There Is No Urgency …..!
From The Book – Psychology of Arab Management Thinking! See Images!
Also The Book – Between Us Only! Original Reproduced! See Images!
Both books published in September and April 2009 respectively! Over 10 years ago – and still not much has changed! Generally speaking, that is!
It was a great chance and opportunity to meet peoples of all kinds. I had made many friends, and I was also running away from others who wanted to be ‘friends’ too ……. In reality, I had just become a victim of circumstances and situations beyond my controls. In my life, I have always aimed to maintain my principles, standards and levels – part of my life’s focused principles!
However, on this particular topic, let it be said that many of the business peoples used to complain openly and brazenly to me. I do not know what I have in me, even in my work situations. I got attracted to such peoples like a fly to the dirt! It was a great learning experience to me.
When I was working for this oil company in one of the Gulf States, I was booked in an International Five Star hotel for a period of almost 6 weeks before they had given me family status accommodation. It was one of my most enjoyable parts of my life, because in addition to being allowed to use all the Company facilities, it was a great opportune and chance to meet many peoples from different parts of the world with different business ideas and proposals. My workmates – who were staying with me in the hotel – actually got somehow into sponsorships of businesses – they were locals (and some AGCC) from other parts of the country and they were too put in the same hotel.
It was a great chance and opportunity to meet peoples of all kinds. I had made many friends, and I was also running away from others who wanted to be ‘friends’ too – because these kinds of friends usually lands one in more problems and repercussions –devoid the few enjoyable times with their friendship!. No need to elaborate – except the point that in all my life trying to be clean and being principled, I did not want to start to ‘go bad’ at this stage. Besides yours truly is a very honest, faithful and loyal person by nature! Just a victim of circumstances and situations beyond my controls. I have always aimed to maintain my principles, standards and levels – part of my life’s focused principles!
Many of the business peoples used to complain. I do not know what I have in me, even in my work situations; I get attracted to such peoples like a fly to the dirt! It was a great learning experience to me. I am not writing about myself – please bear with me and for the benefits of the business community and others too who may benefit from my writing today – here are the common complaints (maybe it will make too in the business magazine, even if my ‘busted’ business did not!)
The complaints and grudges were mainly in:-
1. There is no sense of urgency, people just take their leisured times and conveniences to respond to proposals – or even acknowledge correspondences, what have you. Various chasers have to be sent before even this acknowledgement can take place! Sometimes despite various follow-ups, there is still dead silence.
2. Appointments are made from abroad. The trip (the whole of it) is planned along those lines. Sometimes to make the trip economical, a number of other places are to be visited that are arranged. So a fall in one has a rolling effect and repercussions on another.
When they arrive, 80% of the appointments (this is what they say!) are not kept. You have to wait sometimes 2 to 3 hours to get only a few minutes though you had planned for an hour or more in the first place. If the appointments could not be met, why were they not informed before they had left (to cancel the trip or postpone it) or at least to inform the local contact addresses given?
3. Most of reasons given for not meeting them are weak and lack credibility and foundation. They are ‘local’ issues mainly which could have been discussed or tackled later.
4. After making the proposal and all the supporting documentations etc. you get a polite response – we shall study the proposal and come back to you. Nothing materializes even after a considerable lapse of time. When you follow-up, the answer is still the same – we have not made a decision yet! Keep following, and then you get signals of ‘No’ (my last year article – learning to Say No – Part of the culture, customs and behaviours of not finding it easy to say straight to the face – No!)
5. There is no urgency in making decisions, even if the project has been accepted – or even has started. You have to be very patient and in your very best – as everything is painstakingly slow and deliberately postponed and delayed in taking decisions. The loser becomes you – if you keep pushing issues at stake!
6. The goals posts keep changing with flimsy and minor excuses. You never know what stage and status you are in, because ‘back to the drawing board’ are always the occurrences! Or what actually is required of you.
7. There are clear and open hostilities, personal differences, subjective ness, bias, indifferences etc to see – even for a First Time Visitor. That runs even in the so-called Management circles, for that matter.
8. You will be told – we have received regulatory and statutory support to proceed on the project – only you find it the hard and bitter way later that it is not so! Even the permission was not requested or the ‘contact/influential person’ on the other side is no longer available or has been assigned to another Department – and no longer useful!
9. Money payments is always a problem. You will be told – do not worry it will come, just few days more. Those days can stretch to weeks. Even months! You cannot start anything without being paid first – or there is real intention to be paid!
10. You will get others ‘who are also interested to join’ or asking you to abandon the original sponsors for new ones (choice to accept and betray – or stick to your business principles and ethics!)
11. Avoidance of conflict – is common and part of the nature. You will get by signals only that people are not happy or angry with you – unless one local member is straightforward and forthright (rare occurrence!). You are a guest (see 4 above).
12. When they come to visit you at your home countries, expect them to get subjective, personal interests, unethical and unprofessional ‘outside business’ requests (politely put!) It can be even be on other Company executives met in the meetings.
13. When you come here, they will send a driver or lower rank staff to meet you and show you around – some of them have even communications problems (language) and do not visualize the importance and profiles of the people visiting – for examples a local driver met a President of a Japanese large firm /enterprise. The driver did not even help in carrying his suitcase (or at least pretend to volunteer!).
14. Bias and subjective ness is often the case. More attention and emphasis was made to an European in the visiting team, though he was insignificant and Junior by rank, to the Singaporean who was three times his boss!
15. There is no agenda of meetings. If you are enterprising to make the minutes, disagreements will always arise of points agreed. (Vehement rejection of being taped and recorded, and for fear of proving these points are not even shown in such disagreements!).
16. ‘We have not agreed to these only, not these’ – are common expressions. This especially when it comes to makes advances / payments (or we did not understand this clause well, otherwise we would not have agreed to it!)
17. Lack of professionalism, ethics, etiquettes in business negotiations and dealings. Even that dinner planned before the business meeting could turn ‘sour’ by coarse shallow behaviours of some, especially after the Dinner!
18. They may act polite and courteous, but are always suspicious and not trusting by nature!
19. One in the visiting team spoke fluent Arabic, they would have nothing of it – but kept speaking to him in English, till the poor man gave up.
20. If you tried to speak in Arabic and had made a gaffe, they did not contain themselves not to laugh and sneer at you… For example one had intended to say – I see your wife is pregnant, ended in – I see your husband is pregnant (to the man about his wife – your husband is pregnant! – with Arabic feminine and masculine Grammar!)
21. They interrupted you whilst still talking and explaining things – and you lost tract of what you wanted to say in the first instance.
22. Show off wealth and power was dominant, the visit to the family farm and villa was always in the Agenda.
23. Subordinates and workers were treated improperly and harshly in front of the guests, especially the dispensable ones!
24. They looked down on Thank You notes after the occasion, and do not expect any from their side.
25. Many others – but for space reasons not included.
Finally the joke? There is some work that needs to be done? The Asian Manager says – Then I must do it! Whilst the Local would say – If it has not been done, why do you expect me to do it?
So dear Business Man / Lady – maybe I have been useful to day? You can e-mail me – just in case and for my Bank Account details! I cannot lie, I do NEED the money!
…….. End …………..
More on my books here at http://www.myownmajid.com