Welcome to 2021

What a year we all have had in 2020. The beginning of last year saw the Middle East in comfortable growth mode, tourism flourishing, the plans for Expo 2020 on track and economies stable. Then with no warning, in March we were all suddenly faced with what we thought was a short enforced lock down of two weeks and a new virus strain would be contained. How wrong we all were. Nine months of controlled public movement and masking, with sanitising our hands throughout the days, were all behaviours embraced by communities around the world. The ensuing shut down brought many business to their knees, people in fear , and many people returning to their homeland due to their workroles disappearing.

This has inevitably caused much stress, and indeed distress in the workplace and communities, with a huge world wide change in working from home, families juggling homeschooling, learning and development being halted and or transferred to an online platform.

These changes while implemented with speed and relative success, are causing stresses and strains to all. It is these challenges that our world of HR and Learning and Development will be working to address in 2021, with more need for workplace stress management, more listening and observing of teams to identify any indication of distress in our colleagues and employees, with a robust process and policy in place to support when needed.

Here at CLO-me.com we ourselves have had challenges to deal with, with work for some of us halting , while conversely those of us in the on-line business, stress coming from being inundated with requests for online solutions and manageing clients expectations. we’ve had experiences of covid, and repatriation, losses of dear friends to Covid too. More about how we’ve all coped in our next issue.

Here’s hoping that 2021 will bring less fear, more positivity, more work, leass tress, health and peace around the world. We look forward to introducing you to more contributors and articles from our regulars too.

Let’s create a platform of sharing our experiences and encourage each other to find the resilience to pull through this year with hope and more joy.

Happy New Year from the CLO-me.com Team

Ph.D. by Prior Publication: Professor Kuram Amin Bath Spa University

Ph.D. by Prior Publication is also known by other titles such as Ph.D. by Portfolio, Published Works, Published Papers, and sometimes even Ph.D. under Special Regulations. This type of degree is awarded to a candidate who has already published substantial work which could be recognized by the University equivalent to a traditional Ph.D. The prior research should be comparable to an accepted dissertation of a 3 years doctoral program. It should be novel at the time when it was printed and has to be an original contribution to the knowledge available in the public domain. This route was introduced and adopted in the UK, however, it is now being encouraged in other countries also.

It usually takes one year to complete the process but may be extended a year more if the committee of examiners believe that more time is required by the candidate to present a coherent image of his/her work. Before registration, the candidate is vetted for suitability, quality, and availability of the Supervisor. The criteria to register for this program are when a candidate can demonstrate a prior record of publications in peer-reviewed journals in terms of quality and although there is no minimum number of publications; at least four publications are the starting point in terms of quantity.

However, the quantity can vary considerably where the degree has been awarded on a single submission to sometimes more than a dozen articles. The eligibility may also require a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree with a gap of a few years. Please take note that this is not for candidates who have just graduated. The applicant should be an established researcher, practitioner, or professional with experience to show on the CV. All the work should be original, unique, well researched, coherent, and provide solution/s to problem/s.

Before applying for registration in the program, the candidate should make sure that he/she has enough work to submit by contacting the concerned person at the University. The candidate should also write a word wrap of 10000 words explaining how the prior research has benefitted the real world i.e. ‘what significant and specific impact has the published work had on professional practice?’

The process of assessing the portfolio is as same as a traditional doctoral degree where usually two examiners are assigned approving or disapproving after reviewing the portfolio minutely and viva voce. If the examiners are satisfied by the submissions and oral vetting of the candidate, then the degree is awarded. The process could be more exhaustive than then traditional route as aspirants may have names of several authors on their papers and might find it difficult to segregate their work and may be subject to more evidence and verbal explanations. The student is expected to be the first author in the work submitted. If the candidate is not the first author the contribution should be identifiable in the publication.

A supervisor is usually assigned to candidates pursuing this route, who guides through by choosing the papers from the bouquet of work presented so that a coherent body of documents and other material is submitted. The work is scaled on the freshness, the number of papers published, the quality of journals who accepted the work, the field, and how exhaustive is the peer-review. It can be said it is your most detailed CV of the applicant to date.

The portfolio may include academic papers, chapters, monographs, books, scholarly edition of the text, technical reports, documentaries, films, creative work in relevant fields, and other artifacts. The collection may be as diverse as feedback from the project sponsor, conference papers, patents, surveys, multimedia packages.

The Portfolio Ph.D. can be theoretically carried out in any field however Medical and Law candidates have been its prime source of admissions. Over the period now people have initiated to pursue this route in the field of social sciences. The business and management postgraduates are also now becoming interested in the Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA) by Publication which is being offered by reputable Universities and Business Schools.

The qualification is sometimes restricted by universities to staff or alumni. During this doctorate process, the candidate might lack access to labs or research facilities and even might encounter bias from traditional Ph.D. holders as all fields are not suitable for this category of doctorate. Thus it is very significant for candidates before deciding to join the qualification to consult the university management and talk to seniors about the access to the required facilities and support from peers pursuing a conventional doctorate. However the route is bound to grow more popular by time as people become aware and more institutions offer it.

Mr. Khuram Amin
Bath Spa University Prof_amin@outlook.com

Spotlight: Where Are You Now? Joanna Dawson

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

The key driver for moving back from the UK was to spend time with my father who was in the    latter stages of battling Parkinson’s disease. I knew there was not much time left.  At the same time I wanted to return to continue my International career based from the UK and re-engage   with the rich network that I have here, as well as my close friends and family.

What were the high points and low points of your time here and what reflections can you share?

The high points were between 2005 – 2008 when I was working for a UK Plc Whitbread and the Costa Coffee brand – supporting Franchise partners across the MENA region to grow their people and businesses.  I loved the travel, cultural exchange and the challenge of navigating operations and the day to day problems.  At the same time I was working for a ‘start- up’ really; we were ‘green eyed’ and pretty much learnt along the way – and made a lot of mistakes!  The leadership lessons I take from these years are priceless

Another significant high point was setting up Kompass Consultancy in Dubai with 2 business partners during late 2013.  Our Mission; ‘To inspire people and organisations to find performance and career success’ led to an intellectual and creative dynamic that continued to evolve over time. The sense of ownership for the first time of your own products and service was liberating, particularly after the hard graft of the first 2 years spending hours building the essential foundations.  Great to see that Kompass still flourishes and continues to support the region.

The lowest points had to be leaving Whitbread Plc and handing over – unknown to me – in the week of the peak of financial crash in 2008.  I had made my decision 6 months previously, so the timing was significant and ironic.  I was then out of work for the first time in my life in a   world that was totally fractured and de-stabilised.

What were the biggest challenges you faced ?

Looking for a job during a global financial crisis

Dealing with landlords and real estate agents!

Cycling across Cambodia and Vietnam with the Gulf for Good team to raise money to build a school: 500 kms in 5 days

Making the decision to finally leave – whilst knowing it was the right one!!

We’d love to hear about where you are now and your thoughts on what you will be doing in 5 years time. 

I am currently in the UK and have most recently moved into a new apartment that I proudly own  and can call home.  I think 5 years is a lengthy vision – certainly the next 2 years is about settlin into my own home, spending time with friends and family (which the pandemic has prevented) and working internationally and in the UK as a freelance coach and consultant.  I also want to join a great choir, get really fit again, travel to the places on my list of ‘must do soon!’ and  support a wider global community through my working practices. 

