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Yasser Al Mimar- Leadership and Sustainability in Business
 

Yasser Al Mimar- Leadership and Sustainability in Business

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    Yasser Al Mimar- Leadership and Sustainability in Business Yasser Al Mimar- Leadership and Sustainability in Business Document Transcript

    • The Leadership Dynamics in My Personal Work Lived Experience By Yasser Al Mimar May 22, 2012
    • Table of ContentsIntroduction ........................................................................................................................................... 3Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness ................................................. Error! Bookmark not defined.Organization and leadership effect .................................................................................................... 3AUS Overview...................................................................................................................................... 4 SWOT Metrix at AUS ..................................................................................................................... 4Leadership Traits .................................................................................................................................. 5AUS and leading traits action ............................................................................................................. 5Sustainability and Organization ......................................................................................................... 7Sustainability on Stakeholders............................................................................................................ 8Sustainable Development & Elements of Sustainability .............................................................. 10 People category ..................................................................................................................... 12 Planet category ...................................................................................................................... 12 Profit category ....................................................................................................................... 12Conclusion........................................................................................................................................... 14References ................................................................................................................................ 15 2
    • IntroductionWith so many definitions of leadership I would say leadership is a common expression but it hascontain many diverse meanings which has been grouped in certain personal, a series ofbehaviors. I believe leadership is the ability to see things others cant, so the word leadershipcan indicate to the process of leading, this in turn, will lead to create process of social influencein the support and enhance of others such as people, organization and even country in theaccomplishment of mission. “Leadership may be considered as the process (act) of influencingthe activities of an organized group in its efforts toward goal setting and goal achievement” -Stogdill 1950: 3Ethics and Leadership EffectivenessHistory and researchers define successful leaders largely in terms of their ability to bring aboutchange for better or worse. So leadership could make the change in bad direction also but inthe eyes of some people consider as a good job, for instance, Hitler; great leaders in the historyinclude everyone and Hitler was part of leadership system but in the opposite direction. I wouldtherefore say a good leader is an ethical leader and the ethics are built from virtues, morals,values, and principles. In the same time I believe the personal ethics will produce effectiveleaders. Best example of ethical and effective leader was “Gandhi”. So without good ethics Ibelieve it is too difficult for a leader to develop integrity and truth or other traits that produceeffective leadership.From my point of view, ethics is playing an essential role in leadership process and I wouldstrongly say effective leadership is a result of ethical behavior and applying for the standardsmoral.Organization and leadership effectAs a style, leadership is intended to make things happen in organizations. Thus, leadership isplaying major role in organizations because leaders are the people who can make thing done. Itmeans without leaders it will be difficult for an organization to achieve their goals and in thesame time leader cannot lead without someone following. So it is like exchange relation, forinstance, when good leaders create safety for their followers this, in turn, allows the followers toperform and develop.Nowadays, most leaders are facing the challenge of recruiting and holding on to competentemployees in organizations, furthermore, they are working in multiple directions in order tomaintain the dynamics of the organizations work and achieve the goals that set for thefoundation or institution. I would therefore like to add comments and clarify some points aboutthe leadership form which I have experience with and how it has effected positively on ourorganization (AUS) 3
