Higher Education System – The Weakest Link of MENA’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Higher Education System – The Weakest Link of MENA's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

  • Education & training, and the role of universities in developing entrepreneurs – both key pillars of an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem – are the least developed in the Middle East & Africa, as per entrepreneurs trying to grow their companies in the region.
  • The higher education system in the region is public and controlled by the political class, thereby denying universities the necessary academic freedom to breed next generation entrepreneurs.
  • Courses specific to developing communication and presentation skills of young graduates and future entrepreneurs are missing, and the brain drain following the Arab Spring has further depleted the quality of the region’s graduating workforce.
The higher education system in MENA is the weakest link of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. This seems to be the key takeaway of a recent report by the World Economic Forum that compares the Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe. As per the report, entrepreneurs worldwide view accessible markets, funding & finance, and human capital & workforce as the three most important pillars when it comes to the growth of their companies.
And while Middle East & Africa (MEA) is better placed as compared to other in emerging markets like Asia and South America in terms of market accessibility and access to funding, the region has the least developed human capital workforce among all the regions, required for the development and growth of a successful entrepreneurial ecosystem. And the reason is not very hard to find.
Education & training, and the role of universities in developing entrepreneurs, both key pillars of an effective ecosystem, are the least developed in the MEA as per entrepreneurs trying to grow their companies in the region. Therefore, it is not surprising that the region has the least developed human capital workforce worldwide, and human capital is cited as the biggest challenge to growth by entrepreneurs in MEA.
Higher Education System – The Weakest Link of MENA's Entrepreneurial Ecosystem1
Source: World Economic Forum – Entrepreneurial Ecosystems Around the Globe and Company Growth Dynamics
Entrepreneurs were asked to identify which of the eight pillars of an entrepreneurial ecosystem were readily available to them as they built their venture.
Most of the higher education system in the region is public and controlled by the political class, thereby denying universities the necessary academic freedom to breed next generation entrepreneurs. Education is a political topic in the region and the recent Arab Spring has only heightened the scrutiny faced by the academia as the political class tries to maintain its control over the content and pedagogy.
As a result, universities are denied the intellectual and academic freedom to develop degrees and content aimed at covering key subjects core to creating a successful business (such as business planning and risk management), with coursework consisting of specialised seminars in which students create business plans to be presented to angel investors or venture capitalists.
Courses specific to developing communication and presentation skills of young graduates and future entrepreneurs are missing. A May 2013 report – Unlocking Arab Youth Entrepreneurship Potential – by entrepreneurship training NGO Injaz al Arab highlighted that schools in the region are schools are focused on rote learning and memorisation rather than problem solving and critical thinking, and that CEOs in the region felt that the education system does not provide graduates with the necessary skills like communication, presentation, teamwork, analytical thinking, and initiative, all critical to developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem
The political instability caused by the Arab Spring has also resulted in a brain drain, as the best lecturers (and students!) in the region have decided to leave the region for better opportunities in developed nations. As per University World News, other problems facing universities in the region included lack of research and publication, challenges of accessibility and quality, and low levels of student and scientific mobility and innovation. The result of these problems is a workforce that is not ready for the development of an effective entrepreneurial ecosystem. This sentiment was further echoed by global entrepreneurship NGO Endeavor, which found that 39% MENA companies cited an inadequately educated workforce as their biggest problem.
Therefore, it is important for governments in the region who view entrepreneurs and their ventures as a vehicle for driving growth and reducing unemployment in their countries, to strengthen their respective higher education systems by giving higher degree of freedom to existing universities with respect to course content and pedagogy, increasing domestic- and foreign- private player participation in the higher education sector to bring in global best practices, tapping successful entrepreneurs living abroad for their advice and connections, and developing more training programs for entrepreneurs, among others.

The article was originally published at: Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

Addressing Pilot Shortage: An Opportunity Area within fast growing Middle East Aviation Market

Addressing Pilot Shortage

  • The Middle East is outpacing the world in terms of international traffic growth, witnessing growth in demand and expansion of capacity at rates never seen in any other market.
  • Rising population with high disposable income; favourable geographic location; growing tourism sector; strong presence of expatriates who travel frequently to their native nations and an underdeveloped railway network are driving this aviation boom.
  • However, despite the strong growth in the air traffic as well as the fleet size, the lack of skilled aviation professionals is acting as roadblock in Middle East’s thriving aviation industry.
  • Though it seems to a big problem, it is a BIG opportunity for the players who can leverage it by pursuing aviation training centers/academies as a profitable business proposition.

