيل
×
22 July 2019

يقول البروفسيور البريطاني برترند رُسيل: “عندما تبحث في اي موضوع او في اية مسألة فلسفية، فقط إسال نفسك ما هي الحقائق و ما الحقيقة التي تحملها تلك الحقائق. لا تسمح لنفسك بالانحراف بما تتمنى ان تؤمن به و لا بما تعتقد ان الايمان به يسبب منافع اجتماعية”. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0yD9SpPGiE&feature=share

Bertrand Russell
×
22 July 2019

The British philosopher, mathematician, historian and a political activist says during an interview:

“When you study any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself to be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think could have benefits and social effects if it were believed ”

How Others See Us?
×
22 July 2019

 

“Oh would some Power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”

Robert Burns, the great 18th-century Scottish poet

Raising The Bar
×
13 July 2019

Dubai Electricity Company was my first employer. I was honored to be recruited in September 7th 1991 together with three other brilliant UAE nationals as Graduate Trainees. We were the very first four GTs and luckily did not realize we were Dubai’s First Energy Pioneers.

After completing four months of orientation program, I was privileged to choose my preferred division and department. Without any hesitation and in spite of my humble academic achievements, I selected to work at the most technical, most complicated and the farthest division of all.  I selected to work in the Instrumentation and Control Department at the Jebel Ali Power and Water complex, the smallest department in any power house. Meaning, I chose to drive daily 40 minutes when I could have chosen to work at the Headquarter and be 15 minutes from home. By the way, Sheikh Zayed’s Highway did not exist yet.

We say “The closer to the eye the closer to the heart”, but I selected to be in a place that is the furthest from the Headquarter. Some of my friends considered me a fool to miss the opportunity of being close to the management and close to the city (home). But I decided to trust my instincts and swim against the currents. I ended up choosing to be closer to the core of the business and in a department that is closest to my Electronics Engineering Technology Bachelor degree.   I did the right thing right.

On my first day of work, I recall driving through the gates of station ‘D’ full of the fear from the unknown. As I walked towards the station, I could not help noticing so much of details that I could not understand and asked myself “When am I going to learn all of this?!”

First thing, I received a helmet, safety shoes, gloves, uniforms, safety glasses, ear muffs, a torch and a safety manual. Those days, no one used these safety gears and it was very normal to walk around the plant without a helmet; something that cannot be imagined today due to huge steps taken by Dubai Electricity & Water Authority to be recognized as one of the world’s leading companies when it comes to safety.

I started my Instrumentation and Control Engineer training program prepared by highly experienced expat Engineers. The huge experience gap was a great communication obstacle. I was being treated as a section head while I should have started as a technician. Obviously, no detailed training program existed and the program was based on job shadowing. The organization relied greatly on external technical and management training.

I was not smart but I was very serious about my work. I was a hard working Section Head starting my day early and leaving late. My casual leaves and sick leaves were almost nil.  I never asked for a grade, designation or salary increase. I used to focus on my tasks and dedicate myself to the plant. I never challenged anyone but continuously challenged myself and I always saw myself less than others. I was never happy with my performance.

Turned out my behavior was highly appreciated by the management, while it was mocked and criticized by some of my UAE colleagues. As a result I continued growing and climbing the management ladder until I ended up being the Executive Vice President reporting to the Managing Director and the CEO. My hard work paid off.

In 1993, I was nominated to attend an external training on Safety where I learned the absolute necessity of wearing safety gears. I reported back to duty issuing a memo to my staff, less than 15, to observe safety rules and to wear helmets and safety shoes while working at site. Could you imagine the irony of only 15 I&C employees wearing helmets among more than 800 staff at the power complex?! It was not surprising to receive few of them within couple of days begging me to allow them work without helmets as everyone was laughing at them in the plant.  I felt very sorry for them but could not stop doing the right thing right. Slowly, safety culture improved and everyone wore a helmet. Looking back, I am proud of my decision to not follow the heard.