    • AUS OverviewAUS was founded in 1997 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi,Member of the Supreme Council of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Sharjah, whoenvisioned the university as a leading educational institution in the Gulf region. It is anindependent, not-for-profit coeducational institution. Based on an American model of highereducation and grounded in the culture of the Gulf region. It is academic institute and has avision to be the region’s leader in higher education, known for excellence and innovation inteaching, learning, research and service. I will not be talking about the founder “His HighnessSheikh Sultan” as a leader of the AUS organization but I would like to describe the person whotook up the chancellor position in 2008 and leads the university in a right direction - Dr. PeterHeathSWOT Metrix at AUSAs we know the SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is astrategic planning tool, useful for planning and decision-making at multiple levels within a firm,organization, foundation or business. For AUS I would summarize the SWAT phrases anddescribe the most important points since 2005 till 2010. Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities ThreatsAmerican model of Inefficient High demand for growing competitioneducation grounded in communication within education in the UAE from nearby publicthe history and culture university and beyond universities and smallof the Arabian Gulf privates of our UniversityDiversity and quality of Lack of comprehensive Increasing pool of Political and economic(faculty, staff, students asset management geographically situationand alumni) dispersed alumni committed to the universityU.S. and regional Lack of develop and Increasing appeal and Potential reduction ofaccreditation sustain the AUS awareness of American support from the model of education government of UAE and his Highness 4
    • Leadership TraitsLeadership is defined as “the process by which an individual determines direction, influences agroup and directs it toward a specific goal or organizational mission.” Furthermore, the traitapproach seeks to identify the personal characteristics and skills of leaders. This orientationimplies a belief that leaders are born rather than made and I believe the nature is moreimportant than nurture. From my perspective, I would say the leadership and leader are rolesperformed by certain people who hold distinct features to achieve the required goals. So theleaders who have these distinct requisite traits must take certain actions to be successful, suchas, sketch out clear vision, role modeling and setting goals.Based on that, I would add five traits on which I believe leaders differ from non-leaders include:directing/drive, honesty/integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability and communication. In thesame time we can define a successful leader is a person who has influence; his/her wordsimpact upon the actions taken by followers. Therefore, the performance of a leader ondifferent aspects depends on his/her qualities.AUS and leading traits actionFor the directing, it cannot be given if it is not known by the leader, and in the other sideleaders cannot lead if they don’t give a direction for people to follow them. This also applies forthe drive’s trait or quality because leaders cannot be success unless they have ability to drivechange within their organization and this turn will lead the strategy, planning andimplementation of change.For instance, Dr. Heath – the chancellor of the organization that I am working with have has aclear imprint on AUS and has done a quantum leap in the path of AUS strategic plan by raisingacademic standards and expanded university’s programs degree since 2009. Furthermore, hehas most important goal which is quality, so he directs AUS to attracting the best facultymembers, administrators and staff to serve the needs of the students and being part of theglobal system.About self confidence, I would say it is a tool which gives the leader inner strength to overcomedifficult tasks. People quickly sense a leaders self-confidence, and this quality results inincreased commitment and performance. From my point of view, I have seen Dr. Heath carryself confidence’s trait because it was key and is tied to effective his leadership at AUS. As Imentioned above the quantum leap has come from Dr. Heath Self-confidence which gives himthe courage he needs to take AUS—and himself—to a new level of success and this is whathappening in AUS now. I would strongly say this confidence comes from his previous success in 5
    • academic and work life “Dr. Peter Heath was the Provost at American University of Beirut for 10years, where he played a leading role in the rebuilding of that distinguished institution. Assecond officer of the administration, his scope of duties included every aspect of universityleadership. Prior to that, Dr. Heath worked in the US, where he made a distinguished record atone of Americas leading institutions, Washington University in St. Louis” so all these success Ibelieve were the results of the self confidence that Dr. Heath characterized by.Regarding the cognitive ability, I believe the cognitive development play main role in the formof leadership so when I am talking about the cognitive ability I mean the accumulated workexperience, intellectual maturity, awareness and ability to understand others and this itself isthe nucleus or seed to create the strategic thinking method in leader personality andleaderships mechanism. For instance and I would never forget the decision that Dr. Peter madewhen he has established a unit similar to “Transition Management