Positive or negative reactions? Intrinsic or extrinsic rewards? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves when it comes to determining how we can inspire a country to rise above and grow.
So far the “one people, one nation” mantra the country has adopted in recent years has worked to establish a sense of purpose in Emiratis and help them believe in something larger than themselves. But has it helped them unlock their potential and harness their energies to achieve the vision of our leaders for an innovative, productive and self-dependent country taking part in the 21st-century drive towards globalisation?
If we assume that inspiring a country leads to innovation, productivity and self-dependence, then we perhaps should determine what such concepts stand for.
One could argue that for us to accelerate our country’s development, we need to acknowledge that innovation isn’t all about major change or only associated with technology.
Empathy is key. It’s about looking at things from the outside-in, instead of inside-out, and learning from everything we do. For example, it would be beneficial to allow a government employee to rearrange the ergonomics of his work environment to allow him/her to increase productivity.
Productivity stems from a willingness to produce. It doesn’t mean creating a culture that stays late way into the wee hours.
I’m a firm believer that for every action, there’s a reaction. In our country, suppose a student is recognised for an environmentally sustainable initiative at his campus. Whether by implementing the initiative, funding or affording that student the guidance to grow their inspirations, we can expect them to be productive. This represents one building block that makes up the body of the country that achieves its goals, and that encouragement will lead to future success.
Self-dependence comes from trusting our own abilities. When I was a fresh graduate with no work experience, my first manager allowed me to trust in my own abilities, based on my ability to absorb, digest and implement what I learnt on the job, shadowing those with experience or by independent exploration, such as reading.
Senior management has to recognise those with the ability to progress faster and create clear, comprehensive succession plans that are to be achieved in a short period of time, to allow vertical and horizontal Emiratisation of an organisation.
To inspire a country, it’s on all of us to allow innovation, productivity and self-dependence.
Mohamed Ali Al Madfai is managing partner of Al Salama Fire Safety Training company based in Dubai and AVP and senior analyst Group Credit Risk at the National Bank of Abu Dhabi.
If you have a good story to tell or an interesting issue to debate, contact Melinda Healy on firstname.lastname@example.org.