Being a pioneer is not easy but it’s an opportunity to create a legacy.

I raise my hat for my brave 1993 I&C team. I am proud of you.

 


To My Son
×
13 July 2019

My eldest son was doing his first year of engineering program when he consulted me regarding a scholarship that was offered to him.

“If you start right, you will continue right. Look for a company that offers you the best development program. Trust them for five years and don’t bother with your designation, grade or salary. ” I told him and added:

1.      Be thankful for the opportunity offered as in “[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds” Quran 1:2.

2.      Appreciate the mistake friendly environment as in “The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,” Quran 1:3.

3.      Exceed your annual objectives as in “It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” Quran 1:5.

4.      Respect the codes even if not watched as in “It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” Quran 1:5.

5.      Follow the right ways as in “Guide us to the straight path” Quran 1:6.

6.      Seek the best ways as in “The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor” Quran 1:7.

7.      Intentional mistake is deal breaking as in “not of those who have evoked [Your] anger” Quran 1:7.

8.      Unintentional mistake is still damaging as in “or of those who are astray.” Quran 1:7.

As any father, I desperately wish to share my experience, granting my loved ones a better chance in life. When you value someone, you want him/her to start from where you ended.

But in doing so, we have to remember that all we got to offer them is nothing but our personal interpretation of success and that our loved ones are entitled to experimenting life on their own. Unless you are extremely good in convincing, chances are your loved ones would rightly insist on reinventing the wheel.

Be happy if they stick around to consult you and pray to Allah that whatever their hands touch shall change to gold.

(more…)

Believers Are Made Not Born
×
13 July 2019

Believers are made, not born. Human are born to believe.

A good business raises believers. A bad business raises disbelievers, who don’t believe in any vision, mission or values.

Experience got me to believe that a mission executed on values does achieve the desired vision. Yes, I lived the dream with those who walked the talk, promoted questioning attitude and accepted criticism. That’s when business elites embrace excellence as a behavior.  Don’t get me wrong, they were not perfect but they were genuine.

1-   Walking the Talk:

I learned that good businesses walk the talk or simply say nothing. Any other way, businesses will only raise disbelievers.

Surprised? Did you ever reflect on Quran chapter 61 verses 2 and 3:

“O you who believe! Why do you say what you do not do? It is most hateful to God that you say what you do not do.”

Did you ever wonder why Allah is still referring to those who don’t walk the talk as believers? It sounds strange, but it’s not.  It simply confirms that blind spots could cause believers to unconsciously not walk the talk.

2-   Promoting Questioning Attitude:

I learned that good businesses encourage their staff to ask “WHY”. Decisions are allowed to be questioned while top management commits to clarify and educate. Any other way, businesses will only raise disbelievers.

Surprised? Did you ever reflect on Quran chapter 2 verse 30:

“When your Lord said to the angels, “I am placing a successor on earth.” They said, “Will You place in it someone who will cause corruption in it and shed blood, while we declare Your praises and sanctify You?” He said, “I know what you do not know.”

If Allah does not mind being questioned, shouldn’t we?  Of course like angels, questions must be asked politely.

3-   Accepting Criticism:

I learned that in good businesses no one is above the law. Constructive criticism is encouraged and openly recorded as lessons learned. Any other way, businesses will only raise disbelievers.

Surprised? Did you ever reflect on Quran chapter 80 verses 1 to 11:

“He frowned and turned away. When the blind man approached him. But how do you know? Perhaps he was seeking to purify himself. Or be reminded, and the message would benefit him. But as for him who was indifferent. You gave him your attention. Though you are not liable if he does not purify himself. But as for him who came to you seeking. In awe. To him you were inattentive. Do not. This is a Lesson.”

Notice how prophet Mohamed, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is being openly criticized by Allah and the incident is being recorded for ever as lessons learned.  If Prophet Mohamed could be criticized, shouldn’t we?