If you had your time again would you have done anything different?

Go more with my instinct; what FEELS right!

Sarah Christensen CEO Christensen Consultancy Dubai

1.Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East

I arrived fresh faced and ready for an adventure in the Middle East, 8.5 years ago. I had been working as an Occupational Psychologist in the UK for the past 9 years and was thoroughly fed up of the weather (I did live in Scotland after all!). So, after a chance encounter with someone from Dubai who kept raving about how good it was, I was game to try something new.

I started working as a Regional Talent Manager for HSBC in Dubai. The working styles, experiences, organisational culture and people were all mesmerising. I loved the pace and dynamic flow of people, places and ideas. It was highly stimulating. Through it all, I threw myself in, absorbing and learning at so many different levels.

I left HSBC after 1.5 years and moved to the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. Welcome to phase 2 of my UAE adventure, affectionally known as E11 – Daily Road Trip! In my role as Senior Group Talent Manager, I was responsible for creating and implementing the end-to-end talent management processes. What was great about the role was that there was so much scope for change. As a people person, I got such a buzz from coaching and developing others, particularly women. I worked with some fabulously strong, intelligent, ambitious women. I was inspired by them but also disappointed with some of the challenges they, and even myself, faced in the workplace. It was unnecessary, unfair and downright archaic. I was passionate to do more.

So, after the birth of my son, I re-evaluated my purpose and took the plunge to set up my own business. I was deeply passionate about supporting women in the workplace, particularly working mums. Having had my own ‘interesting’ experiences along the way, I knew there was a better way of doing things and I wanted to be part of that change. This wasn’t about building up the sisterhood, this was about making real change in organisations so that every employee had the right to be heard, respected and valued. Thus, Christensen Consultancy was born.

As a people development consultancy, I believe in performance through inclusion. I work with organisations to harness the potential of every employee. I do this by putting strategies, values and systems into place that will activate and leverage the diverse perspectives of teams and individuals in an inclusive and innovating way. This is because I believe that when people come together and embrace inclusion, they can achieve anything. 

I love what I do. I get up every morning and I’m thankful that I get the opportunity to be part of the change I want to see in the world.

What would be your ideal culture?

My ideal culture is a place where everyone is recognised for what they do and the value they bring to the table. A place where all employees have the opportunity to come together, participate in the discussions, be heard, fully utilised their strengths and create meaningful and impactful change. It may seem idealistic, but I truly believe it is achievable.

The greatest challenge I believe we have in achieving this is, letting go of our old, preconceived notions and ideas about what will work. Our unconscious biases, while they may be an evolutionary mechanism to help protect and keep us safe, hinder our evolution. For many leaders, it means letting go of control, power and ego and for some, that can be challenging.

Instead, it is about moving towards humble leadership; dealing with emotion and engaging people with a sense of meaning and purpose so that they have the freedom to create and innovate without fear of reprisal or repercussion. It involves creating a space where employees can take calculated risks and fail but learn from that failure. Then get up a try again. It’s about building a growth mindset.

How open are the decision makers to this narrative?

I learned early on in my business development that, for many leaders, the concept of Diversity and Inclusion was seen as a fluffy, nice-to-have HR thing that we ‘need’ to do as part of sustainability. Inclusion was about having a women’s group and changing a broom cupboard into a nursing room for breastfeeding mums (yes this is what one company proudly announced they did for D&I!). Many leaders failed to see the significant impact inclusion could have on their business, and more importantly, their bottom line. I quickly learned how to position the narrative so that decision-makers could hear.

As with any change process, the first stage is about education and presenting the business case. ‘How can an inclusive culture make you more money’. There is now a wealth of evidence and examples of this that the business case for D&I is pretty clear. Having a diverse group of people at the table, engaged in solving the most complex of customer needs, is more likely to result in innovations that will positively impact the bottom line.

But it’s more than just having a mix of people at the table. A diverse group alone is not enough for such success. It’s about having a leadership team who are capable of harnessing the potential of employees, to innovate in a way that can ultimately differentiate your business and create sustainable business growth for the longer term. It’s about inclusive leadership. Once decision makers understand the principles of inclusive leadership and how it impacts growth and the bottom line, then change can really begin.

What are the greatest challenges for businesses over the next 5 years?

I believe that speed of change is going to be one of the greatest challenges to businesses over the next 5 years. In order to be sustainable in the future, businesses need to be agile and quickly adapt to whatever new norm comes up. To do this, organisations need to innovate and iterate frequently and quickly.

Creating an inclusive culture, where every employee can participate and has a growth mindset, can positively impact an organisations ability to be agile and stay ahead of the curve. Inclusive leadership gives employees the structures and freedom to innovate to meet the ever-changing needs of the customers. Therefore, inclusion can create sustainable business for the future.

I also believe that there is a growing shift towards the gig economy. This shift towards hiring in specialists and experts in the field on a project-by-project basis can be a game changer for organisations. This flexible approach to talent management can allow organisations access to talent they may not have been able to access before. Such agile project teams allow businesses to affect change much more rapidly than in the past. I believe we will see more organisations moving towards the gig economy in the foreseeable future.

What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet these future talent requirements?

To create inclusive leaders, we need individuals who are comfortable with and can create a culture where growth mindset, appetite for risk and openness to experimentation is the norm. This involves building trust so that the team are free to innovate to meet the needs of the business at that time. It means getting rid of the control, power and egos that can exist within the realms of leadership and instead harness inclusive leadership principles to leverage the potential of people. It’s about educating people on how to create learning cultures and agile teams as well as how to utilise design thinking principles to solve complex and wicked problems. It’s also about how to put the structures around how innovation occurs, it can’t just be a free-for-all. These structures and the process through which innovation occurs, needs to be defined to ensure forward movement.

These skills and competencies are very different to those that have previously been ‘taught’ by many management programmes, therefore the individual themselves needs to have a growth mindset that they can learn something new too. My recommendation would also be to embed the evaluation and assessment of growth mindset into any new hiring processes. That way you can ensure you are getting the right people in create sustainability going forward.

3 Distinctive Traits of Top CEOs Gaj Ravichandra

Over the last two decades and across 5 continents, I have been privileged to be exposed to both the good and bad of Leadership at the C suite level. I feel it’s necessary to experience both spectrums of the Leadership continuum to appreciate what GOOD truly looks and feels like. 

Recently I wrote an article on ‘Can Do, Will Do & Will Fit’ which highlighted what aspiring employees and organisations should be doing to ensure a better alignment for sustained success. For me, this experience of alignment comes down to creating the right environment and culture, and this starts at the apex of the organisational hierarchy.  

Here are the 3 top traits I believe world class CEO’s must have: the non-negotiables!

1.    The Ability & Guts to Make Decisions

There is no doubt that the position of CEO is full of problems and opportunities. The problems that land on your desk as CEO typically arrive there as no-one else in your business is able to or willing to solve them. 

Making decisions that impact entire teams, organisations and customers is a critical competency and comes from a combination of knowledge, experience and skills. Being able to make decisions quickly (rather than suffering paralysis by analysis) with limited information is what makes this challenging. It’s relatively easy to make decisions when you have all the relevant information on hand.

Ability in this context refers to creating the headspace to bring together the relevant knowledge, skills and experience in a timely manner in alignment to where the organisation is heading, not just for the short term. This requires a sense of risk taking with quality information and support from those around you!

