Being The Ear In Fear To Hear Spirit, During Corona: A RAPTalk by Susan K Furness, Senior Associate, Edgewalkers International


The dictionary expanded in 2020
The likes of CoVid, Corona, Nuovo-Virus and the Curve
New words like new kids making their presence fast known

On every corner of every block, at first causing a block in understanding
Yet fast copulating information, like a block-chain in action
Sparking a common question to be spoken out loud

What on earth is happening? In London, in Baku, in Wuhan, in Auckland, in New York, in Milan and now rolling in India

Igniting conversation, stirring debate, diluting hate
Igniting camaraderie, stirring emotion, diluting inventory on supermarket shelves
Until ‘to grab’ was fast called out

As sharing becomes caring
And abundance becomes good health, a full heart and not a full cupboard
The Ear in Fear fast attunes our listening

As a world full of leaders exercises muscles long dormant
Straggling behind in the viral Marathon
As CoVid makes moves beating Beckham’s best bends

Pressing professors, peculating researchers, causing presidents and politicians to shine in the mis-art of pontification
Stressing economies, taking out businesses, making headlines but not breaking spirit

As corona flows, so spirit ferments
Attracting new communities to join in prayer in chapels on Zoom
Causing window kissing grandma to #trend way ahead of the heady days of window shopping
Positioning plucky pensioners as the new maestros of meaningful crowd funding

But, what on earth is happening?
What is happening on Earth?
Those who know they don’t know what they don’t know, know that this too will pass, it will all be alright in the end.
And, if it’s not all right, it’s not the end.
This time in time is the gift of a new beginning.

Blessings In Disguise And The Six Gifts To Intention: By Susan K Furness, Senior Associate, Edgewalkers International


I almost always experience a sense of freedom when I am considering the polarity of a word or a situation. I notice I raise a smile as I look towards the other end of the word spectrum. Most often I experience a felt shift in relationship with whatever it is I am considering.

For example, way back I realized the positive impact of experiencing the dark to recognize light. Indeed, I notice that an issue or challenge can first appear dark, disturbing and even chaotic before metaphorically turning on the light to reveal its blessing.

Consider the energetic shift on this play on words. The two (business) statements mean the same. Try saying each out loud. Which sounds and feels more appealing, possible, exciting and lighter?

Our Objective is to ensure an Outcome.


Our Intention is to make an Impact?

The latter floats my boat.

Going back to ‘light’. Light also refers to weight. Do you agree that the word baggage feels heavy, but luggage feels lighter? In reference, you may know the idiom ‘carrying too much baggage’ or even ‘carrying the world on your shoulders’.

Talking of luggage versus baggage, in this curious, disruptive corona time the opportunity to let go of what does not serve any more has appeared as a blessing; from stuff, to habits, to ways of doing in business and life.

I notice the ‘tools’ I needed, or thought I needed BC (before corona), are no longer fit-for-purpose. This is especially apparent as I move through DC (during corona) to AC (after corona).

As I practice letting go, a synonym of surrender, I stand consciously in the present to ask, ‘what must I leave behind?.’ I notice I am talking in; I am listening to my heart before asking my head as I muster the courage to say farewell. Interestingly, in French ‘heart’ translates as ‘coeur’. Courage to Coeur Age, or the Heart Age. There’s blessing if ever there was one!

My love of wordsmithing fired up during my professional journey in Public Relations. Many moons ago I named a workshop ‘The Value of Vocabulary’ and another ‘The Gift of Glossary’. They are still in demand.

In 2008, I started my Edgewalker journey and began integrating Dr. Judi Neal’s modeling into my toolkit.

With practice, I am now able to look in different places for new answers, using word play to amplify the essence of the findings, as well as the build the equity of the message.

The Edgewalker ability to look in different places and/or walk between worlds is a significant blessing never more poignant than in this digital era. The ability to connect online, day or night is a gift of this time. DC it has given rise to omni-generations embracing omni-devices to zoom around the world on Zoom instead of a 747. It has seeded a whole new field of community.

In early DC 2020, a colleague said to me “we must remain decisively human in this digital era.”  This aroused my ethical commitment (as a marketer) to discourage a cyberworld smacking of content obesity and information starvation.

It’s a no brainer that (spoken) acts of love and kindness evoke love and kindness in others. In polarity, words can deflate, inflate and crush ego. This is likely to result in all manner of negative outcomes, when we want to ignite expansionary impact, right? On and offline, it is clear words matter.

However, in conversation online and not in-person means we immediately loose the support of three senses – Taste, Touch and Smell. This leaves Listening and Seeing at our service. Camera off or camera on, words really do matter.

Back to idioms or expressions, you may be familiar with the ‘calm before the storm’ referencing an often-noticeable period of inactivity or even tranquility before something quite chaotic sweeps in, with calm and storm in polarity.

I am sensing a period of storming as Covid-19 guidelines are lifted in many communities’ world over. I notice a pattern, a swell of despair.

“I am zoomed out….”. 

“I have Covid fatigue….’’.

“I thought I liked working from home, but I don’t; get me back to the office….”. 

Is this a reverse polarity at play? Could this be the storm before the calm? Is this a sign of the new normal, or as Ian Berry, my co-creator in said recently: “There will be no new normal. There will only be a series of not normal.”  If Ian is right, is ‘not normal’ a blessing in disguise for a new world order?

