Who are you catering to?

I enjoy developing businesses. I enjoy developing businesses and looking at different angles on how to approach a business or influence a team to reach an objective, or to alter a behaviour. One of the worst things a person can do is denial, or believe that there is an excuse to mess up. I have news, that is no news at all. Everyone has problems in business, and everyone faces daily challenges, and most probably everyone thinks they are unique withe their problem. They are not. A problem has always been simple. It is a combination of constants and variables. It boils down to having the right people to find the right solutions. You see a company is not made of cash and assets.  A company is made of people. Investors bet on people. A great idea is worth nothing without the right people behind it.

I am helping a friend build his business. We worked on getting a deal in logistics from Kuwait to Safwan, Iraq. He specialises in low cost logistics throughout the GCC. He owns a fleet of 40 units, and a workshop. His work scope is logistics and maintenance, and project development. He is down to earth and has a winning spirit with the drivers and labours in the business. So we get a project, where the first delivery in on a Tuesday and we get notified on a Sunday. I ask him to visit the facility, and get things in order. On Monday I reiterate the importance of being there, and to get things in order, and walk through the operational process. Long story short, the transporter misses his window on Tuesday, and on Wednesday misses new requirements and specifications from the company. He is lucky to get a third chance if any.

I have discussed with him the situation and his downfalls. In the beginning he came with all kinds of excuses on why the delivery did not go through, and what other transporter problems have been with the company in the past. I explained, neither myself nor the company cares for any of the excuses. Then i asked the question: “Since you messed up twice, did you go and apologise, and obtain the details they need directly from them?” Unfortunately the answer came back negative.

You see my friend missed business common sense. Who are you catering to? The company as a whole, that is true, but most of all, your are catering to peoples ego, prestige and politics. A good businessman realises that they all play a part in developing the company, and will make decisions from the small clerk, the accountant and the security guy towards your benefit or against you. Building the business is about winning the deal, keeping the business is about catering to the individuals that work for the company, and with you.

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The real spill…

Sun Dec 21 2014

Its a new year with new beginnings for Kuwait. 2015 will be full of economic growth and prosperity due to the funds already allocated for mega projects in Kuwait despite the decline of oil prices. The UN awarded the the Kuwaiti government 3000 million USD, or 1 billion KWD give or take a few; for the purpose of treating the oil contamination from the invasion.

The Kuwait National Focal Point (KNFP http://www.kuwaitnfp.org ) monitors the project on behalf of the UN and makes sure the funds are allocated correctly. SEED (http://www.seedinit.org ) a program partners with the UN that works the same way, but it is due to environmental damage due to the oil rigging itself. The operations of both activities are managed by the KOC (KOC), and thus you must be contractor approved for both categories 58 & 59; Preferably 59.

To specify the problem in simpler terms; we have contaminated soil. Or crude oil mixed with sand. In some instances, sand, water, oil, and chemicals. The objective is to have a separation process. If ever a project applies where pure engineering exists, than this is it! You can have it as a chemical separation, mechanical separation, or separation by heat (thermal), or a combination of all three.

My question for you is this: This is a problem known to us since the early 90’s The babies at that time, are married with children now. Some of them are engineers. Where are the local University Engineering schools involvement in this? Where is the chamber of commerce funds to improve national wealth and well being? Where are the private universities with the top banks, and the top companies in Kuwait? why are they not getting together, to have multiple designs to compete and build, and sponsor, and create out a major problem, a National product? Why did the KPC not act?

When do we think for ourselves, rather than have others think for us?

#Education #commerce #independence #Ministry_Of_Education #MOE #KUWAIT #UAE #ABUDHABI #DUBAI #SHARJAH #BEAAH #KSA #PRIVATIZATION #Oil #environment #remediation #KPC #KOC #KNPC #ARAMCO #SABIC

Second blunder managers in Kuwait make…

I have had my share of managers in Kuwait, and have discussed with many of my peers, friends and colleagues how projects are handled in Kuwait. I am pleased to say, that some know their business quite well. I assume these individuals were the astute type, that understood every syllabi and gesture the professor made during his lecture. What is unfortunate is to find companies recognized as blue chips, and others sought out as pioneers and leaders in their field take planning for granted. Good planning produces good results, coming from great market research. Without the right foundation you cannot build. If a person wants to make the right decision, he needs to make sure that the right research is done; the right questions are studied to make sure the right answers are appropriate. Every manager prior to execution of an idea should follow the following steps: Market research, Planning, Budget against your plan, Execution against your budget, then finally you evaluate your results, and correct the plan accordingly.
A CEO finds three companies he own making profit at the end of the year. Company 1 makes KWD 500,000/– net profit, so he award 10% bonus. Company 2 generates KWD 250,000/–, and 15% bonus was awarded accordingly. The 3rd company profits were KWD 2,000,000/– and the CEO fired his manager! Why you ask? Simple, the first company, was based on a market research that showed a market worth KWD 1,000,000/–, so 50% market share is not bad. The Second Company had a market share worth KWD 3,000,000/– so it made sense to grant a bigger bonus. But the third company generated profit out of a market share worth KWD 50,000,000/–.
Without market research, there cannot be any future visibility, and therefore, there cannot be any justified expenses.