We need to be more agile and daring with the information we have to increase the value to those who believe in our business, from the employees through to our customers.

2.     Creating Drive

Drive is all about passion, conviction, energy and motivation. As a leader, when these elements are demonstrated by the CEO, obstacles are more likely to be overcome, extra effort is expended on getting things done and higher levels of positivity are experienced.

Increased Serotonin is released within employees when they are energised and positively impacted by their leaders and their work. Commonly known as the ‘happiness chemical’ this hormone enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate more effectively with each other. Simply by undertaking work you are more passionate about and being exposed to leaders who demonstrate this drive, can result in higher levels of Serotonin being released.

Understanding what drives your people, your teams and organisation, allows CEO’s to lead effectively and to push the buttons required to achieve the most out of the organisation in a sustainable manner.

3.    Respecting Values

Ensuring people want to come to work is about creating a culture of inclusion. CEO’s should be authentic about who they are and employees should be able to genuinely behave and trust that their uniqueness, quirkiness and diversity brings increased value to the organisation.

Valuing diversity is not easy as it requires a willingness to listen to points of views that are not necessarily aligned to your own and to be open minded to suggestions that are different. As a leader, we must accept that we don’t have all the answers but trust that they can be found through the people around us.

I have worked with many CEO’s looking to grow their business who hire great people but then stunt the business growth by then putting these same people into a box, and only listening to them when convenient. Using a ‘growth mindset’ and accepting that diversity in thinking and style is critical for success will help generate greater returns. Park the ego and intensify listening!

What are the non-negotiable traits you believe world class CEO’s should demonstrate to get the maximum return for their people and businesses?

Published by

Status is online Gaj Ravichandra Paving The Way to Your Dream Career | International Career Path Strategist & Executive Coach | Co-Founder of Kompass Consultancy Published • 2d 12 articles What makes a great leader..? 🤔 Throughout my career I have been exposed to both the good and the bad of leadership, and there are certain character traits that stand out for both. Effective leaders have a massive impact on their teams – employees tend to be happier, more productive, and more.

Are Leaderships Traits Geographically Neutral? Paula Jane Cox

Let us take just one of them and see…

 ‘’ I was courageous last week Paula; I submitted the TRUE results of our team to the board’’

This one statement from a VP in a Leadership program I had facilitated, in the GCC, made me conclude my challenging stance with the word ‘’Courage’’ in the bank of Leadership traits…and challenging it is to be Geographically Neutral…

 It is tapping me on the shoulder non-stop.

Most global Leadership traits and articles will mention ‘Courage’ – being blessed to have discussed this topic with hundreds of Leaders across the world for 25 years, it always pops up… good ole ‘Courage’.

But this week, I am reminded, again, how easy it can be to forget the true geographically driven and cultural elements of any training or mentorship.

It is a serious lack of mindfulness, and we all need to remind ourselves of this topic, habitually!

So; what exactly is Courage? I am thinking on this rather bumpy flight I am (courageously) writing this on, from Kuwait, more so, what differences in context does it land with varied people.

Why? Courage in Leadership is such a subtle notion, and it means so many different things to people, mainly traditionally driven.

 It is another word that has no generic flat line meaning… it is certainly not geographically neutral! It is almost dangerous.

Ask ten different nationalities of Leaders what courage means to them, and they will give you ten quite different examples. Culturally mixed up with varied values and actions.

Cultures more driven towards submissive behaviors and hierarchical structures will not perceive’ ’speaking up, or taking unknown decisions’’ as courage, but indeed as insolence, and will be treated as such. The result can be static business behaviors, some call ‘safe’…

Cultures that hold almost bullish outspoken traits, will take the meaning of courage as being brave and some (many) businesses will group courage as maverick behavior…. against tradition, which as history tells us, can also cause huge explosive results.  End results can be a loss that hits a business to detriment.

 While courage is something that many people applaud, in some situations, bravery can appear reckless, overly aggressive, or downright foolish.

There it is, the word that always follows Courage, and that’s Bravery!

To be ‘’brave’’ means one has some ‘’fear’’

Fear, of course, is an essential part of life. Fear can keep people wedged, but it can also keep them safe from making rash decisions they will later regret. Healthy fear helps ensure a careful appraisal of any scenario before proceeding.

The dictionary definition of courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” 

The dictionary definition of Brave: ‘ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.’

Today, I heard a very enlightened Leader alter the word courage into Endurance… and on it goes…

The dictionary definition of Endurance: ‘the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.’

The cultural nuance’s and back knowledge and experiences of the word Endurance is an even bigger a topic!

I hope I am starting to give way to some deeper thoughts as to why using attributes and traits as set words, across varying cultures and businesses can be dangerous!

I always research my thoughts and when exploring the word Courage, I am embarrassed to admit, for the first time, I stumble across the fabulous Brené Brown.

{Casandra Brené Brown PhD LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.}

Google her, if you have not! she will not disappoint

Brené states: “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds.

This further embeds the cultural understanding of such a trait…

One of my regular room activities, is to give a group purposeful sharp and quick instruction; ‘To write about an Ice Cream’, no questions permitted…. Two minutes – Go!

Naturally, the results vary hugely, because people are writing in their ‘’world’’ telling their ‘’stories’’ and some will reminisce and write a vast creative story, (even known to create wet eyes in the room) some will write , (often alarmingly for me) rigid, data focused lists, including the freezing temperature of ice cream!!

For those curious types:  Since the ice cream isn’t just water, it needs to be a little below 32°F to freeze (One day I will write a book of the things I learn, in my learning)

The good and bad of ice cream will be geographically dependent from – ‘’it’s good a cooling desert, ‘’ to ‘’it’s dangerous to eat very cold food when it’s hot, we love expensive brands we buy.’’ – all very different, with intent, this shows many things. It shows their society upbringing, personality traits and cultural pictures.

I have also asked for anonymous ‘’results’ and often, I will take anonymous results, read them out later and ask people to guess who wrote this and spot cultural information. Its super eye opening!!

 The main point always is, if we ask 20 different people to ‘write about an ice cream’ without further explanation, expect 20 different responses, we will all be very aware of this, yet we often use the same old list of Leadership Attributes with little regard to how different Leaders and Cultures will evaluate the meanings.

If I did the same with the word ‘’Courage’’ – we would get a similar variant, but we mostly can reverse to a dictionary definition of this word. ‘Brave’ is almost a guaranteed commonality in response.

So, my question is: by using un-geographically neutral words, such as courage – are WE achieving the right results?

To say ‘’Courage’’; agree it as brave and challenging, is a dangerous and culturally ignorant stance! It is like taking two people to a skydive activity; If one fears heights, and one not; only one is exceptionally ‘’brave’’?

Resolve? Making every Leadership trait geographically neutral goes much deeper than a list of words.

Ultimately, we seem to agree that ‘Brave leaders’ take action amid uncertainty and risk falling short for a cause greater than themselves.

Why? Because unless leaders are willing to lay their psychological safety (i.e. pride and power) on the line for the sake of those they serve, no amount of smartness or showmanship will suffice?

There are many scholarship papers around on the Global Leadership Attributes, I discover, so are there on the word ‘Courage’.