This lands beautifully at the door of the next Edgewalker Café entitled The Role of Community, especially in times of expansionary change.  Do join us on May 6, 2021.

Something Extra

The sub-headline promises six gifts of intention. They are woven throughout the article. They are also listed here in no order of priority. Like the Edgewalker Statements (link below) the order is to your order of the day.

  • Be Present: The first Edgewalker Skill is Sensing the Future. The blessing in disguise of DC into AC is we do not know anymore, so we can live in the moment, from here to here, instead of here to there!
  • Travel Light: One of the five Edgewalker Qualities of Being is Playfulness defined as A joyful sense of fun and creativity, an ability to keep everything in perspective. Stepping forth with luggage not baggage shows a determined lightness across a variety of definitions, from humor, to load, to brightness.
  • Words Matter: Integrity is a Edgewalker Quality and Connecting is the fifth Skill. Both remind that what we say and how we say it influences cause and effect.
  • Heart Knows: Some say intuition lives in the gut. I say this is the source of instinct nudged to life by memory recall. Whereas intuition ‘sees’ from the third chakra or eye. Known as the pineal gland it has a direct link to the heart. On the path of transformation, listen to your heart, before you talk to your head.
  • Listen to Hear: It’s not just you, we all need constant practice in the art of Active Listening. I have noticed that Fear can close off the Ear, so we Hear what we want to hear. Listen to the Heart. And notice the letters at work – Fear, Ear, Hear, Heart.
  • You: You are a blessing and the gift to universal intention. Enough said.


Edgewalker Qualities — Edgewalkers

Edgewalker Skills — Edgewalkers

Edgewalker Statements Are You An Edgewalker? — Edgewalkers

Susan Furness is a strategist known for bringing alternative solutions to the table, using a powerful mix of Business Fundamentals, Conscious Communications, Spirituality and Wellbeing. She guides individuals and teams ‘to look in different places for new answers to business, community family and life, while remaining decisively human in the digital era’.

August Spotlight: Where Are You Now? Giulia Buttery OEM UK


You’ve moved from the UAE, and we’d love to hear your journey. Tell us about your experience and what prompted the move?

After 5 years in the UAE, which I enjoyed very much, I moved back to the UK as I felt that it was time to be with my elderly parents.  Also, I had an established network back in the UK that I had built up over many years and was pleased to find that good connections always remain part of your ‘work family’.  Transitioning back was very smooth and I was quickly engaged into a project based in the UK, but delivering technical and training solutions to Khazakstan.

Looking back what were your high and low points of your time in the UAE? What reflections can you share?

The high points were working amongst dedicated local and ex-pat professionals, all committed to delivering projects that were of value to their organisation.  I made some lifelong friends too.  Luckily I quickly discovered local business networking groups, which allowed me to quickly make contacts (and friends) to explore business and social opportunities.

The low points were navigating through the uncertain economic climate brought on the 2017 low oil price slump, meaning that organisations were wary about committing to projects whilst they watched the uncertain economy at the time.

What were the biggest changes you faced when you  came to the UAE?

I was very lucky as I quickly met ex-pats who were willing to share their experiences and information about how to navigate through the red tape that a new country inevitably provides.  The information regarding practical things like visas, driving licenses, accommodation were quickly provided by good hearted people who had all been through the same experiences.

If you had your time again what might you have done differently?

I believe that I would have built up my contacts from the UK first and collaborated with different projects and initiatives to get firm commitments before moving out there.  At the time there was the luxury of  travelling back and forth with no restrictions, so this could easily have been achieved.  Now of course people are even more willing to meet and deliver via Zoom so the same can be achieved virtually, although you can never beat meeting people in person!

The Light Work of Cause and the Effect, DC (during corona):A RAPTalk by Susan K Furness, Senior Associate, Edgewalkers International


We know, what we know through experience, right?
Meaning like, it’s happened before
And if we are awake, we see a cause
But awake or not we get an effect.

Meaning like, if we like the effect, we know how to cause it again;
If we want to diss the effect, we can walk around it
Or not cause it
But that is if we were awake to what caused it, right?

CoVid-19 was swept under as it swept in
Still flummoxing leaders who hadn’t factored its effect
As the growth of nations is piped to the post by the growth of debt.

Experience says that the growth of nations is nourished by the growth of corporations
As they respond to the effect of demand-led supply.

No, scratch that;
As they respond to the effect of supply-led demand.

So, is this push and pull game of supply and demand in for a hard change as CoVid retreats?

Word on some streets heralds a new start
Shaken and stirred by the many causes and many effects as lock down took hold
Prompting a look in, as hearts speak to heads, modelling that sharing is indeed caring, and one team can have one dream
Rocking that common unity is present at the heart of community.

It can take moments, not years, for fearful to morph as fearless
The new contagion proving acts of love & kindness provoke acts of love & kindness, which in turn turn the table on cause and effect;
As push embraces pull and pull joins hands with push.

The heart asks the head to dance in union
and many hands join together to make light work of the light work of service to mankind
as man becomes kinder to Earth, our mother.




Susan Furness is a strategist known for bringing alternative solutions to the table, using a powerful mix of Business Fundamentals, Conscious Communications, Spirituality and Wellbeing. She guides individuals and teams ‘to look in different places for new answers to business, community family and life, while remaining decisively human in the digital era’.