It’s businesses that raise believers or disbelievers. We need good role models to raise more believers. Otherwise:

“Our Lord, make us not [objects of] torment for the disbelievers and forgive us, our Lord. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” Quran chapter 60 verse 5.

 


Blame Culture
×
13 July 2019

“What is your advice?”

They asked after complaining about the “BLAIMING CULTURE“. I acknowledged the unfortunate behavior and advised them to be patient as all indicators promise a better future.

“Are you saying that there is no immediate solution?”They asked desperately.

“Oh yes, there is of course a simple yet difficult solution” I replied and added “cause we are not ready for it as we are still emotionally driven. Unfortunately, we don’t like our authorities to be challenged or criticized”.

What if you were a CEO, what would you do different?” they asked.

“I would adopt an Operating Model that empowers the organization while strictly adhering to the established corporate codes and core values” I replied.

They correctly did not like my textbook response and challenged by asking “Could you elaborate please?” So I added:

“As a CEO, I would ensure that all management teams seek to equally satisfy my expectations, their staff’s and their responsibilities as follows:

1.     I would empower the staff and let all management teams to be elected within. For example, divisions under me will chose their own Unit Heads, Section Heads, Department Heads and Division Heads (my direct reports). So, only the trust worthy with good track records would be chosen.

2.     I would empower the staff and allow them to re-elect their management teams annually. So, there would be no place for losers and falsifiers.

3.     I would empower my direct reports by requiring Board of Director’s approval before I terminate or warn any of my direct reports. The Board would fairly listen to my claims and my direct report’s defense before making any judgments.

4.     I would empower the staff by requiring the CEO and his management teams not to make any decision before consulting their respective teams and recording the results. The final decision and the full responsibility would be of the CEO and the management teams.

5- I would collect all teams in the organisation in charge of monitoring effectiveness of governance and effective implementation of corporate’s core values under one division. This new division will report to me and the the board of directors.

As a result of the above Operating Model:

A.   The CEO and the management teams can no longer blackmail their direct reports.

B.    The CEO and the management teams can no longer blame their staff without justification.

C.    The CEO and the management teams can no longer violate corporate codes and values.

D.   The CEO and the management teams can no longer say different than what they do.

“Is this a proven Model?” they asked.

“More or less. But that should not matter as we are in the Future Accelerators era”. I replied.

The question is “Are we ready for it?”

 


Organisational Ombudsman
×
13 July 2019

“Oh would some Power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us.” Robert Burns, the great 18th-century Scottish poet.

Like human, societies and organizations have blind spots that prevent them from seeing their reality. Often, outsider’s fresh eyes can evaluate us better and draw our attention to areas of improvement.

Only decades ago, slavery was being practiced in many parts of the world. Luckily, I missed that disgusting period but the fact that no one back then thought twice that slavery was wrong terrifies me. I ask myself, what if I am making a similar disgusting mistake and I can’t see it? What if my blind spot is preventing me from seeing a possible disgusting reality? Trust me, such questions have shaped my personality.

The above part of history has taught me to “Honour the Past” no matter how ugly it looks. Had I lived those decades, I might have practiced slavery with the least feelings of guilt.

History has also taught me that if I want to overcome my blind spot and see my reality, I need to subject myself to uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately, we can only learn when we are uncomfortable. No pain no gain, right?  So, I have learned to enter uncomfortable dialogs with strangers.

I have concluded that others are right but they could be wrong and I am wrong but I could be right, so:

  1. Lets honor the past instead of trashing it.
  2. Replace debates with dialogs.
  3. Criticize friends when they are wrong.
  4. Defend strangers when they are right.

 


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The latest articles
Conflict Management
8 August 2020

Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz, commonly known as Umar II, was the eighth Umayyad caliph, ruling from 22 September 717 until his death in 720.