Here are just some quick examples:

How does Courage translate in Singapore? (Predominately Chinese cultural driven, but also diverse)

Robert Yeo, CEO of Singapore Training and Development (STADA) and a member of the Learning Innovation Laboratory (LILA) at Harvard Graduate School of Education: “The people from Singapore are very global citizens. English is our first language and as a small state, we must connect to the world. We have a lot of cultural diversity. It takes courage to speak up. We also feel that it can be courageous not to speak truthfully because we understand the consequences of our speech, due to the diversity of cultures. We do not want to upset other cultures.

But in business we tend to speak up. In Asia, most business relationships are based on trust and respect – as opposed to the Western relationship of the “business transaction” alone. Due to that fact, I think that we Asians tend to be courageous and tell our business partners respectfully but honestly that something is wrong for instance – because we value the relationship, and we respect them. If you are acting from a “transaction” mindset – you may not want to speak up because it might jeopardize the transaction if the other person doesn’t take it too well.”

There are also many examples of over opposing views.

Giraffe Heroes Project, {The mission of the Giraffe Heroes Project is to move people to stick their necks out for the common good, and to give them tools to succeed.} started in the USA yet so far, 110 non-Americans that were awarded showed 33 of them are Asians.

‘’There are no Giraffe Heroes in China because that country has blocked the project, but we do not count heroes from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Singapore either.

 That is not because those people are not courageous! It is because they tend to have a different style and their actions may not be recognized as courageous. In-your-face actions might make people uncomfortable in Confucianist cultures.

An example: We from the USA were labeling people “heroes” who were working on hot-button issues such as violence against women in India. Our Indian partners were picking people who were quietly working on the inside to change government institutions – often at great bureaucratic risk. Heroism is filtered by cultural norms.’’

None of this cloudy debate of the word courage, is a new debate, yet I see and hear so many L&D professionals flippantly throwing these traits around, assuming commonality in understanding.

The early Greek philosopher, both mine and your friend, Plato (c. 428–348 BCE) set the groundwork for how courage would be viewed to future philosophers. Plato’s early writings found in Laches show a discussion on courage, but they fail to come to a satisfactory conclusion on what courage is.

During the debate between three leaders, including Socrates, many definitions of courage are mentioned.

“…a man willing to remain at his post and to defend himself against the enemy without running away…”

“…a sort of endurance of the soul…”

 “…knowledge of the grounds of fear and hope…” 

In one of his later writings, The Republic, Plato gives more concrete ideas of what he believes courage to be. Civic courage is described as a sort of perseverance – “preservation of the belief that has been indoctrinated by the law through education about what things and sorts of things are to be feared”. Ideas of courage being perseverance also are seen here.

Plato further explains this perseverance as being able to persevere through all emotions, like suffering, pleasure, and fear.

As a desirable quality, courage is also discussed broadly in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, where its vice of shortage is cowardice and its vice of excess is recklessness.

{This deepens my point; courage must be directly applicable to your business}

Thucydides, a 5th Greek historian said; “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”

I do not know about you, but unless one is in combat as a business, we do not want too much Courage in Leadership Teams?

I always ask my clients what Leadership traits ‘mean’ in their business, I am not always satisfied with the responses either, which then leads me back to my favorite hot topic of what Leadership means to individual organizations, and how loosely we conclude meaning around these traits…particularly to recruit Leaders… but I’ve covered this so many times, I won’t start again!

I accept that in modern times, courage as being primarily about endurance, not attack, but I still dig deeper to completely show that a word like Courage is a little too cloudy, and somewhat dangerous?

I don’t have a miracle algorithmic solution on how to be geographically neutral but if this has made us aware of the bland, over used Leadership Traits that google blurts out over 85.000 plus books on the topic, then I am happy!

I would be really interested in comments or interpretation’s, and indeed better solutions…publicly or privately.

Let us take just one of them and see…

 ‘’ I was courageous last week Paula; I submitted the TRUE results of our team to the board’’

This one statement from a VP in a Leadership program I had facilitated, in the GCC, made me conclude my challenging stance with the word ‘’Courage’’ in the bank of Leadership traits…and challenging it is to be Geographically Neutral…

 It is tapping me on the shoulder non-stop.

Most global Leadership traits and articles will mention ‘Courage’ – being blessed to have discussed this topic with hundreds of Leaders across the world for 25 years, it always pops up… good ole ‘Courage’.

But this week, I am reminded, again, how easy it can be to forget the true geographically driven and cultural elements of any training or mentorship.

It is a serious lack of mindfulness, and we all need to remind ourselves of this topic, habitually!

So; what exactly is Courage? I am thinking on this rather bumpy flight I am (courageously) writing this on, from Kuwait, more so, what differences in context does it land with varied people.

Why? Courage in Leadership is such a subtle notion, and it means so many different things to people, mainly traditionally driven.

 It is another word that has no generic flat line meaning… it is certainly not geographically neutral! It is almost dangerous.

Ask ten different nationalities of Leaders what courage means to them, and they will give you ten quite different examples. Culturally mixed up with varied values and actions.

Cultures more driven towards submissive behaviors and hierarchical structures will not perceive’ ’speaking up, or taking unknown decisions’’ as courage, but indeed as insolence, and will be treated as such. The result can be static business behaviors, some call ‘safe’…

Cultures that hold almost bullish outspoken traits, will take the meaning of courage as being brave and some (many) businesses will group courage as maverick behavior…. against tradition, which as history tells us, can also cause huge explosive results.  End results can be a loss that hits a business to detriment.

 While courage is something that many people applaud, in some situations, bravery can appear reckless, overly aggressive, or downright foolish.

There it is, the word that always follows Courage, and that’s Bravery!

To be ‘’brave’’ means one has some ‘’fear’’

Fear, of course, is an essential part of life. Fear can keep people wedged, but it can also keep them safe from making rash decisions they will later regret. Healthy fear helps ensure a careful appraisal of any scenario before proceeding.

The dictionary definition of courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” 

The dictionary definition of Brave: ‘ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.’

Today, I heard a very enlightened Leader alter the word courage into Endurance… and on it goes…

The dictionary definition of Endurance: ‘the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.’

The cultural nuance’s and back knowledge and experiences of the word Endurance is an even bigger a topic!

I hope I am starting to give way to some deeper thoughts as to why using attributes and traits as set words, across varying cultures and businesses can be dangerous!

I always research my thoughts and when exploring the word Courage, I am embarrassed to admit, for the first time, I stumble across the fabulous Brené Brown.

{Casandra Brené Brown PhD LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation – Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.}

Google her, if you have not! she will not disappoint

Brené states: “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds.

This further embeds the cultural understanding of such a trait…

One of my regular room activities, is to give a group purposeful sharp and quick instruction; ‘To write about an Ice Cream’, no questions permitted…. Two minutes – Go!

Naturally, the results vary hugely, because people are writing in their ‘’world’’ telling their ‘’stories’’ and some will reminisce and write a vast creative story, (even known to create wet eyes in the room) some will write , (often alarmingly for me) rigid, data focused lists, including the freezing temperature of ice cream!!

For those curious types:  Since the ice cream isn’t just water, it needs to be a little below 32°F to freeze (One day I will write a book of the things I learn, in my learning)

The good and bad of ice cream will be geographically dependent from – ‘’it’s good a cooling desert, ‘’ to ‘’it’s dangerous to eat very cold food when it’s hot, we love expensive brands we buy.’’ – all very different, with intent, this shows many things. It shows their society upbringing, personality traits and cultural pictures.

I have also asked for anonymous ‘’results’ and often, I will take anonymous results, read them out later and ask people to guess who wrote this and spot cultural information. Its super eye opening!!