Team (TMT)” TMTcommittee who are selected from faculty and senior staff at the AUS based on experience, skillsand qualifications, and the aim of TMT is to bring up a real paradigm shift into our organization.I believe this step is not only focusing on his wide knowledge or cognitively but I would stronglysay it is a part of the university’s sustained for successful future.In the part of communication, I believe the success of organization comes from leadercommunication skills. A leader must be able to communicate effectively if he plans to drive theorganization or his company to the right direction. So most of us would agree that leaders areindividuals who guide, direct, motivate, or inspire others and through effective communication,leaders lead, this in turn, will lead to result that good communication skills enable, enhance,and create the understanding and trust necessary to encourage others to follow a leader. Why Iam saying it will create a state of understanding because I have lived this period when Dr. Peterfilled up the chancellor position and how he analyzes an audience in every situation and startdeveloping a communication strategy that facilitates accomplishing his communicationobjective. For instance, since the founding of AUS and till 2009, the university did not have adivision for communication among the staff, senior levels and students. Dr. Peter Heath hasapplied the Leader - Member Exchange theory (referred to as LMX) at AUS which believes thatthe relationship between leaders and members in an organization develops over time through aseries of observations, tryouts, interactions and conversations (Graen, 1987). He establishedStrategic Communications and Media department which is connected directly to his office, thepurpose of this department as AUS internal aspect to get the useful proposals and opinionsfrom all categories then formulate it in properly form that serve the organization first and thenemployee. He was always saying the listening is an essential skill in any rhetorical situation so ifyou want to build up a right and trust communication between you and others you should givegreater attention to hearing what others say. For AUS external aspect Peter has a goal to 6
    • create communication language between the AUS and outside to sketch out a real picture ofthe university on the regional and global level, for instance, “Dubai Ports World UAE Region inJanuary 24, 2011 signed an agreement with (AUS), under which AUS will provide advancedtraining in leadership to management executives of the premier port operator.” Thepartnership deal was signed by Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and ManagingDirector, DP World UAE Region, and Dr. Peter Heath, Chancellor of AUS. From my perspective,the purpose of organizations leadership is not only directed to serve its strategies but theleader should make from the organization a tool to serve the society in order to lead hisorganization or foundation or even the firm to the achieve the vision. For instance, Dr. Peterhas gotten the approval from the board of trustees in AUS to establish a new elite businessdistrict in Sharjah through its Research Technology and Innovation Park. The idea for the parkwas inspired by the likes of the Tri-Centre Industrial Park in North Carolina in the US.“We hope to create a virtuous circle of us providing students who do well in these companies;who will then in turn offer research projects for our faculty and students to engage in” DrHeath said.This action is consider as a step forward to enhance AUS level and build up a structure ofresearch, development and prominent place for the organization. So Successful businessleaders must shape their organizations to be more solid and flexible, in short better organizedto deliver value and achieve the missions. I believe the distinctive leadership will providesdirection on the way of lead and shape organizations in the future.Sustainability and OrganizationOne of the most common and widely accepted definitions of sustainability is “meeting theneeds of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations tomeet their needs” (Bruntland Report, 1987). And, from my perspective I would say it is theprocess of living and working in a safe, in term of economic and healthy aspect which includesclean air, water and energy, where each of us and the natural world has the opportunity toflourish.Many business leaders work to build up sustainability into their day-to-day operations. And, allthese sustainability programs are often dependent on a key leader who is able to play a mainrole to achieve this mission. Therefore, a President, CEO, Manager, or even the Chancellor, forexample, who believes that sustainability is a key to the long-term success of the organizationor university, can help drive change and innovation that form the foundation for long-termgrowth 7