The Middle East is the fastest growing aviation market across the world in terms of international traffic growth. According to IATA, in 2013, the growth in passenger traffic for airlines in the Middle East was 12.1% – more than double the global average and in both business and leisure travel. Between 2012 and 2032, air passenger traffic in the Middle East is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.7% in terms of Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPK), while air cargo traffic is expected to grow at a 7.2% CAGR in terms of Freight Tonne Kilometers (FTK). To add to this, air passenger traffic on outbound routes from the Middle East is expected to outpace the traffic on traditional routes such as Europe – North America, Europe – Europe, and North America – North America over the coming two decades.

Expanding population base (especially of foreign nationals), urbanization, higher income levels, underdeveloped railway network and burgeoning numbers of tourists are driving the Middle East aviation sector. With a growing young population base, increasing propensity to travel and ongoing regional liberalization, regional traffic growth is acting as an important contributor to the Middle East’s expansion as long-haul routes are. Regional governments are prioritizing aviation, recognizing the industry as a catalyst for local development, diversification, delivering trade, tourism, and economic growth.

Aviation Traffic Growth – Middle East vs. World

Addressing Pilot Shortage2

Middle East Aviation Market Value = USD 550 Billion

Addressing Pilot Shortage1Source: Boeing.com

Long-term expansion is clearly visible as Middle East airlines are expected to receive delivery of 2,610 new passenger and cargo aircraft (worth $550 billion) over the span of next 20 years. Nearly 960 aircraft are on order, including more than 600 widebodies, accounting for 25% of the global backlog, or twice as many as on order in North America. Increasingly, the traditional hubs (London, Paris, Singapore) and their carriers (Lufthansa, British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines) and their hubs are being superseded by Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi and their home carriers (Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad Airways). If one looks at the rapidity of the shift, it has been breathtaking. In the past five years, London Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam added a total of 11.7 million new passengers, growth of just 5%. In contrast, the three upstart Middle East hubs have added 35 million passengers, an increase of a whopping 60%.

However, despite the strong growth in the air traffic as well as the fleet size, the lack of skilled aviation professionals has been acting as a deterrent in the path of Middle East’s thriving aviation industry. According to industry experts, quality pilots will become an increasingly limited commodity over the coming years, driven by the rapid fleet growth of Gulf airlines. The region is facing an unusual situation where the jobs created by the aviation boom will not be able to fill up soon due to lack of skilled professionals. This is further aggravated by the fact that U.S. pilots staffed in the Middle East are heading back home to fill the positions left vacant by the retiring U.S. aircraft pilots. According to a recent report by Boeing, there will be a need of more than 37,000 pilots in the Middle East to fly the aircrafts due for delivery there over the next 20 years. But there is a serious lack of adequate training facilities.

Though it sounds as a big problem, it is a BIG opportunity for the small players who can leverage it and evaluate aviation training centers/academies as a profitable business proposition. Dedicated aviation academies are going to play an important role in solving the pilot shortage in the Middle East, and ensuring that people receive the training they need for being certified as skilled airline professionals. The existing training centers are struggling to keep up with the demand and point towards a market ready to welcome new entrants. Two training centers in the UAE have 1,300 full time and 500 part time student pilots and engineers. Another Jordan-based air school churns out 130 pilots a year and wants to increase the number to nearly 200 while expanding to a second training centre in Iran.

Airlines too are not behind and are starting pilot training centers to ensure an adequate supply of workforce for the aircrafts they have in their ordered delivery pipeline. Emirates Flight Academy is expected to address the need for 40,000 pilots in the Middle East over the coming two decades. Emirates Airlines operates a Pilot and National Cadet Pilot Program, and is planning to open a flight academy for pilots in 2015. The academy will be able to take up to 600 pilots and will be situated in Dubai. Air Arabia has already established a flight academy, which is up and running in Sharjah. A few weeks back, Etihad Airways announced that it is establishing the Etihad Flight College, a world-class flight training facility in the UAE for Emirati and international cadet pilots. Such steps by the players, in addition to solving the pilot crunch, will create more job opportunities for the local talent available in the region.

Among the aviation training institutes operating in the region, Emirates-CAE Flight Training is an outstanding example of a successful aviation joint-venture, as highlighted in the case study below.  