 The main point always is, if we ask 20 different people to ‘write about an ice cream’ without further explanation, expect 20 different responses, we will all be very aware of this, yet we often use the same old list of Leadership Attributes with little regard to how different Leaders and Cultures will evaluate the meanings.

If I did the same with the word ‘’Courage’’ – we would get a similar variant, but we mostly can reverse to a dictionary definition of this word. ‘Brave’ is almost a guaranteed commonality in response.

So, my question is: by using un-geographically neutral words, such as courage – are WE achieving the right results?

To say ‘’Courage’’; agree it as brave and challenging, is a dangerous and culturally ignorant stance! It is like taking two people to a skydive activity; If one fears heights, and one not; only one is exceptionally ‘’brave’’?

Resolve? Making every Leadership trait geographically neutral goes much deeper than a list of words.

Ultimately, we seem to agree that ‘Brave leaders’ take action amid uncertainty and risk falling short for a cause greater than themselves.

Why? Because unless leaders are willing to lay their psychological safety (i.e. pride and power) on the line for the sake of those they serve, no amount of smartness or showmanship will suffice?

There are many scholarship papers around on the Global Leadership Attributes, I discover, so are there on the word ‘Courage’.

Here are just some quick examples:

How does Courage translate in Singapore? (Predominately Chinese cultural driven, but also diverse)

Robert Yeo, CEO of Singapore Training and Development (STADA) and a member of the Learning Innovation Laboratory (LILA) at Harvard Graduate School of Education: “The people from Singapore are very global citizens. English is our first language and as a small state, we must connect to the world. We have a lot of cultural diversity. It takes courage to speak up. We also feel that it can be courageous not to speak truthfully because we understand the consequences of our speech, due to the diversity of cultures. We do not want to upset other cultures.

But in business we tend to speak up. In Asia, most business relationships are based on trust and respect – as opposed to the Western relationship of the “business transaction” alone. Due to that fact, I think that we Asians tend to be courageous and tell our business partners respectfully but honestly that something is wrong for instance – because we value the relationship, and we respect them. If you are acting from a “transaction” mindset – you may not want to speak up because it might jeopardize the transaction if the other person doesn’t take it too well.”

There are also many examples of over opposing views.

Giraffe Heroes Project, {The mission of the Giraffe Heroes Project is to move people to stick their necks out for the common good, and to give them tools to succeed.} started in the USA yet so far, 110 non-Americans that were awarded showed 33 of them are Asians.

‘’There are no Giraffe Heroes in China because that country has blocked the project, but we do not count heroes from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Singapore either.

 That is not because those people are not courageous! It is because they tend to have a different style and their actions may not be recognized as courageous. In-your-face actions might make people uncomfortable in Confucianist cultures.

An example: We from the USA were labeling people “heroes” who were working on hot-button issues such as violence against women in India. Our Indian partners were picking people who were quietly working on the inside to change government institutions – often at great bureaucratic risk. Heroism is filtered by cultural norms.’’

None of this cloudy debate of the word courage, is a new debate, yet I see and hear so many L&D professionals flippantly throwing these traits around, assuming commonality in understanding.

The early Greek philosopher, both mine and your friend, Plato (c. 428–348 BCE) set the groundwork for how courage would be viewed to future philosophers. Plato’s early writings found in Laches show a discussion on courage, but they fail to come to a satisfactory conclusion on what courage is.

During the debate between three leaders, including Socrates, many definitions of courage are mentioned.

“…a man willing to remain at his post and to defend himself against the enemy without running away…”

“…a sort of endurance of the soul…”

 “…knowledge of the grounds of fear and hope…” 

In one of his later writings, The Republic, Plato gives more concrete ideas of what he believes courage to be. Civic courage is described as a sort of perseverance – “preservation of the belief that has been indoctrinated by the law through education about what things and sorts of things are to be feared”. Ideas of courage being perseverance also are seen here.

Plato further explains this perseverance as being able to persevere through all emotions, like suffering, pleasure, and fear.

As a desirable quality, courage is also discussed broadly in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, where its vice of shortage is cowardice and its vice of excess is recklessness.

{This deepens my point; courage must be directly applicable to your business}

Thucydides, a 5th Greek historian said; “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.”

I do not know about you, but unless one is in combat as a business, we do not want too much Courage in Leadership Teams?

I always ask my clients what Leadership traits ‘mean’ in their business, I am not always satisfied with the responses either, which then leads me back to my favorite hot topic of what Leadership means to individual organizations, and how loosely we conclude meaning around these traits…particularly to recruit Leaders… but I’ve covered this so many times, I won’t start again!

I accept that in modern times, courage as being primarily about endurance, not attack, but I still dig deeper to completely show that a word like Courage is a little too cloudy, and somewhat dangerous?

I don’t have a miracle algorithmic solution on how to be geographically neutral but if this has made us aware of the bland, over used Leadership Traits that google blurts out over 85.000 plus books on the topic, then I am happy!

I would be really interested in comments or interpretation’s, and indeed better solutions…publicly or privately.

Top Tools to Use Alongside A Firewall for Network Protection In 2021: Tech Warn

Image from Pixabay.com

For over 25 years, firewalls have been the first line of defence in network security. They monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic and decide whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a set of predefined security rules.

Over the past couple of decades, we have seen an escalation in both the volume and sophistication of cybersecurity threats. We can no longer rely solely on traditional security tools like firewalls. We need to do more to protect ourselves.

Although cybersecurity should be the responsibility of every employee, it is especially important to HR and L&D professionals since they have access to a wealth of important personal information of employees and applicants. Hackers often target these databases to gain sensitive data. HR professionals are also crucial in creating a cybersecurity culture in the office, by initiating staff training, policy making, and more.

Dangers Threatening Network Protection

We are dealing with sophisticated threats involving cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence and machine learning, phishing, and malware. Individuals, governments, and business entities are at constant risk of attack and can no longer rely on firewalls alone to ensure online security. There’s a myriad of online threats that firewalls won’t protect you against. These include:

  • Phishing. Cybercriminals often try to trick users into compromising their own security. They may use enticing phishing emails to lure their victims into divulging sensitive information. In this case, permission is granted via the internet and the firewall may not be able to help.
  • Malware. In most cases, a firewall alone will not protect you from malware. That’s because most firewalls are not configured with the latest malware definitions to detect and remove viruses from your computer.
  • DDoS attacks. Firewalls are useless when it comes to defending against Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. This is a malicious attempt by hackers to prevent an organization from using its website by flooding it with traffic until the servers are overwhelmed.

Additional Security Tools

As you can see, there are still many areas of risk for your network even with a firewall. A firewall does not protect you from malware, spam, and DDoS attacks. You need to do more to protect your network. Here are the top tools to use alongside a firewall for network protection in 2020.

Antimalware

Having a proactive approach to cybersecurity will help you anticipate and prevent potential threats before they cause any damage. Anti Malware is designed to detect, stop, and treat viruses, worms, and other malicious software that may be used to attack computers in your network. Antimalware will detect and remediate potential threats by actively monitoring and updating defences.

VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the most effective tools when it comes to protecting your network. A VPN provides privacy and anonymity online by masking your IP address and scrambling your internet traffic. Using a VPN for extra protection ensures that nobody can look into your online activity or steal your data.

