The most important capability for achieving Saudi Vision 2030 is leadership, which has a fundamental impact on every aspect of organisational and national success – and indeed the well-being, happiness and productivity of all people.
As we know, huge investments have been made in leadership training, tools and help for many years and there are clear definitions of best practice (mostly from the West) for leaders to follow. But 43% of managers rate their own manager as ineffective, only 32% of people trust their immediate leader and ineffective management costs $30bn per year in the UK alone.
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We estimate that roughly two million Saudis need to be world-class leaders to achieve Saudi Vision 2030 and these two million leaders are needed now!
So how can we build two million leaders fast? – and lead the world in leadership
First, Instead of simply adopting ineffective ‘best -practice’ in leadership development, let’s think about the specific advantages that Saudi has. There are two exemplary situations in which young males and females are often fast-tracked and often do a great job. The first is the royal family itself and the second is the family firms where young successors are trained from birth in the obligations and skills needed to lead. In addition, Saudi (and the Gulf in general) has a unique leadership style which, in many ways, has advantages over the best practice western style taught on courses today.
The second way in which we can build 2m leaders fast, is to make sure that all Saudi leaders are fully qualified and accredited to a world-class standard, such as the Chartered Management Institute.
Thirdly, we should start early and provide experiences of leadership, for example, taking charge of something. The best way to learn to be a leader is to be a leader!
The fourth way is to provide practical tools so leaders can be great from day one. Our research shows that leaders, and indeed everyone else, learn by doing stuff as they need to, using tools as they’re needed and absorbing practical knowledge in ‘bite-size’ chunks.
We found that leaders, especially new leaders, found some tasks very difficult and often got them wrong. When having a difficult conversation, for example, our leaders often didn’t apply the most basic rules – such as making sure the room is private, focus on the issue not the person, have a clear idea of the ideal outcome, let the person speak, and so on. The obvious answer was to deliver great leadership tools though an app, but we found that current solutions were generally simply dumping content onto phones.
So we had to make our own – iLeader – based on all our research and experience. iLeader helps leaders DO the most difficult things, and to maximize engagement and productivity of their teams, for a fraction of the time and cost of traditional or even e-learning. So, if the leader has to run an effective meeting – the tool is with him or her. If they have to make a great decision – the tool is there to help them do it. The whole focus is on doing stuff, rather than just learning about stuff.
iLeader also provides a daily dashboard on engagement and productivity of the team and even recommends the actions and the tools that the leader can then use to address any issues.
In summary, leadership is the key capability for Saudi Vision 2030 and we need to grow two million leaders fast. Based on extensive research, we suggest:
- Exploiting Saudi’s key advantages, such as the Gulf Leadership Style
- Qualifying Saudi leaders to world-class standards
- Starting early to develop leaders
- And lastly, by using technology, such as iLeader, to provide continuous feedback on engagement and productivity and to provide the tools to be a great leader NOW.