It was dark when he accidentally stepped on someone sleeping in a Masjid. The guy shouted:

Are you a donkey?

Omar replied: No I am Omar

Omar’s companion asked him: He called you a donkey!

Omar replied: No he didn’t. He asked me if I was a donkey and I told him that I am Omar

That’s how a professional manages conflicts

 

False Plans Are Plans To Fail
2 July 2020

 

Our elders taught us about a wolf who got tired of being scary and wished to turn into a kind and loving animal. An Elephant referred him to the King of the jungle. The lion advised him to turn into a loving and cute rabbit. The wolf liked the idea, but moments later returned and asked the lion: But how? You didn’t tell me how to turn into a rabbit? The troubled lion said: My job is only to set strategies and you must find a way to implement it!

It’s important to have a SMART plan because a false plan is a plan to failure.

 

To The Space
25 September 2019

 

UAE is geographically small, but has a universal vision.

UAE is historically young, but has a global mission.

We are the world and we are the hope. We are a proud Muslim majority country that peacefully embraces many cultures and nationalities.

Oil and Gas is a golden program. It’s a gift that sparked our passion, fuels our mission but can’t achieve our universal vision. Other and more sophisticated programs were needed.

So we raised the bar, courageously took the lead and embarked on to the Nuclear program. We are proud to be part of the nuclear community.

Today we have humbly decided to embark on to the most sophisticated program known to mankind. Today Hazza, a brave Emirati, is travelling to space on behalf of all of us to honor the souls of our founding fathers and of those who sacrificed for our flag. We are proud to be part of the space community.

Why Nuclear? Why Space?.

While these programs may seem to scepticals as meer adventures, to us they are necessary environments to raise our competent future generation. As Oil and Gas program gifted to us a golden generation, nuclear and space will gift us our diamond generation. Yes, we are investing in our future generations.

My dear UAE, stay beautiful as usual.

(more…)

Mega Knowledge of Mega Projects
6 September 2019
“I am confident that this plant will complete to the best standards. But without competent Emirati operational and maintenance teams, the plant will be simply a big pile of steel,” Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, told us during a gathering in 2012, referring to Abu Dhabi’s prestigious nuclear power plant project, which was then under construction in the Western Region. I could not agree more.

Projects normally involve clients, consultants and contractors, who get together temporarily to produce a unique product. If clients desire, projects could be both product- and knowledge-based investments. As described below, the way organisations and teams interact makes a significant difference to the client’s ROI (return on investment).

Knowledge-based project teams

CONSERVATIVE CONSUMERS invest in mega projects by adopting the most effective governance and procurement processes. They measure success by the number of bids received, celebrate awarding the best techno-economical offers and perform strict oversight. This is operationally commendable.

On the other hand, AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS invest in the mega knowledge offered by their mega projects to transform themselves into smarter consumers, capable of managing mega projects and celebrate profits. This is strategically commendable.

However, the energy market offers two types of consultancy services, Expert Consultancy and Process Consultancy. While CONSERVATIVE CONSUMERS opt for Expert Consultancy, AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS opt for Process Consultancy. Both consultancies offer valuable services, but only Process Consultancy provides valuable knowledge.

Expert Consultancy teams work independently of their clients and their task normally ends by submitting the agreed deliverables and performing oversight.

Clients often review the deliverables and perform oversight. This approach could result in project delays and the duplication of efforts, while offering some minor and unstructured transfer of knowledge to client’s personnel.

Meanwhile, the Process Consultancy teams are a mixture of consultant and client personell. The experienced consultant gets to interview client’s staff, selects the best, forms the teams and leads them. Such teams produce all deliverables and perform oversight. This approach supports timely completion of the project, best utilisation of resources, while offering significant and structured transfer of knowledge to the client personal, enabling clients to gain consultancy knowledge, which is a step towards becoming smarter consumers (contractors and developers).