Does Trust Matter? Rohit Bassi – ROI Talks Dubai

Does trust matter? Has anyone broken your trust? How do you warn others about this?  WARNING!!! the wicked ways of two-face is in your circle/network. Unfortunately, you will be unaware of such individual’s deception. Under the false pretense of helping you or others, such a person continues to act dishonestly in order to attain selfish, scrupulous and devious gains. Yes, my trust has been broken by such a person.
One of the most valuable values that exist in every part of your life is trust. Trust is the cornerstone of all relationships. We all want to build trust with our clients, colleagues, business associates, friends and loved ones. Trust is a value to cherish and within a second it could be broken.
Without trust, life and work can easily be miserable. You see trust is extremely powerful and dangerous. A simple definition of trust is the belief “that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.” Another definition that I read says “firm belief in the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing; confidence or reliance.”
Let me simplify it further. Trust means faith, hope, confidence thus it is a powerful act, emotion and word. What is the point if there is no trust in a relationship? This could be a relationship such as at work, friendship, family, government and love. The relationship is gone if there is no trust.
Even though trust is important and extremely powerful, at the same time it can be considered to be dangerous. Trust allows you to form relationships with others be it at work, with service providers, business deals, your career, family and friends.
The dangerous part of trust is that you have to take the risk to believe the other person or party will pull through for you. Yes, in life you will come across incidents where someone will break your trust. The emotion of mistrust unconsciously pours into different parts of your life such as your career, business, intimate relationships, friendship and family ties.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy states “Trusting requires that we can, 1) be vulnerable to others (vulnerable to betrayal in particular); 2) think well of others, at least in certain domains; and 3) be optimistic that they are, or at least will be, competent in certain respects.”
You can easily take the heartache of someone breaking your trust and unknowingly or knowingly damage your own behavior.
Trust is the foundation of all relationships (work and personal). Never let one person who broke your trust impact your faith in trust.
DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP COMMUNICATION THROUGH MINDFULNESS RESULTING IN LEADERS BEING ABLE TO LEAD WITH COURAGE, CLARITY, CONVICTION & COMPASSION Experience of 25+ Years | Delivery in 21+ Countries | Best-Selling Author® Developing Leadership Communication Keynote Speaker | Trainer | Executive Coach Phone: +971-(0)55-553-2275 Email: Speaker Website: Training & Coaching Website: LinkedIn: YouTube:

NO! Uzair Hassan 3h Solutions Dubai


Einstein said: “I am thankful to all those who said NO. Because of them I did it myself”.

NO is not necessarily a negative outcome concept.

We live with preconceived notions that we may not even be aware of. In usual conversations a Yes denotes a positive aspect and a No a naturally negative aspect.

What about looking at it in a positive light:

  • No taxes / No fear
  • No liabilities / No worries
  • No danger / No excuses
  • No doubts / No debt
  • No BS / No pain
  • No spam / No down-payment and so on.

No does not automatically denote a negative outcome or a negative approach.

In a similar vein Yes has its own variables.

  • Did you gain weight? Yes.
  • Did you get fired? Yes.
  • Did you fail your exams? Yes.
  • Are you in debt? Yes. And so on.

We live with certain ideas in our heads that engage a positive or a negative response. The words that resonate for these are Yes and No. We must see them in a slightly different light. At least keep an open mind. Approach life from a different angle. Don’t jump to conclusions when you hear the word No.

It’s a powerful word and also a full sentence. It can break relationships, create hurdles, it can act as a contraceptive, a party-pooper, a failure or a self-disciplining approach. It can be used defensively, to offend, to excite or to even initiate a negotiation.

Inability to say No can also hold you hostage, create challenges, waste time, lead you astray and create enemies. It is an answer to a closed question, a denial, a refusal, a win (No contest), a surprise (No kidding / No way) or even a free offer (No strings attached).

It has a broad range of uses including a way of freeing up your time to do more productive things, provide emotional escape and be empowering. We need to see this very powerful word in all its glory. A tool, of sorts. An instrument that can be utilized for all the above-mentioned reasons, and then some. It has to be heard with contextual sensitivity. It can create ambiguity with a question mark after it (No?). In Management circles it is the buzzword du Jour. Many articles on “How to say No” and “How to say no in 25 other ways” and “The art of saying No” etc. have been doing the rounds, teaching one and all to play verbal Jiujitsu.

It surely can help with providing freedom from unnecessary undertakings. One of the key components of teaching someone to be assertive is to enable them to say no comfortably.

It is one of the hardest words to utter, for most people. Specially if you’re an introvert, shy or submissive person or a people person. One does not want to offend or create schisms or to make someone angry or to make them feel rejected or…… Whatever the case may be, learning how to say No is critical in ensuring your time is spent on things that are constructive for you, while making sure people around you understand the reasons behind it and appreciate your honesty.

It still has negative connotations, clearly. But, since it also has multiple positive attributes as mentioned above, keeping an open mind may save you some ire in the long run.

Uzair Hassan

CEO, 3H Solutions Group

Dubai, UAE.

( / 00971506228126 – call or whatsapp /

An ex-banker and a serial entrepreneur. Trained / consulted in over 15 countries. Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM-UK) as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI-UK). Adjunct professor at a university teaching the executive MBA. Featured in over 20 different publications. Adviser to the American Leadership Board (ALB), Advisor to European Bank for Reconstruction & Development ASB team, A Board member at an OD/HR company & a member of Mensa.