Vulnerability Scanner

A vulnerability scanner is another essential security tool to have in your defence strategy. This is an online security tool that can help you identify, categorize, and abate the risk of attack against your network. A vulnerability scanner can help you pinpoint security holes, coding bugs, and any other vulnerabilities in your network.

Email Security

Hackers can trick email recipients into sharing confidential information or inadvertently downloading malware into a network through complex phishing strategies. Using email security tools can help you filter phishing emails and block them before they compromise your computer system. Email security tools can monitor both inbound and outbound mail traffic, giving you complete control over your inbox.

Data Loss Prevention Software

Data loss prevention (DLP) refers to a set of tools and processes used by organizations to prevent the loss, misuse, or access to sensitive data by unauthorized users. DLP detects potential breaches or exfiltration transmissions and blocks them. DLP employs encryption, alerts, and other protective actions to ensure that users don’t maliciously or accidentally share data that could put the organization at risk.

The world has seen an escalation in both the volume and sophistication of cybersecurity threats in the past couple of decades. Using traditional security tools such as firewalls alone is no longer enough to protect your network. Individuals and organizations need other security solutions such as antimalware, VPN, DLP software, and email security to combat rising online threats.

David Cadelina @TechWarn.com

techwarn-logo-3.png30 N Gould St Ste R, Sheridan, WY 82801, USA
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December Spotlight: Priya Vijayakumar Credibiz Consultants

  1. Tell us about you, your experience and time in the Middle East.

Moving to the Middle East was never part of the plan but looking back I am glad it transpired that way. I arrived 22 years back, right at the cusp of an economic boom, to a region that was a perfect blend of tradition, modernity, diversity & opportunity. Then followed a long & successful career with a large multinational bank, during which I stumbled upon the learning arena quite by accident. Haven’t looked back since!

I am truly passionate about the work we do. It is an exciting and constantly developing area that allows me to indulge my dual passions of people and constant personal growth. As a learning practitioner I have found it critical that we stay current and informed, and that has been a tremendous driver of my professional development. It has also been exciting to see L&D develop and mature over the years as organisational leaders and HR functions understand the value of investing in their people. I currently work with a niche set of clients assisting with their goals around people development, organisational behavior, and skills, both technical and interpersonal.

In my personal time, I read, cook, learn dance & travel (used to at any rate!). I am also the proud mother of a lovely and accomplished young lady who is all set to go off to university next summer.

2. How would you describe the culture of your business?

We are part of a boutique learning consultancy. We primarily leverage on two things, our long experience in this region, which between us spans 40+ years, and our network which (I believe) is extremely important in this region. We operate in a client and future focused culture with a strong emphasis on values of transparency, trust & reliability in the delivery of our solutions.

3. What are some of the biggest challenges in the next 5 years?

The economic and geopolitical consequences of the pandemic will definitely be a huge one to look out for in the short to midterm. The far sightedness of the UAE leadership in easing up regulations and thereby the ease of doing business will bolster the investments in the country, helping to ease off the strain of aforesaid consequences. From a purely learning perspective, I would say the pandemic has set back the learning industry in the region a bit. With a preference, largely, of doing things traditionally, the “online” storm has taken organisations and people by surprise. There is also the challenge that learning could be neglected as a “non-essential” or “luxury” element of people development. Finally, I see a real disadvantage and possibly impact in people not having the opportunity to interact in a classroom environment. While the proliferation on online learning methodology has helped, it is no substitute for engagement in real time and the onus is on the learning community to ensure virtual learning is made as engaging and impactful as possible.

4. What are the skills and competencies that you would need to train in order to meet the regions talent requirements.?

Right off the bat one must keep in mind that investing in people and their potential is a long-term commitment.  The region is extremely attractive to a huge expatriate population with varying goals, some transient in nature. The workforce also represents that diversity and that would need to be kept in mind when suggesting learning solutions. There is also a huge focus, quite rightly, on the young national workforce in each country which needs to be catered to as well. With that as the overarching viewpoint, I would think that on the skills side the key areas of focus would be areas around Resilience, Change Management, Leading through challenging times, Virtual Sales Techniques, Emotional Intelligence Mindfulness and Wellbeing. From a competency perspective, I think organisations should start to focus on building a digitally enabled workforce who are commercially aware and skilled at leveraging the technology that will help them future proof their business model and manage risk better. Most of all the learning function must innovate and adapt in finding creative methods in partnering with their clients. We are in unprecedented times and what better time than now, to take stock and refocus efforts. It a pivot to the new normal for all of us !

Senior Learning and Development Consultant

Credibiz Consultants FZE
SAIF Zone, P O Box 8628
Sharjah, UAE

THE DEMOCRATIZATION OF KNOWLEDGE

Back in the day, people talked about “Knowledge is power” and held this knowledge close to their chests. Based on the premise that “I know something you don’t” and I am thus, more powerful. Their mantra, soon died a silent death.

With the advent of the Internet the paradigm changed. Knowledge was more readily available and distances as well as time commitments were not constraints anymore. Neither were financial obligations as the Internet had made it more affordable. All these constrictions once removed, paved the way for a more direct and easily accessed bank of knowledge, for the masses. It was revolutionary.

Then came the pandemic. Everything moved online. Not that a lot of it was not already online. But whatever was not, also became digital. Institutions across a broad spectrum, started offering free online workshops / courses / webinars / certifications etc. Even the ones that were paid engagements, were priced so low that an average person could access these as well. Training companies, consultants, educational institutions, libraries, governments, everyone started looking at digitizing their knowledge / information base. This mad dash towards digitizing knowledge became an inevitability rather than just a good idea. It is an evolution that has been a long time coming.     

Elon Musk’s Neuralink (Human-brain-computer-interface) could change everything, yet again. How we approach education, learning, information, knowledge et al. And, its multi-dimensional. It may end up going even further, by addressing neurological challenges like sight, paralysis etc. etc. It is, off course, a few years away, but, its impact would be far-reaching. Understanding its impact and planning for it (strategic as well as tactical) would be an informed move. 

Innovation-driven, strategic, disruptive, digital, AI-based business models are coming into the fore. Automation / Self driving cars / Hyperloop / Electric mobility across the different avenues of road, air & seas etc. is changing the way we commute, live and work.

The collaborative economy is seeing a definitive shift to the autonomous world. All these changes also impact knowledge requirements. Jobs are not being taken away by automation. They are simply evolving. The new world requires Urban Agriculturists, Augmented Reality Architects, Avatar designers, Hyperloop Engineers, Nano Medics and Extinction Revivalists. It simply requires a transference of skill sets, dovetailed with a mind-set adjustment.   

The most dangerous phrase in life has become “We have always done it this way”. If one simply learns to accept it, flow with it and learn from it. It can be amazing. The possibilities are endless. One just has to open up to them.     

There has been talk of commodification of knowledge, which cannot be denied. But the democratization of it surely has a deeper influence / bearing on the current environment.

BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) brought in a shift, but it was either a simple geographical move or an economically driven re-positioning. It did not change the face of skill-set requirements per say. What the current revolution is bringing to the table is a complete shift. Skill-set upgrades are / will be the norm.  

The overall democratization of knowledge has also been enabled & boosted by other aspects, including Open Source, Crowd Sourcing / Funding / Peer-to-Peer lending, Shared Economy aspects, digital distribution etc.

Since the choice of what one accesses has been blown wide open, now, more then ever, one needs to ensure relevance and applicability of knowledge. Passive consumerism of material available has moved into active choice. Choice is key.