Dnata and DP World are examples of AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS successfully transformed from being local service organisations to leading international consultants offering recognised Management Services to sophisticated clients abroad. This is a tremendous, strategic and commendable investment in knowledge.

In 2006, I had the honour of visiting PGESCo to encounter the successful transformation story of this Egyptian EPC and EPCM contractor, currently active in MENA region. It all started in the late ’90s, when the Egyptian electricity sector decided to become smarter by transforming into an AMBITIOUS CONSUMER and investing in its human capital.

Their smart tender for partnership was awarded to a reputable American construction company to mark the beginning of a win-win business model. A team of Egyptian pioneers was shortlisted and posted in the United States for few months to undergo a systematic and structured process of knowledge and skills transfer.

The certified team returned to inaugurate PGESCo and work under the supervision of their US-based partner. Over the years, the level of supervision progressively dropped and PGESCo is now operating independently. Ever since, PGESCo has successfully executed most of the Egyptian energy projects. This is a tremendous, strategic and commendable investment in knowledge. I could not be more proud.

Knowledge-based project organisations

Organisations are designed to give a required output. Hence, there is no such a thing as a typical organisation that all must fit into. An organisation that targets TIME is different than an organisation that targets COST or QUALITY, and vice versa. Similarly, knowledge-based organisations need to be different, as described below.

A typical energy project organisation consists mainly of several structured core and non-core teams, such as Project Management, Supply Chain, Engineering, Construction, Commissioning, Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Human Resources.

Such mature organisation structures work well for mature companies with experienced staff that have successfully conducted several projects of the same type. Only experienced companies can effectively manage the inherent and significant interfaces associated with such matured organisation structures.

My advice to all AMBITIOUS CONSUMERS and those engaging in a new field is to start with an organisation consisting of teams structured to support learning, such as Project Management, Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Instrumentation & Control, Quality Control, Quality Assurance and Human Resources.

Technical teams shall be broken down into systems and equipment promoting specialisation and enhancing familiarity with the technical requirements. Each technical team shall be accountable for the Supply Chain, Engineering, Construction and Commissioning of its systems and equipment. Such organisations are designed to help produce Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and complete projects.

I can’t stress enough on the importance of minimising and managing interfaces effectively, because 90 per cent of the time, balls are dropped when tossing them around rather than when they are secured by individuals. Therefore, the adopted organisation structure must, to the extent possible, minimise interfaces and allow for their effective management.

I know that change could be uncomfortable and thinking out of the box is scary, but without doing these things, we don’t stand a chance against the global competition. The future is for consultants, developers and producers, not CONSERVATIVE CONSUMERS.

It’s time to transform by investing in the Mega Knowledge of Mega Projects.

My article of July 2nd, 2017 published by AMEinfo. Thanks to the support of Mr. Mujeeb AlRahman
Do We Need Genuine Leaders?
14 August 2019

CEO of a reputable company decided to participate in a risky bid.  “We will participate under my responsibility”  was CEO’s response to a detalied Risk Assessment performed by his organisation, which identified the subject bidding as highly risky and recommended not to participate in the bidding.  The legal team of the organisation cautioned the management but the CEO insisted to proceed with the bidding. The legal team then wrote to the CEO:

“No you won’t. Being a CEO doesn’t mean you can tell us to steal from a supermarket and we do”.

As a result, the company didn’t bid. That’s how corporates with genuine systems perform.

A wise man recently reminded me that we need genuine systems more than genuine leaders.  In a genuine system, average people could lead successfully.

Genuine leaders are so rare.  Building the system around them is risky.  We need to build fool proof and genuine systems to minimize corporate risks.

Genuine leaders empower their organisations and minimize their own powers.  Only confident, brave, honest and wise leaders would do that.

While all genuine corporates correctly adopt development programs that target to generate employees who “do the right thing without being supervised”, all such organisations know that such targets are extremely hard to achieve.  That’s why, genuine systems are established to enable average employees to shine/rise and prevent shining employees from falling.