Digital Dexterity Ash Naik Edcast Dubai


Digital Dexterity is the capability in an organization with the ability to deliver transformational business impact. As organizations invest trillions of dollars into digital transformation initiatives, it is quite normal to not realize the desired impact in over 70% of the projects. A problem that is regularly attributed to the lack of skills. Irrespective of the sources, challenges, or limitations of transformative efforts; research from Gartner suggests Digital Dexterity as one of the ways to realize results faster.

Digital Dexterity comes from Skills available in the organization or built as a part of the transformation initiatives. Over the past few weeks, we were looking for a framework to simplify skill-building by leveraging technology to help. This was not an easy endeavor with several variations, deviations and opinions making actionability a challenge.

Skill is the knowledge to perform action/s with determined results.

Acquiring skills  is just a matter of focus on three elements Knowledge, Action performance and deterministic Results. When we say technology to build skill, we therefore can focus on just these three functions or levers.



In the digital workplace and modern workplace, knowledge is distributed. Civilization today consists of inherent knowledge with relevance built into the design of all aspects of our work and life. As Don Norman writes in The Design of Everyday Things, “..knowledge exists in the users head (familiar) and in the users world (deducible) ..” From understanding the implications of a button to the intuitive application of effort, our world includes knowledge in the most usable form.

In this context, one way to improve the skill is to increase the knowledge in the user’s head or in the world. Knowledge in the head is subject to decay following the forgetting curves- unless imbibed in rituals or behaviors. The Digital Universe provides a fertile ground to enhance the knowledge in the world-where the user can easily deduce the actions to be performed- given the results are obvious. Improving the overall knowledge of users automatically improves the skills – a role that technology can easily play today.


Digital technology has simplified actions to the most elementary essences. Touch, press, drag, let-go along a dynamically changing two-dimensional canvas that provides audio-visual or tactile feedback. Skill therefore relies on mappings designed to reduce cognitive load and reduce errors in the interest of simplifying the path to the result.

Although the steps needed to accomplish the results may be larger, modern UX design relies on simple actions to attain obvious results in a repeatable form. The skills problem therefore, turns into mastering the sequence of actions problem. In addition to the next step decision, automation plays a role in building skills in the digital workplace. All UX designers have to focus on is provide cues and nudges towards desired results. The skills problem for action therefore reduces to identifying the cues and making decisions faster or recovering from errors quickly.


“Assume all errors that can be made, will be made” cautions Don Norman while providing the seven principles of a good UX. Although, this seems like a manageable problem, in the universe where simple actions, are arranged in innumerable ways to accomplish results; over time- complexity introduces new errors leaving users struggling to reach expected results. The paths of recovery therefore multiply significantly over time.

While technologies can help automatically enhance the skills of the digital population, over time, it becomes the hurdle getting in the way of competence. Most of the hurdles are removed over time through standardization and training but the costs to users and buyers is quite large when new services are introduced rapidly-with an intent to enhance productivity, improve outcomes and simplify execution.

Challenges to Skill-building

Simple focus on these three elements does not guarantee successful productivity enhancements for the digital workforce.  Constant innovation, improvements and changes leaves the room for development, distribution and embedding of the three levers inside all digital experiences. Let us look at the most common challenges users face in operating skills in the digital world.

Knowledge: Supplementing the knowledge of using software with features available in modern work-benches is not a straight-forward process. Feature names, operations, placements, designs and customizations by organizations raise the four following challenges.

  • What: What does this feature do?
  • Where: Where does a user find the starting point for a required result?
  • Why: Why does a process place requirements and constraints that hinder progress?
  • How: How does the present set of tasks lead to the desired outcome.

Overcoming these challenges in the past was a matter of training, similar processes and narrow specializations. With the widening range of activities, these challenges lead to higher support costs, lengthy trainings and long search overhead.

Actions: Given that actions have been reduced to the most elemental form, dynamic visual cues are the foundational elements of all activities. While several innovations stay the same, new innovations constantly surface the four challenges in actions powering skillful execution.

  • Start: Locate the start of an action that is new, improved or infrequently used.
  • Next: Given a location in the workflow, how does a decision translate to choose between the next immediate actions?
  • Recovery: In a multi-step dynamically evolving workflow, how do you rollback to the right point to correct the outcome?
  • New: Given the rapid pace of innovation, how does the new flow follow or differ from the older method?

Results: Even with the best UX, training and intelligence inherent in the current digital workforce, constantly evolving requirements obfuscate the desired results regularly. This raises the challenges along the three dimensions

  • Maps: Certainty of the desired result given the imperfect data in the real world.
  • Constraints: Confidence in the successful completion of the workflow given the limitations and constraints placed in real-time.
  • Decisions: Difficulty of making decisions with nuances that are not obvious or contain considerable overlap.

Digital Dexterity therefore requires solving for all the three types of challenges at the time of transformation and over the lifecycle of operations. The weight of each of these pillars evolves as time passes, experience is gained, markets evolve, innovation diffuses and demands on individuals change. Enabling technologies no longer mean providing the tools to get the job done; but require training, guidance, support and constant evaluation over the lifecycle of the digital workbench.