Although Facebook, Alibaba, Uber and Airbnb were disruptors and their approaches were visionary, the skill set requirements for these models did not change and their impact on work / knowledge requirements were nominal. Facebook changed the content development model, but it remained a content development focus nonetheless. Uber changed the concept of a taxi but the taxi aspect remained consistent per say. Airbnb provided a new approach to hotels and short stay options, but essentially, it remained a stay option. Alibaba hit hard on the distribution angle but essentials remained intact.

Unlike all the above examples, Tesla had a profound impact on knowledge / skill set requirements and continues to put pressure on developing skills that are relevant in the future. The Tesla model has put pressure on multiple support structures (Energy, including oil companies and gas stations / Insurance / After market parts & service channels / Mechanics / Emergency services, hospitals and legal costs due to the cars autonomous aspect etc. A substantial footprint across a broad segment base.  

With the new paradigms, knowledge / skill requirements are shifting fast. We cannot rely on the old norm anymore. We must change with the times or be left on the heap of history reserved for people who either did not see the change or could not flow with it. For the knowledge shift is not merely for a job, but to remain relevant for the future of mankind itself.   Re-invent / Up-skill / Re-skill / Re-think / Re-visit. Time is running out.

Simple Steps To Being Noticed By Applicant Tracking Systems Gaj Ravichandra

The most important technical tips to pay attention to are:

Keywords: since ATS solutions operate by scanning a document for words and phrases which are relevant to the job description, it’s important to tailor the keywords within your resumé to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a sales position, pepper your resumé with words that indicate this: selling, sales, negotiate, communication, and so forth. If you plan on using acronyms, ensure that you have defined the acronym when you first introduce it to your document. Acronyms are an untapped market for useful keywords. We will include a case study at the end of this article, detailing how one candidate utilised keywords effectively in order to multiple interviews in a relatively short period of time.

Formatting: ATS programs work off data, not visual cues. Resumés that have been formatted to please the human eye often confuse the electronic eye. As such, we recommend avoiding headers, footers, graphics, tables, charts, figures, images, or any other visual elements. If you wish to provide a summary of important information, use keyword-laden bullet points instead of full, wordy sentence. As we will discuss in the upcoming section, it is likely that you will need to adapt your resumé for each position you wish to apply for. By creating a simplified template, you will significantly reduce the time you spend adjusting your resumé. Select a simple, legible font such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri – the more exotic fonts are also known to confuse the ATS. Lastly, save your resumé in a format which is easily readable by a machine: .doc, .docx, or PDF are commonly used – however, always double-check with the application requirements.

Of course, once you have your resume in a good place format-wise, their other strategic points to bear in mind which will help you stand out:

Apply Selectively: we advise only applying to roles that you are qualified for. Both the ATS and a human reader will reject your application if your qualifications are not suited to the job specifications. Similarly, we advise against applying to every open job within a company. It is reasonable to apply for similar positions at a company but applying for positions with vastly different requirements or at different rungs of the corporate hierarchy may give the impression that you are unaware of your own skills or desires, or that you haven’t given enough thought to how you might complement the needs of the company. Remember to adjust your resumé and cover letter to the needs of the company or job requirements whenever you apply – tailor-made resumés are more likely to generate interest than generic ones.

Get Noticed by a Human: Online applications are wonderful and plentiful. However, the ‘hidden’ job market has up to half – if not more – of all available positions available so don’t forget to send your resumé to recruiters or engage with them via LinkedIn. We recently read an article that reported that over 80% of jobseekers rely on networking to land jobs, so be assured that good connections and networking skills can lead to employment. On a side note: we spoke a lot about making documents machine-readable, but it is also worth writing in a manner which is pleasant and persuasive for a human reader. People are convinced by stories, not just a string of SEO favourable terms.

Take Advantage of Social Media: Certain forms of ATS can scan social media accounts such as LinkedIn to determine which keywords and attitudes a user most-often engages with. With that in mind, you want to ensure that your professional profiles remain current with regards to the keywords, interests, and skills with which you define yourself as a potential employee. You might also consider tweaking your profile to suit a company’s most desired skills or most used keywords to boost your chances of becoming hired.

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A CASE STUDY OF A SUCCESSFUL JOB SEARCH

Amir is a 27-year-old business professional from Abu Dhabi who had accumulated five years of experience in marketing research in the international luxury retail sector before embarking on an MBA program in London.

The program opened his eyes to possible career pivots. He narrowed down his post-MBA job search targets to the below:

1. A strategic management consulting role with either a mid-size or large consulting house

2. A project management role in the digital marketing agency space.

3. Roles in London, Dubai, or Abu Dhabi.

With these variables in mind, Amir created various versions of his resume to position himself for each of these targets and sprinkled his resume with relevant keywords including:

Management Consulting Target: consulting, strategy, teamwork, leadership, presentations, problem solving, relationships development, analysis, quantitative skills, Excel.

Project Management: Budgeting, change management, current state assessment, due diligence, Excel, gap analysis, Kanban, process improvement, risk assessment, digital marketing.

For each version he also included geographic keywords such as: London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, international, global, Europe, Middle East.

Amir took both a traditional approach, applying to openings on job boards for which he was qualified, and also implemented a proactive networking plan to get his resume seen by real human beings.

The keywords included on his resumes were part of what helped him be noticed by a Big 4 consulting firm in London, two smaller consulting houses (one in London and one in Abu Dhabi), and several digital marketing consultancies. He found himself securing employment interviews within 2 months of beginning to distribute his resume, while many of his MBA peers struggled to gain traction.

That’s it folks – we hope you found these tips and case study useful! With these strategies in hand, I know you can navigate your way towards a successful resumé and eventual employment!

Don’t forget, we have created The Kompass Career Kickstarter, an online training tool created for people looking to land a new role or transition into a new career. To sign up to the training, head here: https://bit.ly/Kompass-Career-Kickstarter-Serie

The Story of This Time will be about Creativity Innovation & Resilience

Andrea Edwards, CSP – The Digital Conversationalist

It’s a completely weird time for all of us, which is a polite way of saying it, and regardless of where we live or what our current circumstances are, the majority of us are being negatively impacted right now. Dreams have been dashed, careers lost and fear continues to rise. The longer it goes on, the harder it will be.

If there’s one request I have for everyone, it is this. Give yourself permission to feel this moment. It’s the only way you can get past intense (and often negative) emotions and move into emotions and energy where you can do something to help your situation and the situation for those around you.  

One of the critical issues for many is job loss and job insecurity. However, one benefit of aging is you’ve not only lived longer but you’ve worked longer, which gives you more hindsight and experience of what it’s like to go through hard times, and I’ve had some corkers! While this time is like no other, I wanted to share some wisdom from my experiences.

Job loss and job insecurity

When you are out of work, or in fear of losing your job, it can consume you. Job loss, in particular, makes life unbearable. As the days, weeks and months go on, you wait to hear back on job applications (which usually means complete silence) or getting positive results from interviews. The waiting is awful and soul destroying.

When the phone rings or the email pings, you jump, hoping to have some positive news – but it’s just another spam message. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to keep positive.

The only way to not spiral downwards is to get busy creating and doing. On the doing front, plant that garden you’ve been meaning to plant, clean your cupboards out and donate to charity, volunteer for a charity, get involved in beach clean ups, and on it goes. Also educate yourself. Follow the futurists, understand what’s coming, learn a new skill, just learn!!

