New Book: Effective Business in the Gulf – Nicolai Tillisch








It is a long time since I have read ‘Does Anyone Know its Friday?’ a bible for many a traveller and businessman coming to the region. ‘Friday’ is still a relevant book on the cultural differences to expect when travelling here. however, Nicolai Tillisch  uses his reading, research, personal anecdotes, stories provided by prominent local businessmen, along with case studies, to bring much needed insight to help business executives enrich their opportunities in the region.The book is aimed at the expatriate and local business community and begins with a perspective on business in the region through historical contexts, and then allows you to zoom in to your own special situation, to create your own success formula.

The book seeks to illustrate the various factors involved and the skills leaders should master to achieve success.  Tillisch chooses Mosaic as an appropriate metaphor for doing business. Mosaic, symbolises the “abundant opportunities open to everyone”.

Tillisch, weaves through the mosaic through historical context, which he suggests is not the best yardstick. He points out that the enormous change in the Gulf region in the past 50 years, have now formed a population, mature in their thought and practices of the world, but with a deep sense of their own roots and culture. Many foreign consultancies who try to impose their “Best Practices” will often fail when they do not appreciate that their ‘best’ is not always a Gulf region ‘best’. In the next ten years the region will have to deal with four trends which will likely transform business in the region: A mature marketplace; Increasing internationalisation of business; Growing complexity of business; Diversification of the economy fuelled by the need for “Nationalisation”.

In the second part of his book Tillisch asks us to consider our companies.  He asks us to reflect whether your business is “doing the right things” and ‘doing things the right way”. Are we continually assessing these and if so and we find that we are doing all the right things – then he suggests we have a “perfect business mosaic”.

The third aspect of the book leads us to consider our personal role as leader, entrepreneur, family owner. he brings us up to date with diversification, succession, the need for corporate governance, and leading from distant headquarters, and the leadership styles we may encounter. Finally,  Tillisch asks us to put our personal mosaic together. His Leadership Mosaic model and asks us to consider our business smartness. asking four fundamental questions:

1. How do I ensure business Smartness?

2.What are your personal standpoints?

3. What are your goals?

4. How do you follow up?

5. How do you develop your people?

Following this leadership approach says Tillisch has helped him lay out his personal approach as business leader. He has learned respect for trust in business dealings, ready to seize the moment, pay closer attention to the values of others, be less impatient. Working here has allowed him to let his passions shine more, and also to be sure in laying out his personal standpoints clearly and with close attention to detail so as to avoid as many  misunderstandings as possible.

Using his ten years of experience here in the Gulf, Nicolai Tillisch brings us a much needed handbook to help even the veterans amongst us take a new look at being effective in our business dealings. I am sure his attempt will stir up some comments from the oldies!

Nicholai Tillisch is the founder of Dubai based Dual Impact. Passionate about helping leaders and businesses to achieve their full potential.

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