The potential returns of incorporating digital dexterity are clear across 100s of customers  leveraging MyGuide as a digital adoption platform that has been quantified time and again over the past year. In addition to speeding up the time to impact, organizations see training times drop, training effectiveness improve, user productivity improve and support costs go down.



The Case for Preferring High-Commitment (HICO) Over High-Potential (HIPO) Talent to Succeed in the Digital Age: Murad S Mirza


The Case for Preferring High-Commitment (HICO) Over High-Potential (HIPO) Talent to Succeed in the Digital Age

High-Potential (HIPO) employees have been the mainstay of many Talent Management systems for a number of years within progressive organizations to bolster Succession Planning initiatives.  Their ‘elevated’ status from the general workforce is often seen as an affirmation of the qualities needed to fill critical leadership positions in the organizational hierarchy.  However, such ‘talent segmentation’ is quite often the source of deep misgivings within the peer population and is widely seen as a latent way of rewarding ‘conformist’ behaviors which hinder the ‘dissentient’ nature required to boost innovation for staying relevant in a Digital world.  The term ‘Potential’ itself signifies a penchant for risk, gamble and uncertainty on predominantly ‘lagging’ performance indicators.  It also projects a more refined version of the dreaded ‘Normal Distribution Curve’, used to weed out the lowest performers within the talent pipelines, that has been frequently attributed to sapping the morale of diligent employees and incentivizing ‘cannibalization’ of ‘Peer Careers’ to secure sanctuaries in the ‘safer’ zones of the respective talent mapping technique.  Such divisive measures inevitably create negative energy within a workplace that is manifested in a number of ways, e.g., abrasive friction among peers, profound distrust of leaders, ‘faked’ engagement in organizational initiatives, hyperactive grapevine in corporate corridors, corrosive politics seamed within the organizational fabric, escalating attrition among disillusioned employees, damaged psychological contracts reflecting crumbling aspirations, marginalization of ‘inspiration’ triggers, etc.

Proponents of the HIPO approach are quick to point out several advantages that have ensured its place within the Talent Management initiatives.  Let’s do a brief analysis of the more common attributes propagated in the defense of having HIPO programs, as follows:

The aforementioned analysis clearly shows that the HIPO approach, despite its ‘trumpeted’ advantages, is profoundly inadequate to galvanize an effective Talent Management System for the Digital world.  Consequently, the term ‘HICO (High-Commitment)’ is proposed that is primarily premised on ‘genuine’ commitment being the prime driver of all intentions and actions of a conscientious professional who is routinely tasked to overcome difficult challenges in a precarious work environment.  It focuses on all the key features that are crucial to an individual’s ability to effectively utilize his/her talent in the most beneficial way while providing ‘wholesome’ enrichment in the respective context.  It goes beyond the assigned role(s) and incorporates other key factors with a significant influence on work and inculcates their influence in formulating a suitable portfolio of a strong succession candidate to core leadership positions. A visual depiction of its profound reach can be appreciated as follows:

Let’s take a brief look at the six key focus areas of HICOs, as follows:

Personal Well-Being

This refers to being highly devoted to all aspects of one’s own well-being while pursuing professional goals and objectives.  Quite often, highly talented people tend to marginalize health concerns, hobbies & interests, family & friends, old contacts & acquaintances, etc., as they focus on career aspirations by embracing stressful conditions and trying to impress influential sources of power with their professional abilities.  However, such ‘transient’ bonds cannot substitute the time-tested relationships that are generally needed in precarious situations to provide strong and reliable support for a balanced approach to life and profound self-reflection to recalibrate priorities in accordance with the ‘true’ passions.

Performance Obligations (KRAs/KPIs)

This reflects high emphasis on achieving excellence in the fulfillment of job responsibilities by consistently meeting/exceeding the defined Key Result Areas (KRAs)/Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).  An enviable record in the respective context is generally used as a barometer for assessing an employee’s suitability as a potential successor to key leadership positions.  This HICO aspect is shared with HIPOs, who covet its ‘magnetism’ in building a convincing case for their steady career progression up the corporate ladder.  However, KRAs/KPIs are predominantly ‘lagging’ indicators of success and not a reflection of how a person might do as a leader, e.g., prominent doctors/renowned academicians/accomplished engineers/technical wizards don’t necessarily make great leaders.

Functional Research & Growth

This refers to being highly keen on advancing the field of professional interest.  It includes active participation in peer forums/conferences/seminars, research projects and contributing articles on innovative viewpoints/techniques/approaches to facilitate the progressive development of the adopted discipline.  This enables cross-fertilization of ideas and strengthens the innovative mindset to overcome multivariate challenges in the workplace.  It also liberates the thought processes in envisioning novel ways of adapting to the dynamic demands of the Digital world.  Additionally, it helps to engage in an honest self-assessment of professional prowess that often gets masked by the ‘narrow’ demands of working in a particular organization.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

This entails possessing high level of ardor for actively participating in the initiatives pertaining to an organization’s promise on being a punctilious member of society.  It requires a penchant for service that goes beyond the professional demands of the assigned function and opens horizons for permeation of altruistic thought and meaningful contributions to the wider goal of ensuring a harmonious existence within the global community.  Such engagement prepares ‘potential’ leaders to be mindful of the ‘citizenry’ aspect of the organization, which is essential for taking proactive actions in mitigating/eliminating the chance of a misstep that might jeopardize the organization’s future in an increasingly ‘sensitized’ and ‘connected’ world.