Case Study: Emirates-CAE Flight Training ­– 12 Successful Years of Imparting Aviation Training

Emirates-CAE Flight Training                                                  

Founded: 2002| Joint Venture: Emirates and CAE

Emirates-CAE Flight Training (ECFT) is jointly operated by Emirates and CAE, a global leader in modeling, simulation and training for civil aviation and defence. Located in the Emirates Aviation College campus, ECFT provides aviation-related courses for commercial and business carriers in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania, and South America, aimed primarily at flight-deck crew and maintenance personnel.

Over the past 12 years, Emirates and CAE have consistently invested in the management and expansion of their joint venture. This has helped in growing the business substantially as well as earning ECFT its strong reputation as a centre of training excellence.

It was the first training facility of its kind in the Middle East that was approved by aviation authorities in Europe, the U.S. and the UAE. According to Camille Mariamo, Managing Director, commercial training and simulation, Middle East & India Region, “ECFT works in close collaboration with more than 20 different national aviation authorities to ensure that their specific requirements are fulfilled”.

Locations/Facilities: ECFT operates 2 training facilities in Dubai:

  • The original facility in Al Garhoud, Dubai has 14 training bays and is one of the largest pilot training facilities in the world. It caters to 200 aviation clients and trains more than 10,000 pilots and technicians a year on a range of Airbus, Bell Helicopter, Boeing, Bombardier, Dassault, Gulfstream and Hawker Beechcraft aircraft types.
  • With the first center almost reaching full capacity, the Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) facility was opened in 2013. ECFT’s new 55,000 square foot facility already boasts of industry-leading Airbus and Boeing flight training simulators with breakthrough visual realism, cockpit replication and high-fidelity avionics simulation.

Achievements

  • The original facility in Al Garhoud, Dubai, was the first training centre of its kind in the Middle East to be approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

CAE was unable to provide figures for its market share in the Middle East. “I can say we are the dominant player with a very strong leadership position,” according to Mariamo. As per CAT magazine’s 2011 civil full flight simulator census, CAE supplied all of the simulators in the UAE, including seven units for Emirates and three for Etihad.

Source: The Emirates Group

The article was originally published at: Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

Amazon is stealing your customers by paying their employees to leave

Amazon is stealing your customers

  • Regional competition for customers shows focus on customer satisfaction as the key business driver
  • Developing a customer centric corporate culture is essential for success
  • Motivate employees to care and be creative to keep customers happy and develop employee growth
How committed to your customer are you?

No company wants to say that, do they?  And while the Region sorts out logistical, cultural, and human capital specifics, Amazon.com and their CEO Jeff Bezos are already doing a growing business here.

Now, while you may say the GCC and Regional organizations have adopted a steep learning curve to meet customer needs and things are improving; the reality is simply this: you’re customers are there already and they’re waiting with high expectations for you to take care of them.   And if you don’t, Jeff et almost certainly will.

Today, commitment to the organization’s success is expressed directly as commitment to the customer.  And in our Region and around the world, it has to be.  Otherwise you won’t survive for long in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

The secret is to bring smart and creative customer driven employees and timely value based solutions to customers so they are happy and continue to buy from you. Simply said, you need a customer-centric culture to drive organizational success.  Commitment to your customer must be paramount.

Take Zappos, which has been acquired by Jeff Bezos’ amazon.com, and how they both feel about the importance of customer service and the need for staff to buy into their concept.  For Tony Hsieh, Zappos’s CEO, this meant taking his customer-centric philosophy to another level. Zappos employee training and orientation process sought to retain only the best employees with the most customer oriented mindset.  This paradigm was so engrained in its culture,  Zappos designed a program unheard of in the industry.  Hsieh referred to it as the “walk-away option” where newly trained employees were offered up to one month’s salary to walk away after completing their intensive training program.

That’s right, after finishing Zappos’s comprehensive and intensive training, newly hires were given the option of leaving the company to pursue other job possibilities.  About 2-3% would take the offer, but the vast majority, or upwards of 97-98% decided to stay.  For Hsieh, this method created an internal culture driven to be the best and drove out anyone who wasn’t as committed to their programme’s customer-based ideals.

This unorthodox approach, along with Zappos strong brand attributes, caught the eye of Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos.   After Bezos acquired Zappos, he tweaked Hsieh’s idea and adapted it to the Amazon culture.   Bezos has adopted a similar pay-to-leave program aiming to copy its subsidiary’s selective recruitment and retention strategies.