So, do we need genuine leaders to be successful?

Not necessarily

الفيلسوف البريطاني برترند رُسيل
22 July 2019

يقول البروفسيور البريطاني برترند رُسيل: “عندما تبحث في اي موضوع او في اية مسألة فلسفية، فقط إسال نفسك ما هي الحقائق و ما الحقيقة التي تحملها تلك الحقائق. لا تسمح لنفسك بالانحراف بما تتمنى ان تؤمن به و لا بما تعتقد ان الايمان به يسبب منافع اجتماعية”. 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0yD9SpPGiE&feature=share

Bertrand Russell
22 July 2019

The British philosopher, mathematician, historian and a political activist says during an interview:

“When you study any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself to be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think could have benefits and social effects if it were believed ”

How Others See Us?
22 July 2019

 

“Oh would some Power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”

Robert Burns, the great 18th-century Scottish poet

Raising The Bar
13 July 2019

Dubai Electricity Company was my first employer. I was honored to be recruited in September 7th 1991 together with three other brilliant UAE nationals as Graduate Trainees. We were the very first four GTs and luckily did not realize we were Dubai’s First Energy Pioneers.

After completing four months of orientation program, I was privileged to choose my preferred division and department. Without any hesitation and in spite of my humble academic achievements, I selected to work at the most technical, most complicated and the farthest division of all.  I selected to work in the Instrumentation and Control Department at the Jebel Ali Power and Water complex, the smallest department in any power house. Meaning, I chose to drive daily 40 minutes when I could have chosen to work at the Headquarter and be 15 minutes from home. By the way, Sheikh Zayed’s Highway did not exist yet.

We say “The closer to the eye the closer to the heart”, but I selected to be in a place that is the furthest from the Headquarter. Some of my friends considered me a fool to miss the opportunity of being close to the management and close to the city (home). But I decided to trust my instincts and swim against the currents. I ended up choosing to be closer to the core of the business and in a department that is closest to my Electronics Engineering Technology Bachelor degree.   I did the right thing right.

On my first day of work, I recall driving through the gates of station ‘D’ full of the fear from the unknown. As I walked towards the station, I could not help noticing so much of details that I could not understand and asked myself “When am I going to learn all of this?!”

First thing, I received a helmet, safety shoes, gloves, uniforms, safety glasses, ear muffs, a torch and a safety manual. Those days, no one used these safety gears and it was very normal to walk around the plant without a helmet; something that cannot be imagined today due to huge steps taken by Dubai Electricity & Water Authority to be recognized as one of the world’s leading companies when it comes to safety.

I started my Instrumentation and Control Engineer training program prepared by highly experienced expat Engineers. The huge experience gap was a great communication obstacle. I was being treated as a section head while I should have started as a technician. Obviously, no detailed training program existed and the program was based on job shadowing. The organization relied greatly on external technical and management training.

I was not smart but I was very serious about my work. I was a hard working Section Head starting my day early and leaving late. My casual leaves and sick leaves were almost nil.  I never asked for a grade, designation or salary increase. I used to focus on my tasks and dedicate myself to the plant. I never challenged anyone but continuously challenged myself and I always saw myself less than others. I was never happy with my performance.

Turned out my behavior was highly appreciated by the management, while it was mocked and criticized by some of my UAE colleagues. As a result I continued growing and climbing the management ladder until I ended up being the Executive Vice President reporting to the Managing Director and the CEO. My hard work paid off.

In 1993, I was nominated to attend an external training on Safety where I learned the absolute necessity of wearing safety gears. I reported back to duty issuing a memo to my staff, less than 15, to observe safety rules and to wear helmets and safety shoes while working at site. Could you imagine the irony of only 15 I&C employees wearing helmets among more than 800 staff at the power complex?! It was not surprising to receive few of them within couple of days begging me to allow them work without helmets as everyone was laughing at them in the plant.  I felt very sorry for them but could not stop doing the right thing right. Slowly, safety culture improved and everyone wore a helmet. Looking back, I am proud of my decision to not follow the heard.