    • I would like to give some examples about the impact of sustainability at the organization or theuniversity as follow – it will  Reduce costs - energy cost and other power expenses  Preserve resources - as heritage or culture of that country or city  Enhance reputation - this, in turn will enhance the revenue and profit of the organization or company  Attract quality employees - the performance will be increasing and will enhance quality in workAUS has a notion and vision that youth, students and alumni have enough ideas to develop andsupport the country future but it is a question of adopting them and turning these intosuccessful ventures. Dr. Peter “chancellor of AUS” says only education and developing humancapital would ensure that the UAE could sustain today’s lifestyle, for instance, in the academicfield AUS offer new degree in industrial engineering - This degree will cater to the growing needof qualified professionals in this field throughout the region. This is done by the endeavor fromthe chancellor (Dr. Peter) and AUS board members for their commitment and dedication toward thedevelopment and sustain of the university.Sustainability on StakeholdersIn parallel with sustainability effect on organization, I would say when organization, firm oruniversity chooses to incorporate environmental sustainability in its processes; it can affect alsostakeholders in different forms but as a final result the stakeholders can be affected in largelypositive ways.The term "stakeholders" consist of different people category. Stakeholders might be customers,shareholders, employees, students, faculty and communities. All of these individuals areaffected by a companys sustainability efforts, and those efforts affect society as a whole andthe local or global environment.For example, in June 2011 AUS has lunched higher standards for academic buildings to sustainthe campus environment in general. The building incorporates the most advanced technologicalfacilities of academic infrastructure in the UAE and the region. “This building offers the bestpractices of sustainability, design and functionality.” Dr. Peter said. So the new building with allthese facilities and functions will impact into stakeholders. Below is a chart which clarify the 8
    • increasing of students enrollment after apply the new strategies and sustainability agenda plansto sustain AUS in order to meet the higher standard academic level 9
    • The Faculty members has been increased in 2011 - 2012Sustainable Development & Elements of SustainabilityThere are many definitions of sustainable development and all these definitions ultimately areflowing into one place which is meets the needs of people and making sure that peoplethroughout the world can satisfy their basic needs now without compromising the ability ofpeople in the future to meet their needs.The sustainable development is a new idea for many organizations and till date mostorganizations do not generally recognize the possibility of extending this notion into their localenvironment or to the world’s natural and human resources. Sustainable development,nowadays, I believe it shape one of the greatest challenge that affects every one of us in theworld, in the same time, this concept needs to be incorporated into the policies and processesof a business if it is to follow sustainable development principles.For Example, at AUS the higher management overseeing by the chancellor Dr. Peter has startedsince 2009 to activate the new plans and polices to meet goals of sustainable developmentimplementation. Dr. Peter has established and developing a meaningful approach forstakeholder about the new strategies because it is considered a vital aspect of thismanagement system, and one of the key differences between sustainable and conventionalmanagement practices. 10
    • When we say it is considered a vital aspect, the notion is to sustaining and enhancing thehuman and natural resources that will be needed in the future. From personal experience andas a member of web committee, in 2010 the Chancellor and Director of Strategic Planning havedecided to establish a web committee in order to change the whole AUS website and createnew website which is more communicating to the employees, visitors, and stakeholders. InSeptember 2011 AUS has lunched new website collaborating between SunGard HigherEducation and JADU, a global leader of Web transactional systems, to offer JADU Web ContentManagement to provide AUS with more options to improve the quality, quantity andmanagement of web content and in the same time to change whole web servers which wascosting AUS hundred thousand in a year by new VMs (Virtual Machines) which are cost less.As a result we can say sustainability engages and integrates in three different zones which aresocial, environmental, and economic systems and this integration has formed main elementsthat feed the sustainability effectively and permanently, they are people, planet and profitAUS since 2009 till date continue to help the stakeholders look at cost and environmentalefficiencies as well as at the growth prospects that sustainability offers. So from myperspective, the key concepts of sustainability revolve around the 3Ps. The people part includesthe ethics of how workers and the community are treated. It included ideas such as human’srights, labors and security. On the planet we can say the business taking responsibility for thelife cycles of the services or product which is used to ultimate disposal. I would say it is conceptthat focusing on reducing externalities (unintended cost) and minimizing resources use such as(water, electricity, carbon and packaging). For the profit part I would say it is relating with thejobs growth, cost reduction, waste management. 11
