Lights, Lights, Action!

How do you know you had a great week? It’s when something you’ve been working on for some time is done with a flying color!

Last week, I had the joy to speak to Philips Lighting, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on their annual kickoff meeting. It was a great gathering with around 300 people in the room, including higher management. Those are passionate people whose mission is “…to unlock the extraordinary potential of light for a better life and a better world.” What a mission! It is interesting that the theme, “Passion for…” is close to my heart and has commonality. I have a Facebook page with the name Passion Fuel, and I have a group on Whatsapp with the same name too. Is it a coincidence? Maybe. But that’s just me. I am a person who is passionate about seeing people learn and grow. Fueling passion is within me…it’s my purpose!

So, the thought on my mind, how do I weave a motivational talk that could move the “movers and the shakers” of Philips Lighting? Good question. They are in “Passion For” results, innovation, sustainability, leadership, teamwork, diversity. And they have challenges too! But on top of that is to improve results.

I bet you it takes a great deal of effort to grow results over the past year’s targets in a state of economic slowdown. That’s a challenge for all businesses. It is not impossible, though. It’s a mindset! And that’s what I focused my talk on…having that positive mindset that would drive you to excel. As they say, it’s all in the head. It’s all about attitude, energy, stretching and taking initiatives that challenge the familiar and bring out the unfamiliar.

I was overwhelmed to see a great team put a great show for a whole day, bringing people from different parts of the Kingdom. Knowing events from hands-on experience, it is not easy to maintain energy in the room for six hours. Despite the short time I spent in the event, I had the pleasure to listen to a panel discussion with some great minds of Philips Lighting on stage from the CEO, SFO, Marketing, IT, HR Head to the brilliant staff that kept the event alive. Thanks to Imran Zafeer, the Marketing Manager, who made this opportunity possible.

I also happened to meet some young talents, like Noura, the Talent Acquisition Supervisor, who moderated the panel discussion successfully. And of course, the young photographer (who may not be from Philips Lighting), who I had the delight to chat to briefly. The photos you see here are of her brilliant work. Thank you, Maya.

I am hoping the stories I shared would make a dent, a little at least, in raising the momentum of the team to march towards their top goals of the year and beyond. It was a quick visit. It felt like a dash. In fact, just few minutes after finishing my keynote, I immediately headed to the airport…and I barely made my trip! And I won’t talk about how the night before my speech went. Have you ever called A/C Maintenance at 3:30 in the morning? I leave you with just this thought in mind! 🙂

Malaysian Community Rocks!

I just opened the back door of my Panda (the nickname of my car) to unload my stuff when a gentleman walked towards me and offered help. I immediately guessed he was one of the parents of a student participant in the program I was about to start in Jubail, the John Maxwell YouthMax Leadership Program. Jubail is about one hour drive from my hometown.

The drive was challenging on the main highway, but pleasant as I approached the residential compounds of Jubail where thousands of expatriates work in this huge industrial city! As I departed from home about 15 minutes later than planned, I was particularly vigilant of all speed cameras erected on the sides of the highway, not that I was speeding over the threshold. And, of course, watching for all insane drivers who flash at you a kilometer away to pass. And they normally cause turbulence to my Panda as they pass with close to 200 K per hour! So, arriving at destination safely was in itself a breather.

So, when the gentleman offered help, it was as if he knew what I was going through on the highway! I said, “I think I am ok,” on the outside. On the inside, “Please!” That was only the tip of the iceberg. What I witnessed from the Malaysian Community that day surpassed all expectations. I arrived around 7:45 and the workshop was supposed to start an hour later. Many of the kids (youth 13-18) and their parents were already there! Talk about interest, talk about respect to their parents, talk about their cooperative attitude! Parents were all buzzing with action offloading stuff from their cars and proceeding to set up the room.  Within minutes, as I was busy setting up my laptop and ensuring good projection and sound, all workshop materials were on the tables.

As the workshop relies on some videos, the sound quality is important. And, this was my struggle, I thought. The technician, the photographer and all those who have some technical knowledge of sound connectivity moved into action suggesting solutions, even though I came ready with Alternative Plan, which did not work at the beginning. It was obvious that the success of the event is also their interest, and not just mine. Seeing them around lending hands alleviated my worries.

When things were up and running (almost), the parents wanted to give some introductions through some volunteered spokespersons. I have conducted this workshop twice in my hometown, and none of the parents hinted at joining us for a few minutes at the start, although most of them were supportive of the program.  But genuine words of welcome and interest in seeing their kids embark on a program like the YouthMax Leadership Program made me feel special. And that in itself was a motivator to do my best to add value to their children. In fact the workshop went very well, judging by the interactions from the students, and their enthusiasm which kept them going all the way to the end!

Malaysia is on my list of countries to visit. In fact, it is also on my list to do speaking and training business, and I feel opportunities are coming. Yet, I have already gotten a good feel of its people. The Malaysian Community in Jubail left me spellbound, especially for their kindness, hospitality, togetherness and team spirit. I felt I was among a family I knew for a long time. I have seen the beauty of Malaysia present in its people. So, Malaysia is really, really, truly Asia! Thank you Norma and the rest of your team. Thanks also go to the children and especially to the mystery little kid who joined us (on my signal) in the group photos  :).

I am ready to repeat the experience in different shapes and forms. And, I wish that one day we could bring both my home town community with the Malaysian Community for a cross-cultural event. And I will be the lead host!

More to come on this event…stay tuned!

Business Coaching with Sanabis Communication Technology

I have recently started an informal business coaching with Sanabis Communication Technology, Training and Development, a small business focused on providing call center services and other IT support services. What do you do with a great team of individuals that is not working well as a team? This happens a lot in the business world. You have talented employees on board, everyone brings a set of skills to the table. Yet, they lack synergy and team work. While coaching is not about providing solutions rather than asking the right questions, it’s been a learning experience on my side. At the same time, I was able to relate my expertise in the field of human resource development to facilitate some ideas that would help resolve some of the issues. It is interesting to note that even though you may have great individuals working for your business entity, their talents will be wasted if not geared toward common goals. Well, this sometimes has to do with lack of communicating the vision and clarifying it to the team. Things promise to change for the better for this small business entity and should be heading to rank with medium enterprises when the proposed ideas are implemented.


Qatari toastmasters get a treat

The Toastmasters fraternity took advantage of Abdulla’s availability in Doha, Qatar, and arranged for a presentation titled, “Steak, Style and Sizzle,” which focused on the art of public speaking and presentation skills. The interactive event, which was attended by more than 120 toastmasters, received rave reviews from the audience.

Abdulla inspires Qatar internal auditors to focus on personal growth.

Abdulla Abandi conducted a full-day workshop to 36 members of the Institute of Internal Auditors, Qatar Chapter, which focused on personal growth, leadership and communication effectiveness. “Personal growth is the springboard from which you can advance your life,” Abdulla told the participants. For press release, see link. The workshop received excellent reviews from the participants. “This training posed a question to myself to check if I am on the right track,” said one of the participants. “Abdulla talked about leadership not just as theory, but he talked based on his 33 years of working experience, which helps me to easily understand and develop my skills,” said another participant. “Among the things I liked about this seminar is the passion shown by the presenter,” said another. A condensed version of the workshop was presented into a 2-hour seminar to over 80 attendees the next day.