Organizational Imperatives

This refers to being highly dedicated to the strategic priorities of the organization.  It calls for alignment of personal goals with the overall organizational objectives.  Such congruence requires unflinching determination to ensure organizational success in a cohesive culture based upon ‘progressive’ and ‘robust’ shared values.  It demands profound understanding of the key organizational challenges and unwavering confidence in the senior leadership to steer the organization in the desired direction.  It is facilitated by providing the ‘temporary’ benefit of loosening the ‘stringent’ expectations of the ‘psychological contract’ with the condition that the element of trustworthiness will not be egregiously violated by the top executives.

Career Development & Progression

This alludes to being highly geared towards gaining a clear understanding of the available career path and engaging in appropriate activities/approaches that ensure a steady rise through the corporate ranks.  It includes timely realization of the changing landscape within the chosen professional discipline and getting the necessary training and development coupled with relevant professional experience and pertinent academic credentials to present a strong candidature for progression.  It also recognizes the need for astute networking and ‘jostling’ for exposure in front of key decision-makers, who play a significant role in succession planning for critical leadership positions.  An important determinant for recognition in the respective context is the firm grasp of skills that foster innovation which has become the hallmark of the Digital world.  This HICO aspect is also shared with HIPOs, who generally consider and expect it as an integral element of Reward and Recognition, in addition to conventional compensation, for notable achievements.


HIPO employees have become a divisive status symbol and attractive poaching targets for ravenous competitors which has complicated the Organizational Development issues within business entities trying to thrive in a Digital world.  HICO provides considerable relief in the respective context by providing a more ‘wholesome’, ‘inclusive’ and ‘risk-mitigated’ application of a ‘truly effective’ Talent Management System.  However, it remains to be seen whether progressive organizations can extricate themselves from the complacency of continuing with ‘herd-mentality’ practices or will they muster the courage to adopt a more concrete way to assure a healthy stock of ‘capable’ and ‘reliable’ succession candidates for key leadership vacancies in the future.  I am betting that High-Commitment (HICO) will always trump High-Potential (HIPO)…

Murad Salman Mirza
Global Thought Leader

Feeling Into Tomorrow’s Reality Susan Furness Senior Associate, Edgewalkers International


If there is one thing I have long-since known, it is that you cannot know the future. So, when Dr. Judi Neal named “Sensing the Future” as one of the five Edgewalker Skills I was immediately drawn to the conversation.

The notion of Sensing the Future speaks to me in a number of ways.

  • Sensing the Future speaks to both the creative and logical me, reminding me you don’t know what you don’t know and you definitely don’t know the Future until it is has moved through being Present, to become the Past.
  • Sensing the Future stirs my sixth sense of Intuition into play to power-up other ‘sense intelligences’ (hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, tasting. When I combo the embodied knowing of intuition with what I (perceive) I know, I notice how graceful ‘movement’ becomes.
  • Sensing the Future offers me comfort as I give myself permission to stay present, to vision what could be next, but not labor on, or yearn for, what is next now.

I am nudged to consider the difference and/or relationship between Knowing and Sensing. The author Mark Nepo suggests its common to confuse plans with planning, dreams with dreaming and love with loving. Mark also shares that every book he has written has been discovered on the way to unplanned destinations.

This sparks a smile, as my legacy career has me ‘labelled’ Marketing Strategist. Indeed, my 30-year old company, Strategic Solutions bears the responsibility of its name in a (business) world I now know to be more fun, much more real and much less worrying in un-strategic surrender, especially as we navigate to AC (after corona).

I am not mooting the absence of the age-old stalwarts of the Strategic Plan – Mission, Vision, Objectives. Rather, I am appreciating the exchange of vocabulary to ignite a ‘different’ felt shift, or movement, in myself, the team, the client, the customer, the marketplace, the reader, the community …..and some.

Try these vocabulary exchanges on for size and shift :

  • Mission becomes Purpose which becomes Reason which becomes…
  • Vision becomes Reality which becomes New Reality…
  • Objective becomes Intention which becomes Sense…

The best part is you get to choose the Vocabulary Energetic that works for you and for your Sense of the Future, or perhaps your Sense of a New Reality.

Here’s some to practice as we make ‘quantum leaps’, noticeable or not :

  • Timeline becomes Pulse which becomes Rhythm
  • Strategy becomes Method which becomes Recipe
  • Tactics become Tasks which become Rituals

According to Dr Neal, the Edgewalker definition of Sensing the Future is ‘the ability to understand and embrace the future’.

Let’s take the last bit first.

Embracing the future is an ability we all have, as each breath we take carries us forward. However, it may not be an ability we recognize or enjoy.

I wonder, is this because the future is always just ahead of the point of arrival?

As I ponder, I am aware that understanding the future, especially one we don’t know, is where turmoil can kick right in. Enter the Edgewalker archetypes of change – Hearthtender and Guardian.

The Hearthtender – or Heart-Tender – looks kindly at me and says, para-phrased from Anthony De Mello : ‘Find truth in observation, not opinion….’ I take this as embodied observation by listening to the intuitive heart first, before asking my head.

The Guardian or Doomsayer steps forth looks me squarely in my knowing eyes and states : ’It will be alright in the end, and if it is not alright, it’s not the end….’.

I chuckle. That appeals to my sense of play, as well as my feel for the future, as tomorrow shows up, right here and now. Please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.