Being a pioneer is not easy but it’s an opportunity to create a legacy.

I raise my hat for my brave 1993 I&C team. I am proud of you.

 


To My Son
13 July 2019

My eldest son was doing his first year of engineering program when he consulted me regarding a scholarship that was offered to him.

“If you start right, you will continue right. Look for a company that offers you the best development program. Trust them for five years and don’t bother with your designation, grade or salary. ” I told him and added:

1.      Be thankful for the opportunity offered as in “[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Lord of the worlds” Quran 1:2.

2.      Appreciate the mistake friendly environment as in “The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful,” Quran 1:3.

3.      Exceed your annual objectives as in “It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” Quran 1:5.

4.      Respect the codes even if not watched as in “It is You we worship and You we ask for help.” Quran 1:5.

5.      Follow the right ways as in “Guide us to the straight path” Quran 1:6.

6.      Seek the best ways as in “The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor” Quran 1:7.

7.      Intentional mistake is deal breaking as in “not of those who have evoked [Your] anger” Quran 1:7.

8.      Unintentional mistake is still damaging as in “or of those who are astray.” Quran 1:7.

As any father, I desperately wish to share my experience, granting my loved ones a better chance in life. When you value someone, you want him/her to start from where you ended.

But in doing so, we have to remember that all we got to offer them is nothing but our personal interpretation of success and that our loved ones are entitled to experimenting life on their own. Unless you are extremely good in convincing, chances are your loved ones would rightly insist on reinventing the wheel.

Be happy if they stick around to consult you and pray to Allah that whatever their hands touch shall change to gold.

(more…)

Believers Are Made Not Born
13 July 2019

Believers are made, not born. Human are born to believe.

A good business raises believers. A bad business raises disbelievers, who don’t believe in any vision, mission or values.

Experience got me to believe that a mission executed on values does achieve the desired vision. Yes, I lived the dream with those who walked the talk, promoted questioning attitude and accepted criticism. That’s when business elites embrace excellence as a behavior.  Don’t get me wrong, they were not perfect but they were genuine.

1-   Walking the Talk:

I learned that good businesses walk the talk or simply say nothing. Any other way, businesses will only raise disbelievers.

Surprised? Did you ever reflect on Quran chapter 61 verses 2 and 3:

“O you who believe! Why do you say what you do not do? It is most hateful to God that you say what you do not do.”

Did you ever wonder why Allah is still referring to those who don’t walk the talk as believers? It sounds strange, but it’s not.  It simply confirms that blind spots could cause believers to unconsciously not walk the talk.

2-   Promoting Questioning Attitude:

I learned that good businesses encourage their staff to ask “WHY”. Decisions are allowed to be questioned while top management commits to clarify and educate. Any other way, businesses will only raise disbelievers.

Surprised? Did you ever reflect on Quran chapter 2 verse 30:

“When your Lord said to the angels, “I am placing a successor on earth.” They said, “Will You place in it someone who will cause corruption in it and shed blood, while we declare Your praises and sanctify You?” He said, “I know what you do not know.”

If Allah does not mind being questioned, shouldn’t we?  Of course like angels, questions must be asked politely.

3-   Accepting Criticism:

I learned that in good businesses no one is above the law. Constructive criticism is encouraged and openly recorded as lessons learned. Any other way, businesses will only raise disbelievers.

Surprised? Did you ever reflect on Quran chapter 80 verses 1 to 11:

“He frowned and turned away. When the blind man approached him. But how do you know? Perhaps he was seeking to purify himself. Or be reminded, and the message would benefit him. But as for him who was indifferent. You gave him your attention. Though you are not liable if he does not purify himself. But as for him who came to you seeking. In awe. To him you were inattentive. Do not. This is a Lesson.”