However, if you want to feel you have any control over your future, then start creating.

Create content

Launch a podcast, LiveStream, blog, YouTube channel, or other content. Stand up and speak on a topic you are passionate about, and it doesn’t have to be about the work you do – although you can definitely focus on that. Or you can even be a voice of hope right now. We need voices of hope!

Put your voice out into the world and show everyone what you stand for. Just the ability to master communication on digital channels will attract opportunities to you, because it’s still an uncommon skill.

I have people in my network who have been doing this and they are attracting more work in their field than anyone else. Others, who are talking beyond their work, are attracting opportunities they couldn’t have dreamed of before Covid19 pulled the rug out from under our feet.

Stand up, speak up, create, and see where it takes you. It will give you something to focus on and it will attract an audience to you, which also means potential work. Sitting at home in despair and worry will not help you achieve that.

The key thing it will attract is admiration. So many can’t move during times like this, they are almost crippled with depression, fear, anxiety and more. If you can elevate yourself out of the fear mindset, it will open doors and you’ll be more inspired in yourself.

Important notes: be deeply intentional in what you do. Have real purpose behind your message (to drive change, mindsets or to make people laugh) and it will resonate with your audience. Be there for them, not for you. This is the difference most people miss.

Also remember, don’t just be about you. Participate, support your community, help others rise and they will help you in return #GivingEconomy. Social media is about being social not about broadcasting. Participation and support is core to success.

Or innovate

Do you have a business idea or a solution to a problem you know needs solving? This is the time to get going, and don’t worry about doing it perfectly, or having all the money you need to get it going properly. Just get started. Write out the problem you can solve and the solution to it.

Put together a business plan – a comprehensive one and a straw man one that you are capable of starting today. Then get to work and talk about what you are doing and why you are doing it on social media. Build your audience before you build your business and customers will follow.

Believe me on this. Successful business in the last couple of decades has always been about attracting your audience first before getting all the pieces together – customers, partners, investors and more. This is the time for innovation.

I ran PR for start-ups over the last 20 years and I can’t tell you the amount of companies that barely had a product, it was just an idea, and they were happy to talk about it – loudly, boldly, bravely. When the customers came, they started building the product.  Once the interest is generated, you get to work on delivery. It’s time for innovation. Create, conceive, but most importantly, talk about it!

If you want some inspiration and practical tools, check out Natalie Turner and buy her book, Yes, You Can Innovate: Discover your innovation strengths and develop your creative potential.

Detach

Here’s an important addition. Detach from the outcome. Launch your message or your product/service, talk about it, share your passion, convince your audience it’s valuable by being purposeful, intentional and focused in your message, and create your information in a way that matches the people you are seeking to reach. 

What I have witnessed in 2020 is people getting stuck into new ideas or dreams they’ve held off launching because life was always getting in the way, and they are doing it from a place of purpose.

They want or need work, or their current situation is unstable, however rather than sitting in an anxious state, they are just going for it and bringing dreams to life. They know this is the time for that, with so much uncertainty ahead.  

That’s the quality that will help you shine through. It’s not desperate, it’s not asking for anything, it’s not demanding too much from your network, it’s not annoying.

It’s all about sharing passion and valuable insight with your community, because that is where the opportunity lies. People admire this spirit, and opportunities are coming because of it. Look around, it’s happening everywhere.

If you’re scared, out of work, feeling insecure about your future, or any other negative feelings, ask yourself: what have I wanted to do for so long and never had the time to do it? Then do that.

Or you can wait for that call or email about that job you want, and you can keep waiting and waiting and waiting.

Own your voice, own your future. The story of this time will be about creativity and innovation. It always is when the world goes through tough times, so be a story of this time. Strap on your resilience boots my friends and get going.

Let me know if you’ve launched something new into the world this year? Or even better, if you’ve had wonderful and unexpected result because you did?

Are You Taking Care of your own Scheduled Maintenance? Ron Thomas

“The scheduled maintenance light came on; what do I do?”

As we enter the twilight of 2020, I thought of the comment above. My daughter would freak out every time a light flash. My reply was that it is simply time for the scheduled maintenance.

Every auto manual lays out a timeline for maintenance based on mileage and what needs to be done for your car to work optimally.

Design your owner’s manual

It struck me that this is the perfect metaphor for careers and life. However, we do not get an owner’s manual for our lives.

So, I wonder: As we close out 2020, what does your fictional owner’s manual say needs to be done?

This is not about a New Year’s resolution, which we have all been doing for years with a horrible success rate. No, your career strategy should be more in-depth. It is a live document that outlines the primary goal and your scheduled maintenance.

If you follow these steps in your car maintenance, you are pretty much assured that you will have a vehicle that will provide you flawless service over the years.

The same holds for where your work life is headed, however, a lot of us procrastinate year-in and year-out, and we can’t understand why we are not making progress.

Don’t live life without it

Sure, there will always be detours along the way, but if you do not have a plan, you do not know what direction to go.

Imagine driving a car and never changing the oil and filter, tires, or getting a tune-up, or doing any maintenance. It would be only a matter of time before the car failed to start, and if you want it running again, it will cost you a great sum of money.

However, if you handled the maintenance during those regular intervals, these problems, for the most part, would not be there. And the cost would be spread out because you followed the plan in the owner’s manual.

Albert Einstein said “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is the definition of insanity. This is the way, however, a lot of us have run our lives. We want stellar results, but as we bumble along, we do not adjust.

This owner’s manual concept will work, and it has proven time and again that it can.

Mapping success

I am a big fan of autobiographies in that I love reading about the obstacles that many people faced. The vast majority of folks would have found it easier to just give up, but they preserved, and in the end, it worked out.

They had a plan and they followed a plan. They created their own user’s manual and lived, breathed, and slept it. In the end, they succeeded.

You and I are no different. There are no short cuts. A short cut to success is short-lived. The jails and courts are full of people who tried to circumvent the system on their way to whatever they wanted to find quick success with.

There are a whole host of reasons for our complacency. No matter how much and how easy it appears to be, some will not make the effort.

The root cause of inaction

You must be willing to act, and you must be willing to sit and draw up your maintenance manual. Post your goals everywhere so that you are constantly reminded of them every day. My posting spots are my bathroom mirror, the dashboard in my car, and the desk at work.

I can’t live my life without seeing the reminders. Some days, I hate to look at it, but for the most part, it keeps me focused on the destination.

Distraction is another major cause of inaction. If we spent as much time on our careers as we do on Facebook or other distractions, we would easily be on our way.

The Internet is another time suck. I have friends that sit around and mindlessly Google search every available thing that you can think of. If you want it you must channel your emotions, behavior, and desires towards attaining whatever it is that you desire.

You are in charge

It takes self-discipline to persevere amidst all the distractions that we face today. Living a life of self-discipline is powerful and a whole lot less painful in the long run than regretting “what might have been.”

Sure, you will always have the Big D called DOUBT. It will eat away your ability to succeed if you do not remain confident in your vision and plan.

The thing that I have noticed about doubt is that at the time of the most doubt, you need to channel that into working on your project. Review, re-adjust and realign when you feel it coming on, and like a fog, the doubt will eventually rise and go away.

One thing you should always remember and keep paramount in your thoughts that you are in charge of your own owner’s manual. You design it, you live it, and you will relish the results. Success can be had.

As they say, it is not brain surgery