Employees work in front of computers at the Olam International Ltd. office in Singapore, on Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. Olam predicts cocoa market conditions will stabilize this half after volatile prices hit earnings for another quarter. Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg
It can be difficult to maintain momentum when targets are constantly shifting. Nicky Loh / Bloomberg

Workplace Doctor: Moving targets are hard to hit

I work for a financial services company and we have recently been given a number of targets as part of a project being administered by an external unit. However, it is proving almost impossible to fulfil our remit as the goalposts are constantly being changed. As soon as I get to seeing a solution, or a way to achieve the set objectives, the goalposts move and I have to re-think and re-plan. This is immensely frustrating and is straining good the relationship I have with my team, not to mention the external unit setting the goals. How can I resolve this?

BD Al Ain

What you are describing is an increasing reality for most managers and leaders today who, as in your situation, are having to work with constantly changing goalposts and expectations. It is important therefore to explore how you can begin to operate successfully within this context, as the trend towards rapid change and ambiguity is destined to not only continue, but to amplify.

The US military have devised a nomenclature called "Vuca", which stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous in order to describe this phenomenon that we are having to increasingly manage within. To add to the challenge, the competitive environment within the UAE’s financial services sector is intense, with aggressive targets being set, raising the need to do more with less, and to be agile in order to win - agility being one of the key leadership capabilities today.

Most managers and leaders are comfortable operating in environments of high certainty and predictability and as a result, try to revert back to what they know and what has worked in the past. While this is understandable, seeing that few are motivated by uncertainty and chaos, this "pull" towards certainty seldom solves their problems or new challenges. Furthermore, there are few rewards today for those leaders who can only repeat outdated solutions.

So what are the alternatives?

With little control over the level of change and uncertainty today, it is best to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Leading with this new level of complexity, requires leaders to be able to think along multiple dimensions and relationships while being tolerant to contradictions and ambiguity. Today’s agile leader needs to actively engage with the ambiguity, by being flexible enough to make adjustments to fit the reality of the situation and to provide vision and direction toward the new goal. This essential ability to improvise requires leaders to become more spontaneous and adaptive, embrace change quickly and to look for new emerging opportunities.

Your team will certainly look to you when things get difficult, so seeing that you accept the challenges and that your attitude reflects this, will be re-assuring and ensure their engagement. Communication and transparency are therefore essential, so be sure to share the changes, plans and milestones with team members to keep them informed and up to date. When frustrations do surface, it is best to acknowledge and manage these effectively, getting the team back on track as soon as possible. Asking questions and inviting ideas that stimulate different perspectives to challenge the status quo, will drive innovative solutions that produce new and novel outcomes.

It sounds like you have several internal and external stakeholders to consider. Identifying their level of influence and importance will help you to assess how you can best manage them. When goalposts get moved, think about what influence you may have over that and what specifically you would like to be considered, having the confidence to have clear and considered dialogues with all stakeholders concerned. Make sure you are well prepared and understand the changing needs of the project so that you can best suggest solutions and fulfil what is needed. That said, the greater the rate of change and uncertainty, the higher the propensity that mistakes may happen, so start small so that you can recover quickly and encourage feedback so that you can use these lessons for future challenges.

Doctors prescription

As none of us are at our best when we are stressed, anxious or frustrated, your attitude will determine how your team functions under these conditions. Recognise the resources you need for yourself in order to be more flexible and comfortable within a changing environment, so you can set an example for your team and drive this to a successful outcome.

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Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

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Frankenstein in Baghdad
Ahmed Saadawi
​​​​​​​Penguin Press

Key figures in the life of the fort

Sheikh Dhiyab bin Isa (ruled 1761-1793) Built Qasr Al Hosn as a watchtower to guard over the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab (ruled 1793-1816) Expanded the tower into a small fort and transferred his ruling place of residence from Liwa Oasis to the fort on the island.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Shakhbut (ruled 1818-1833) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further as Abu Dhabi grew from a small village of palm huts to a town of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbut (ruled 1833-1845) Repaired and fortified the fort.

Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon (ruled 1845-1855) Turned Qasr Al Hosn into a strong two-storied structure.

Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa (ruled 1855-1909) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further to reflect the emirate's increasing prominence.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan (ruled 1928-1966) Renovated and enlarged Qasr Al Hosn, adding a decorative arch and two new villas.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (ruled 1966-2004) Moved the royal residence to Al Manhal palace and kept his diwan at Qasr Al Hosn.

Sources: Jayanti Maitra, www.adach.ae

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Investors include: Dubai’s Beco Capital, US’s Endeavor Catalyst, China’s MSA, Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, Sweden’s Vostok New Ventures, Property Finder CEO Michael Lahyani


Iraq 1-0 UAE

Iraq Hussein 28’

The years Ramadan fell in May





Emergency phone numbers in the UAE

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

The years Ramadan fell in May





How to help

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
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Her family: She has four sons, aged 29, 27, 25 and 24 and is a grandmother-of-nine

Favourite book: Flashes of Thought by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

Favourite drink: Water

Her hobbies: Reading and volunteer work

Favourite music: Classical music

Her motto: I don't wait, I initiate






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Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices


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Stars: Adam Driver, Ariana Greenblatt, Chloe Coleman

Rating: 2/5


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Maria Sakkari (Greece)
Barbora Krejčíková (Czech Republic)
Beatriz Haddad Maia (Brazil)
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Liudmila Samsonova
Daria Kasatkina 
Veronika Kudermetova 
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Magda Linette (Poland) 
Sorana Cîrstea (Romania) 
Anastasia Potapova 
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Jasmine Paolini (Italy) 
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Emma Raducanu (Great Britain) - wildcard
Alexandra Eala (Philippines) - wildcard


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Hili 2: Unesco World Heritage site

The site is part of the Hili archaeological park in Al Ain. Excavations there have proved the existence of the earliest known agricultural communities in modern-day UAE. Some date to the Bronze Age but Hili 2 is an Iron Age site. The Iron Age witnessed the development of the falaj, a network of channels that funnelled water from natural springs in the area. Wells allowed settlements to be established, but falaj meant they could grow and thrive. Unesco, the UN's cultural body, awarded Al Ain's sites - including Hili 2 - world heritage status in 2011. Now the most recent dig at the site has revealed even more about the skilled people that lived and worked there.


Stage 4:
1. Juan Sebastian Molano (COL) Team UAE Emirates – 3hrs 50min 01sec
2. Olav Kooij (NED) Jumbo-Visma – ST
3. Sam Welsford (AUS) Team DSM) – ST
General Classification:
1. Remco Evenepoel (BEL) Soudal Quick-Step
2. Lucas Plapp (AUS) Ineos Grenaders – 7″
3. Pello Bilbao (ESP) Bahrain Victorious – 11″

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Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★