5 blunders managers make in Kuwait

One: Recruitment quality is not at its best. The role of human resource is tightened, more so, psychological review and evaluation on candidates is absent. The person hired as a qualified candidate for the position, should be tested if the position in the company is ready for him. Sounds weird? The individuals ambience should fit with the company. The company has to have the culture that will allow this type of person to excell. Also, the managers personality should match and be complimented with the new individual, to have the new recruit adjust to add something new. In essence a recruiter should locate the missing puzzle with the hired person, that the manager was looking for, as an extension to the manager. Finally, only hire smart people that can add something new, and remember that you are only as strong as your weakest link.

To be continued…

Share wity us your recruitment disasters!

Kuwait Mubarek & Iraq

Kuwait was always the center of growth and modernization in the past. It has contributed throughout the gulf region various buildings, schools, and hospitals. It was also the refuge for vacation for various parts of the world. It had one of the richest sea fronts in the world, and had ample opportunity to grow even further. Kuwait probably was the first in building commercial airports, airfield and airplanes, the first skating ring, the first private grocery store, the first innovative outlet or mall. All beautiful and wonderful achievement to Kuwait’s credit, which earned Kuwait the name “The Pearl of the Gulf”, and “The Arabian London.”
With wealth and shift of power, with men being men, with greed and excessive and uncontrolled control, Kuwait unfortunately started to deteriorate and wither as the leaves in the fall, whither and fall away. Unholy men were considered holy, with cabinet officials off to their own needs, and key positions awarded to non-credible individuals. The balance of power started to shift, and the country stopped growing and advancing as the potential it was awarded by law, people, and nature, started to fade, until there was no light.
Thirty years later, Kuwait is struggling from within, like a chick hatching its way out of its egg, or a caterpillar shedding its cocoon to spread its wing and fly like a butterfly would; Kuwait will emerge again. The law of the land is prevailing, the people have better understanding of democracy, the government understand better the mistakes they have made, and the people have not to blame but themselves for the outcome. Aside from the Mishref scandal, and electricity shortages, and the fight for land and licenses and the misdirection of where Kuwait is heading, and the confusion between whether Kuwait is a socialist or a capitalist; Kuwait came up with two positive flares, or beacons of hope: “Thikhir” a team of educated young individuals getting restructured to help build the country, and the “Tanmiya” or re-growth (prosperity) projects such as: The Jaber hospital, the 1st ring road, Fourth oil refinery, Mubarek port and much more.
I believe that Kuwait, Kuwaiti People, Kuwaiti Governments, and Kuwait Royal Family, along with Kuwait democracy all fought for the survival of Kuwait. We are strong and resilient individuals, which understand strength in number, strength in reason, and strength in friends. We fought hard to get where we are, and to get to where we want to go. Port Mubarek is an additional aspect of the planning and growth, as we grow and become stronger, our neighbors will become stronger through us and by us. The fact that a decision is made, is miraculous enough, now that funds are placed, that is a huge improvement to the sector, and credit to the think tanks of the country; furthermore that execution is on its way; my hats off to a speedy progress. You will find the same progress with the other projects mentioned. Therefore I would like all who participated in making these ventures work.
So the question is why Iraqi people are not happy with the new port planning and execution? What makes the new port a disadvantage to them? Do they understand the progress being made? Did Kuwait work on marketing this project to them? Did we spend time and money to sway the individual Iraqi citizens who have seen enough bloodshed in their life, and tired on the battles in and out, how this will promote life in their neighborhood, and how it will create opportunity for them and for their kids, how product can be cheaper, and how the Basra Port and the Mubarek port are one extension of the other! If not, why didn’t the Kuwait PR & Marketing move in that direction, don’t they know that communication should not be kept in the hands of opportunists and politicians after their own score of things?
A bird in the hand is better than ten on the tree. Wouldn’t the Iraqi citizen appreciate that at least we are doing something about it, and moving forward with it?

Mismanagement

Confessions of time mismanagement:

I often wondered how birds managed to build their nests in a timely manner for their eggs? Was food not an issue? Steering away from snakes and others was not a problem? Fighting with other alpha males for the best spot, position and lady is not part of their constant debate? Don’t birds deal with headaches, hunger, traffic, heat, flu, funerals, weddings, social hangouts, business, projects, etc. etc. etc. And the list goes on.

What about monkeys, they seem organized too. A grasshopper story is taught almost to every kid in grade school, everyone need to save for the winter, and to do that we have work diligently before the storm comes. What about the hare that lost the race due to not managing the allocated time properly and procrastinating, which cased is defeat by a hair!

I am the worst at managing time, although nature assures us that it is a natural instinct, fables stresses it as part of our daily education; unfortunately it is still not grasped. I met an old friend of mine yesterday that works from 7 am till 10 pm. Why? Is it dedication? The thrill of earning? Operah wakes up daily at 4 am, and is done with her gym work, and ready for business by 7 am. I have a cousin that built his own business, and runs his own company. A friend leading one of the biggest real-estate companies, and another leading the banking world. What do they have in common, I ask myself, except that success comes with good time management and dedication.