July Spotlight: Sohail Michael Pedari – Pedari Coaching FZE Dubai


  • Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.
    • I refer to myself as an international gypsy! I opened my eyes in 1971 in the old Dubai; 2 months before the full union took place with the last emirate joining in; as my parents had migrated from Iran in late 60’s and made UAE their home. Right after high school it was time to head out to Stockholm, Sweden where I continued my university studies in Hospitality Management. Stockholm was home to few of my close relatives and being ranked one of the safest countries in the world it was the obvious choice besides Dubai. The time in Sweden (15 years) opened my mind to many things and one of the most important of all was “absolute tolerance”. Those years shaped me into who I am today. I made my way to Italy as a professional in 2005 and continued to work in the luxury space within the hospitality industry; besides enjoying myself with the lifestyle and quality of life; and resided in Rome for 4 years. Again, a great city with immense learnings that broadened my view on many aspects in life. One of the most important learnings was to enjoy life and I mean every single day! Besides that’s where I met my partner in crime and wife Rita (whom I have been married to happily for the past 12 years). In 2009 I was offered an opportunity to relocate to UAE as a regional sales manager for the luxury chain I was working for in Rome (The Rocco Forte Hotels), which I accepted without a second thought, and with my wife’s support. I moved “back” to UAE on 31st of January 2009 and it has been an amazing ride since! I have had the privilege of working with amazing people within the hospitality and went off after leaving The Rocco Forte Hotels in 2012 to lead the global sales organization in Hilton Worldwide (Saudi Arabia & Bahrain offices) which in 2014 was followed by joining the Marriott International global sales organization and leading The Ritz-Carlton global sales in Middle East & India. My interest for training and learning start seriously to surface in 2015 when I was one of the sales training facilitators within Marriott International in MEA. Between 2015 and 2020 I certified over 500 associates in sales, revenue, negotiation, executive presentation and high performance trainings across Middle East & Africa, besides leading a multimillion sales department that won The President’s Circle in 2018 (top 5% of sales achievers in Marriott Int’l globally). Besides this I was a freelance co-active coach and worked as an internal coach in Marriott Int’l with the HR department to deliver group coaching and workshops. My burning passion for learning helped me when in August 2020 I waved goodbye to Marriott International and dedicated my full time to Pedari Coaching FZE and today I offer leadership coaching and learning solutions to organizations and professionals equally.


  • How would you describe the culture of your business?
    • At Pedari Coaching FZE the core values are the A to Z, and will not be discounted for anyone or any piece of business! I would sum it above in the following words: Daring, Innovative, Curious and Un-traditional.


  • How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company?
    • Middle East is not an easy place when it comes to decisions let alone decision makers! The best solution and time/money invested is in networks and through referrals. I sincerely do not spend a single $ on advertisements (traditional or digital) and instead put all my efforts into finding and connecting with healthy and productive networks that comprise of entrepreneurs and professionals that can help each other “grow” by “giving”.


  • What are your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?
    • The coaching industry is a relatively young one in the region; even with a high number of certified coaches; and has huge potential! In order to grow Pedari Coaching FZE into a 7 digit profitable business the urgency to get the right investors is key for a long term success plan, and in return to take coaching to a digital platform and provide organizations a “democratic” solution to the traditional and expensive coaching that was available to few high income executives.


  • What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements.
    • My experience has proven to me that time spent on learning about cultural differences is a time wisely spent! With cultural differences I mean breaking it down to micro-culture and not only referring to the nation a person comes from. The Global DISC is an area that I started exploring in mid 2020 and keep on digging deeper to eventually get my certification in 2021. When we can; easier said than done; identify the profile of the person who stands/sits in front of us only then can we understand “why we are not able to connect easily” or on the contrary “why we get along with a hassle.” I find the science of knowing people in a short period of time is indeed the most valuable and important one for me and my business!

Sohail Michael Pedari

Founder / Leadership coach / Learning specialist   Pedari Coaching FZE

Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone | +971 54 4469970 |

DIGITAL NOISE Uzair Hassan 3h Solutions Dubai


Not communicating is now no more a choice. No excuses. One cannot not communicate. If you don’t respond to emails or calls or messages, you’re actually communicating, clearly, your intent.

Channels of communication have multiplied exponentially over the last decade or so and are becoming harder to manage. E.g. the post I saw yesterday regarding a friends engagement, was it on Facebook? Instagram? Email? Whatsapp? SMS? Skype chat? Zoom chat? Linkedin? Messenger? Snapchat? or other myriad apps available to connect.

An average person tends to use 20-25 apps every month. This broad selection provides a boon as well as a bane. Focus is lost, confusion is rampant, invasive spyware is commonplace, privacy elements are lost along the way and we are enslaved by the constant reminder to check up on these apps, the messages they may have received and the posts that have been put up on them.

The lines have also been blurred in the categories that we use to try to manage our networks.   I receive Facebook friend requests from people I work with as clients, as vendors, as formal / official channel partners. If you wanted to connect, please use Linkedin as that is the professional mode. Blurred lines also mean managing these multiple & diverse channels without disturbing sensitive relationships. Its become even harder.

As if these were not serious issues, we add onto the above challenges, by not being able to focus as the Ding sounds go off every minute of everyday. Could be a Facebook post, a Linkedin post, an SMS, a Whatsapp message, an email received, an Insta post and so on. And seeing it becomes a matter of priority, just in case we miss something. It is not bordering on addiction anymore, it is absolute submission.