Once a year, Amazon’s front line employees have a chance to reflect on their work, their company, and their coworkers to decide if they are committed or if they wish to take a pay-to-leave package.  Those who choose to stay and forego the quick cash remain a more closely tied group of committed employees.

This kind of environment  is one wherein Amazon and Zappos are not only saying “there’s the door if you don’t like it”, but “here’s how much we care for our customers.  If you’re not fully on board, here’s the door and cab fare as well to take you home.  Thanks for coming.”

Creative retention and employee training programs like these may be a key driver to attract people to your company.   Furthermore, this could be key in developing an internal brand identity whose hallmark is serving customers’ needs.  And of course, no matter what your business is, when customers’ needs are met or surpassed, business succeeds.  We can thank Zappos for a creative option to building a culture of customer service and yes, Jeff Bezos for building on a solid construct in customer-centric thinking.

The article is written by Jonscott Turco for Arab Business Review To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

E-commerce HR in the Middle East

E-commerce HR in the Middle East

 

  • The speed of UAE’s development have compelled its citizens and expat community alike, to be active catalysts
  • Joining a yet still in its infancy Industry within the ME region, The ‘.com’ genre has many challenges
  • Ensure that you in HR have your creative doors open at all times, take benefit from all the material that is already out there
  • A new age HR, be it service rewards, policies and the biggest player and differentiator ‘CULTURE’
  • We in this region have a lot of potential, an array of cultures and can utilize everyone’s talent in making this an incredible ‘Silicon Valley of the ME’

I have had the privilege of living in Dubai for over 30 years and in those years I have seen some massive and impressive developments – Developments that helped the UAE secure ‘EXPO 2020’! These business & operational changes and the speed of the country’s development have compelled its citizens and expat community alike, to be active catalysts in this infectious need to excel.

I chose to be a part of this exciting journey and took a plunge into a then globally renowned yet still in its infancy Industry within the ME region and joined the ‘.com’ genre. I became a member of the ‘COBONE’ family when it was only 6 months old and have embarked on a rather steep and intense learning curve. We have flourished spectacularly from, Cobone, a daily deal website, to Triperna, a comprehensive Travel Partner. Coming from over 5 years of thorough conservative Banking HR, my idea that I could comfortably apply the same principles were quickly shattered. I determined, rather quickly, that HR in this industry was a different beast. A new age HR was what was required and although not already known to me it was an exciting prospect, one that I was keen to discover and implement. Policies for common classifications within HR, such as hiring, communication, talent development, rewards, performance management, required considerable adaptation and a certain amount of creativity before appropriate application.

Due to the newness to the region, we lacked solid E-Commerce knowledge and skillset. Thus it was inadvertently necessary to reach out globally for knowledge, people and strategies. What I recognized was that it was essential that you are quick to adopt and implement what is required within HR, be it service rewards, policies and the biggest player and differentiator ‘CULTURE’. This is the one aspect that is so evidently thick within the group, the underlying VALUES that bring a group of people together in an online company and it is quintessential to be one of the first standards that you must formalize and announce.

My tips to you, although I too continue to learn, for HR within this exciting Online World are:

  1. Formalize the underlying energy, ‘Culture’, that brings you all together
  2. Be ready to be very creative, remain fluid without losing structure
  3. Get socially active online (FB, Twitter,  etc), to live within is to understand
  4. Thorough Change Management techniques and knowledge application.
  5.  Hiring will require different innovative methods, use attributes in place of experience, realize an individual’s ability to adapt
  6. Reward systems need to be clearly linked to Performance & Growth
  7. Keep processes simple and transparent
  8. Constant Communication

Initially it may seem like a lot of work and believe me it is! But if done systematically, it paves the way to stable growth. All you have to do is ensure that you have your creative doors open at all times, take benefit from all the material that is already out there, communicate appropriately and implement ensuring you have everyone’s ‘Buy In’. HR plays an instrumental role in shaping the company especially within this industry. Being in this part of the world I believe we have a lot of potential in doing it even better as we have an array of cultures, we can utilize everyone’s talent in making this an incredible ‘Silicon Valley of the ME’. I look forward to sharing my in-depth analysis of various aspects that I have listed above delving into actual activities and hopefully assist newcomers and possibly add to the knowledge base any way that I possibly can. Until then – Onwards and Upwards!

