April 2012 spotlight is on Debbie Nicol

This months spotlight is our new regular contributor to CLO-ME Debbie Nicol

1.      Tell us about yourself and your experience and time in the Middle East?

I fell in love with the Middle East the moment I stepped off the plane into the 39-degree humid Friday morning, to commence my new Regional Training Role back in 1997.  I had heard so much about the ‘exotic’ culture, yet I had never been here before and was instantly full of awe, and at the same time, full of shock!  I adored the culture and the ‘attitude’ of Dubai and the song ‘nothing’s gonna stop us now’ was a resounding confirmation!  I was blessed to have been implanted into an attitude of ‘make it happen’ in both the city and the company – however I was totally unprepared for the lengths we would go to ‘make it happen’.  For every one time of awe, there were as many times of frustration.  In a way, I was living an ‘oxymoron’ – an emerging desire and dream to make it happen, whilst still embedded in an environment in which my first impression was of a ‘Personnel and Purchasing Office’.  Somehow I both survived and thrived!  I look back with the fondest of memories, and recognize my few years out was a clever move also!

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

After a 30-year career of experiencing L&D roles up to international leadership, it was time to honor my experience by sharing it with others! ‘business en motion’ has people and organizational development at its very core!  Whether we are facilitating strategic direction, change, corporate cultures or creating and executing f2f, blended or elearning environments, we know that we are moving both business and leaders ahead, across many industries in the GCC with a tried-and-tested and varied toolkit at the heart of customized solutions!

The business culture of ‘business en motion’ gains competitive edge with  one USP – a willingness and desire towards open-mindedness for opportunity, change and perspective.  No decision will ever be right or wrong but rather will simply yield different consequences and varying degrees of alignment.  This works two ways in our culture, firstly from the aspect of business en motion being open to seek an understanding of where the client has come from and where they currently are now! Secondly, open-mindedness is the key we seek in our selected clients to see if there’s a willingness to be an integral part of the changing world, the people and the business landscape.

3.      How easy is it for you to get direct access to the decision makers in your company?

This part of the world definitely works on ‘contacts’.  If you know someone who knows someone who needs your services, on many occasions the doors will naturally open.  Otherwise, we choose our first ‘point of contact’ very very carefully.

4.      What will be your biggest challenges in the next 5 years?

The greatest challenge we currently face is to discover leaders who genuinely see the value of reflection and connection in business.  When these 21st century leadership skills are applied in a business context, the impact can be so favorable.  The organization will be more flexible and less fearful, more change-competent, more intuitive and strengthened from the core.  It will stand tall with a vision, it will lead by example and there will be consistency of executive leadership.  We are currently working with one such ‘evolved’ leader with a contemporary concept, process and toolkit for leadership and organizational development, called ’embers of the world’  and the product ‘leading the corporate future’. Always in search for more ‘evolved’ leaders!!


  1. 5.      What skills and competencies do you think is needed of a trainer in order to meet the regions talent requirements?


Any trainer interested in working in this part of the world needs both flexibility and perseverance.   Having said that, should we still be hiring trainers or learning and development professionals ensuring less reactiveness and more proactive business-enabling capability!  What price could possibly be placed on a strategic and connected L&D professional who is both placed and utilized as a strategic enabler – could only be described as ‘priceless’ in my humble opinion!