Human interactions have taken a turn for the worse, given all this digital noise. Our heads are bowed, not in shame, but in absolute capitulation to this phenomenon. One sees people at dinner tables, restaurants, walking the dog, whatever they may be doing, but, they are buried deep in thought and focus, with their devices. One even sees them smile or wince in anger, or viciously stab at their keyboards trying to get their side of the story across. Our lives are more intertwined with the devices we carry on a day-to-day basis than ever before. And it’s a slippery slope. More interesting models are coming out that can do much more, a multitude of new apps that promise to change everything, more access to “Friends” that are collected constantly. I know people with over 3,000 friends on Facebook, over 10,000 contacts on Linkedin and so on. Unrealistic, and, raising expectations that cannot be met.

Our appetites are insatiable. We are voracious readers and devour whatever information is sent our way. We are unable to shy away from a post / a message / a link etc. We hear that sound and our focus on anything we are doing, is broken. We must see what has arrived in our inbox.

If we do not manage / control this, discipline ourselves and focus, we would be left in the digital dust of our future past.

I think the time is ripe to introduce a service similar to Google, to collate and structure all the communication apps, to manage them better. Before things get out of hand. Or is it already too late?


Uzair Hassan

CEO, 3H Solutions Group

Dubai, UAE.

( / 00971506228126 – call or whatsapp /


An ex-banker and a serial entrepreneur. Trained / consulted in over 15 countries. Fellow of the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM-UK) as well as a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI-UK). Adjunct professor at a university teaching the executive MBA. Featured in over 20 different publications. Adviser to the American Leadership Board (ALB), Advisor to European Bank for Reconstruction & Development ASB team, A Board member at an OD/HR company and a member of Mensa.

When You Ignore Culture…. there is a social side. Ron Thomas Strategy Focus Group


“I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.”

I came across this article the other day and it resonated with me. A gentleman by the name of Greg Smith resigned from his role at Goldman Sachs not only with resignation but with an op-ed.

That was the defining statement from Greg Smith, the now-famous departing employee who resigned from Goldman Sachs last week via an article on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times.

What would your “movie reviews” look like

As I read the various commentaries about Smith’s article, it seemed like reading the movie reviews before you see the movie. That is, the movie being the actual resignation letter.

I would never get into the cause of this breakup because I have always said, in any situation, there are three sides: My side, your side, and the truth. What intrigued me after I read the resignation was his statement about corporate culture.

I visited a former co-worker a year ago who used to work with me on building an onboarding program. Her statement on my last visit was the same: I can’t stand it here and tell you that this is a great place to work because it is horrible.

Likewise, this past week, I had tea with another senior executive that I used to work with in the past. We reminisced about what started as the greatest place on earth to work but later turned into the place from beyond. And the amazing part of our conversation was that we both could pinpoint the approximate thing that began to send it downhill: a change in senior leadership.

As the Godfather would say, “how did things ever get so far apart?”

The Bait and Switch

What happens when the culture that you bought into changes? Consumer laws protect all of us from bait and switch, but when bait and switch as a concept infects your organization, you are on your own. When we start that new job, you signed on because you have bought into what sounds (and seems) like it is the place for you.

As you begin the journey, we all hope that this remains the case. But what happens if you start to notice that the culture is shifting or is on a slippery slope heading south? Whether we admit it or not, we have all been there — or if you have not gotten there yet, “just keep on living,” as my father would always say.

What usually happens is when we finally come around to admitting it, we realize that the thrill was long gone but, we were in some way hoping for a redux to what we signed on for.

Culture is in the driver’s seat

Culture, in so many companies, has shifted during these COVID times. The stress for survival has caused fault lines to appear in the cultural framework. These fault lines, if not properly examined and repaired, will eventually produce a level of discontent with the talent pool that is a breeding ground for this type of behavior.

One of the most important facts about culture is that organizational value systems impact the way change happens. Some key questions include:

  • What is important to us as an organization?
  • What are our values?
  • What behaviors are rewarded and recognized?
  • How is bad behavior dealt with?
  • Do the values and vision align with our daily decision-making process?
  • Who is really in charge?

These types of questions are extremely critical for leadership to understand because this is what directly influences the way change is accepted or not. Values are the guiding principles that should direct decision-making and the performance of work. This is not only what employees, but customers, expect from the organization.

Culture on display

The cultivation of culture is the same as the principle of cultivation in gardening: weeding, fertilizing, watering, and lots of attention. When you see a culturally driven company, you will see a company that, from the senior executives down to the mailroom, having a thorough understanding of what the company is all about.

I stopped in the new Apple store in Grand Central Station last week and discussed the new iPad with a store associate. The organized chaos from the sales floor showed that it was apparent that each one of these associates knew what their mission was about. The culture of Apple with their associates is a sight to behold.

With the advent of social media, this gentleman Greg Smith chose old media to display his feelings. This is not the last time that this type of display will come forward, but I do feel we should all take a look at the Greg Smiths of our organization, and regardless of your feeling towards how this was handled, recognize that this is your new employee.

When you ignore your culture, this is the by-product — whether it is The New York Times, Twitter, Facebook, or Glassdoor.

Twitter: @ronald_thomas