The article is written by Tahira Khan for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

 

A good Player needs a good Coach

A good Player needs a good Coach

  • A Business is a person who actively listens to you; who explores options with you, and who can provide you with effective feedback to grow, and deliver better results in life.
  • The Business coaching is a very personalized development program, focusing on the current burning issues that business Leaders face, which enhances their ability to gain personal insight into the real issues in their real world and in real time
  • Being egoless is the key to continue developing, progressing and evolving. Having an Executive Coach watching from distance, guiding the player is a must if we are to evolve as High Performance Leaders.

How many times do we get overwhelmed with small stuff here and there, how many times do we find ourselves out of focus on the right things, how many of us have a clear vision and know exactly where is he or she heading, how many know how to conquer key moments, how many know how to confront harmful behavior, how many have clear boundaries and live by them, how many can say NO to certain people or situations …. So many questions in mind.

We, human beings, share exactly the same issues, and we face similar situations in life. But looking at things from distance has a totally different meaning. I had no idea that finding the right person, who actively listens to you; who explores options with you, and who can provide you with effective feedback to grow, and deliver better results in life do exist and it’s called a Business Coach.

After spending more than 25 years in the corporate world; assuming different positions from a simple cashier to a group CEO of a multimillion company; where I learned things the hard way. And as most of us, acted stupidly in certain disruptive situations, letting my ego control, or even my emotions and wrong beliefs rule. I decided to get out of my comfort zone, and challenge my purpose in life, to find out that there is untapped potential we all have, but it needs to be unleashed at the right time, and with the right approach.  Hence, I left the corporate world, and started my own business focusing on empowering others.

While developing different leadership programs, I started reading and researching about what make good CEOs succeed, and why some CEOs excel in their Organizations, while others fail miserably despite their strong abilities, my findings were very simple, summarized by A good player needs a good Coach.

Business Coaching facilitates and supports leaders discover their excellence and strength to move them to peak performance, while opening their eyes to some potential beliefs impacting their success.  It is targeted oriented, and provides leaders the framework to stay focused on doing the right things, not only doing things right. In other way, the Business Coach provides and charts the pathway to success.

Unlike the regular training programs we all attend. The Business coaching is a very personalized development program, focusing on the current burning issues that business Leaders face, which enhances their ability to gain personal insight into the real issues in their real world and in real time. Moreover, while being Coached, Business Leaders clarify their vision, and get encouraged to be fearless while translating their vision into reality, leveraging their unique qualities in service of positive change.

In the Arab World, the idea of business coaching to top management is still not entirely supported, as the “We know it all phenomena” still dominates. Being egoless is the key to continue developing, progressing and evolving. Having an Executive Coach watching from distance, guiding the player to do more of this, and less of that, challenging the beliefs and the actions; and enabling personal transformation is a must if we are to evolve as High Performance Leaders.. I keep saying I wish I had a coach when I was a CEO; my life would have been much easier.

The article is written by Majd Shweikeh for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

An Education Hub In The Middle East

An Education Hub In The Middle East

  • The UAE has some of the world’s best schools in terms of infra-structure, and the government earmarks approximately 25 percent of the total government spending on education.
  • The region has some wonderful schools but faces the “in between syndrome”, when it comes to providing affordable quality education.
  • It would perhaps he good for the region to create a kind of “free zone” for education from where global players, especially in higher education, can operate at costs which will attract students from around the world.

Four years into education in the UAE, after thirty years in various parts of the world, I am confronted by a thought provoking situation. The UAE has some of the world’s best schools in terms of infra-structure, the government earmarks approximately 25 percent of the total government spending on education, has achieved over 90 percent literacy, stands high on the United Nations’ Education Index, has a very high rate of female education, and gives free education to its citizens. The Ministry of Education has adopted “Education 2020” with emphasis on Mathematics, English and Teacher Training. All of this is greatly commendable. The next step would obviously be to move towards becoming a destination for the global diaspora seeking a quality education. It is one of the best parts of the world to live in; it must become a supply center of a globally employable workforce.

Four years ago I was Head of an international school in India which had 63 nationalities of students. Most of these were people of Indian origin coming in from around the world for a taste of India and for an affordable world class education. There are many schools and colleges of this kind in India and they attract a healthy clientele. There are two key words here: world class and affordable. This is what brought in huge numbers of Korean students as also students from other non -English speaking countries where quality education either does not exist or is very expensive. There is further synergy with a plethora of higher education opportunities, both traditional and those which can be exciting for the seekers of the more exotic courses; and all of this at an affordable price.