    • In the end of 2009 AUS and has sought to consider the environmental, social, and economicimpacts of its decisions and projects to incorporating the concept of sustainability into itsacademic and research programs, buildings and its organizational structure and management asfollows:-People category:  Chancellor of AUS- Dr. Peter and the provost work to enhance the quality of campus life and support greater involvement of students, faculty, staff and alumni in the activities of AUS  AUS pay good salaries for faculty and staff, giving a Self-Directed Employee Benefits Plan and providing a certain full insurance based on the plan that chosen from the employee  AUS has built housing complexes for the faculty to live on campus and by March 2012, AUS will lunch 100 living complexes in order to let large number of staff get live on campus  From AUS students view- most of students considered AUS as high standards academic education in the region. They have confirmed; It is needless to say that AUS is the most qualified university in the Middle East with some of the most professionally facultyPlanet category:  As I mentioned before, in 2010 the chancellor has taken his decision to establish Sustainability Department to strive and improve AUS campus environment  AUS enforce all resident on campus to use campus transportation services provided by transportation division and try to use AUS bicycle and park in bicycle stands located at several areas across campus to reduce the pollution and safe planet  AUS recently has banned smoking throughout the AUS campus, and in step of conserve energy at AUS  In 2011 AUS built new School of Business which adopted the best international practices of sustainability and conservation of the environment in terms of its design and usage.  “Reviewing and developing recycling initiatives that will not only be in the academic buildings, but also in the residential areas of AUS “  For social awareness, the office of sustainability at AUS organized a tree planting with the Day Care children from KG2. The keen children learnt about trees and their roots and together planted four Ghaf treesProfit category:  AUS is an independent and nonprofit coeducational institution  Recently the chancellor has enforced whole AUS departments to reduce the expenses and consumption by approve polices and creating ideas and suggestions to understand the concept of AUS economic growth, for instance, AUS cope with IT team will carry out 12
    • ranging from an upgrade to their wireless environment to investing in desktop virtualization and cloud services for disaster recovery and back up. The AUS believes that technologies help organizations reduce their carbon footprint and reduce the servers’ power and energy.  The chancellor has approved AUS waste management policy specially in academic department to handle all laboratory wastes in an environmentally sound manner and manage in practical, useful and innovative way  From my point of view, I would suggest to redesign AUS electricity and adapt system of all campus to be installed with automated controls, reengineered AC systems and energy efficient light bulbsActually Dr. Peter has a special look with the real perspective about the AUS profitability and Istrongly agree with him. He always assures that the any organization should develop strongrelationships with their customers in an effort to build brand and known base and this is whatwe are doing in AUS. For instance AUS has  Qualified faculty academic background,  Strong financial aid for undergraduate students / student life opportunities and  Employment welfare, Self Directed Employee Benefits  Offers 25 majors and 48 minors at the undergraduate level, and 13 masters degrees programs through the following academic divisionsIn the contrast, Social responsibility has also become an important matter for people. Mostpeople nowadays, want to invest or get benefit into companies that are giving back toindividuals and communities; AUS is considered one of these organizations which are workingto offer best opportunities for the students, faculty or staff to join AUS. (Diagram Below)“Education should benefit society as a whole, if it doesn’t; we have failed in our mission.”Peter said. 13
    • I would therefore say, organizations in general need to create a plan that includes the threeelements of the Triple Bottom Line in order make it work. In the same time building TripleBottom Line strategies into businesses is not a simple task but this work needs to be thoughtfuland managed to reach and get best results and achieve the mission.Conclusion:To sum up, change is a major feature that organization and leaders have to consider today and Iwould strongly say leadership can have a significant impact on an organization to direct theorganization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. In other hand leaders musthave someone they can lead in order to accomplish what they set out to do. So it is equationthe aim of it serve the organization or society and even the world.All these factors are grouped in my organization and have helped to identified the path of AUSto the right direction and contributed to build up solid base to achieve the goals and missions.The leader must defines the drawn goals and objectives which can be evaluated and resultsreported to demonstrate to stakeholders that the investment in sustainability initiatives isworthwhile due to the valuable results that can be obtained when applying this mechanism inany organization“Sustainability does not simply mean whether something can last. It addresses how particularinitiatives can be developed without compromising the development of others in thesurrounding environment, now and in the future - Hargreaves& Fink 2000” 14
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