Notice how prophet Mohamed, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, is being openly criticized by Allah and the incident is being recorded for ever as lessons learned.  If Prophet Mohamed could be criticized, shouldn’t we?

It’s businesses that raise believers or disbelievers. We need good role models to raise more believers. Otherwise:

“Our Lord, make us not [objects of] torment for the disbelievers and forgive us, our Lord. Indeed, it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” Quran chapter 60 verse 5.

 


Blame Culture
13 July 2019

“What is your advice?”

They asked after complaining about the “BLAIMING CULTURE“. I acknowledged the unfortunate behavior and advised them to be patient as all indicators promise a better future.

“Are you saying that there is no immediate solution?”They asked desperately.

“Oh yes, there is of course a simple yet difficult solution” I replied and added “cause we are not ready for it as we are still emotionally driven. Unfortunately, we don’t like our authorities to be challenged or criticized”.

What if you were a CEO, what would you do different?” they asked.

“I would adopt an Operating Model that empowers the organization while strictly adhering to the established corporate codes and core values” I replied.

They correctly did not like my textbook response and challenged by asking “Could you elaborate please?” So I added:

“As a CEO, I would ensure that all management teams seek to equally satisfy my expectations, their staff’s and their responsibilities as follows:

1.     I would empower the staff and let all management teams to be elected within. For example, divisions under me will chose their own Unit Heads, Section Heads, Department Heads and Division Heads (my direct reports). So, only the trust worthy with good track records would be chosen.

2.     I would empower the staff and allow them to re-elect their management teams annually. So, there would be no place for losers and falsifiers.

3.     I would empower my direct reports by requiring Board of Director’s approval before I terminate or warn any of my direct reports. The Board would fairly listen to my claims and my direct report’s defense before making any judgments.

4.     I would empower the staff by requiring the CEO and his management teams not to make any decision before consulting their respective teams and recording the results. The final decision and the full responsibility would be of the CEO and the management teams.

5- I would collect all teams in the organisation in charge of monitoring effectiveness of governance and effective implementation of corporate’s core values under one division. This new division will report to me and the the board of directors.

As a result of the above Operating Model:

A.   The CEO and the management teams can no longer blackmail their direct reports.

B.    The CEO and the management teams can no longer blame their staff without justification.

C.    The CEO and the management teams can no longer violate corporate codes and values.

D.   The CEO and the management teams can no longer say different than what they do.

“Is this a proven Model?” they asked.

“More or less. But that should not matter as we are in the Future Accelerators era”. I replied.

The question is “Are we ready for it?”

 


Organisational Ombudsman
13 July 2019

“Oh would some Power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us.” Robert Burns, the great 18th-century Scottish poet.

Like human, societies and organizations have blind spots that prevent them from seeing their reality. Often, outsider’s fresh eyes can evaluate us better and draw our attention to areas of improvement.

Only decades ago, slavery was being practiced in many parts of the world. Luckily, I missed that disgusting period but the fact that no one back then thought twice that slavery was wrong terrifies me. I ask myself, what if I am making a similar disgusting mistake and I can’t see it? What if my blind spot is preventing me from seeing a possible disgusting reality? Trust me, such questions have shaped my personality.

The above part of history has taught me to “Honour the Past” no matter how ugly it looks. Had I lived those decades, I might have practiced slavery with the least feelings of guilt.

History has also taught me that if I want to overcome my blind spot and see my reality, I need to subject myself to uncomfortable situations. Unfortunately, we can only learn when we are uncomfortable. No pain no gain, right?  So, I have learned to enter uncomfortable dialogs with strangers.

I have concluded that others are right but they could be wrong and I am wrong but I could be right, so:

  1. Lets honor the past instead of trashing it.
  2. Replace debates with dialogs.
  3. Criticize friends when they are wrong.
  4. Defend strangers when they are right.

 


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