Let us now look at the scenario in the Middle East. The region has some wonderful schools but faces the “in between syndrome”. In terms of affordability the area is disadvantaged by far cheaper options in other countries; in terms of quality there is a lack of synergy with higher education within the countries of the region and a lack of confidence which makes parents move children to their home countries closer to the school leaving stage. This is to a large extent because the variety of tertiary education in the region is limited and because it costs a fraction in many other countries.

It would perhaps he good for the region to create a kind of “free zone” for education from where global players, especially in higher education, can operate at costs which will attract students from around the world. As of now the conditions prevent education companies from lowering fees and from introducing new and quality courses to attract foreign custom. Add to this the shortage of university courses with global placements and you have the reasons for the “in between syndrome”.

If countries with much poorer infrastructure and little political will can attract students who want to become eligible for global careers, the Middle East has all the essential requisites to make it big in this field. If a degree in medicine costs 50000 dollars in the US, it is much lower in Ireland and in parts of Southeast Asia.

But cheaper and quality education needs support. One would be the creation of a special package for education companies. With a large percentage of expat population, that too of diverse ethnicity, competition with home country options becomes fearsome both in terms of quality and costs.  The second would be a quality control regime which is not based upon a system with limited success, but a system modified to suit local needs. The region has to cater to varied output standards at the K-12 level to suit differently perceived success criteria in home countries. Alternatively, the region must provide attractive options for tertiary education in conformity with standards established locally at the K-12 level. Together this could lead to a new era of education in the region.

The article is written by Dr. Aninda Chatterji for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review

Good Bye Training, Welcome Learning

Good Bye Training, Welcome Learning

  • The importance of training for individual and organizational development is evident from the fact that United States spent USD 210 billion on training budget in 2013
  • However, some governmental organizations started performing training activities because it is one of the key performance indicators or is just a part of the strategy to win awards of excellence.
  • I would suggest an approach where the focus is on the outcome of learning activities, and the learning process becomes a product of conscious activity

Nobody can deny the importance of training for individual and organizational performance improvement across all levels. In a country like the USA, the 2013 training budget that has been amounted is $ 210 billion, which in fact is equivalent of the national income sum of several countries.

However, researchers and specialists in the field of learning and development noticed that traditional training started losing its actual value. Nevertheless, some governmental organizations started performing only training activities because they become more focused on the outside noticeable image of their key performance indicators achievements or just for winning one more award of excellence. The latter is one of the things I can bravely share that I have noticed due to my experience in the region, as an assessor and arbitration team leader in several of excellence awards and it became one of my main points of concern as well.

The approach I would like to bring upon into the audience attention is related to suggesting focus on the learning activity’s outcomes.  In addition to that and regardless of its nature: i.e. formal or informal learning, learning process will be much more efficient if it becomes a product of conscious activity. In fact, the phrase “learning and development needs” has successfully replaced the term “training needs” and the 10:20:70 model has emerged to the effect that 70% of learning comes out of work itself. Problem solving, challenges, and 20% come out of co-workers and direct line manager interaction and 10% comes out from self- learning. This model is the foundation for a new thought where the Chief Learning Officer as a position and functions replaces the traditional training officer.

The Chief Learning Officer position holder is a person who performs strategic tasks and he is managed directly by the general manager or the chief executive.

The CLO becomes the hub of all learning activities. Assessment reports, market analysis results, competitors’ analysis results, benchmarking, and the best performances have to be submitted to him. Part of his duties also include gathering all conferences and workshops feedback  summaries that  employees participated in; conducting  proper analysis   of  data and figures afterwards ; spreading around awareness of the lessons learnt and changing, establishing policies and procedures  that promote innovation  and improvement solutions for the organization.

In conclusion of all listed above I would say that new methods should be introduced, implemented and followed in the organizational learning field and traditional learning have to be   replaced. It’s widely known fact that after attending traditional training trainees usually forget 80% of what they have been exposed to during the training in eight weeks’ time after training completion.

Last but not the least let us all remember some of the thoughts of the quality guru Deming in the context of importance of measurement: “What you cannot measure you cannot improve”

The article is written by Dr. Alaa Garad for Arab Business Review

To read more thought-leadership stuff by leaders from Arab Region, please visit Arab Business Review