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Tag Archives: Updatefromtom.blogspot.com

Update from Tom: Fake secrecy

A blog update from Mr Tom Burgess, former Senior Vice President of Emirates Group IT.

It is sad to witness the Emirates Group’s deterioration accelerating. The knee jerk and badly managed actions which I feared (but hoped would be avoided had Herr Mueller managed to get an early and firm grip on the organisation) are well underway, and probably unstoppable. I am sure that many of you would have seen a video of Herr Mueller’s interview whilst he was CEO at Aer Lingus and been impressed by his genuine understanding of the importance of people in any organisation. I certainly was. I felt that if anyone could turn Emirates around, then he could. But it was a big ask. He probably has the support of over 95% of Emirates’ staff – essential for someone wanting to make wholesale changes – but nobody would have underestimated the challenges presented within the remaining few per cent. When I struggled to get Patrick Naef to see (what I was convinced was) common sense, I often felt that I was ‘pissing into the wind’. Herr Mueller has probably been facing a hurricane over the past six months.

Patrick Naef’s communication (at the end of last month) to EG-IT staff is another example of corporate incompetence and duplicity. He trivialises events by suggesting that they are just part of a review “on the way we work” and avoids revealing the true size of yet another one of his crusades against loyal members of his department. He promises openness, yet proceeds in secrecy – some staff had already been forced out before the note was sent. His communication is so amateurish it would be seen as laughable, if the topic was not so serious. But I guess everyone would have allowed themselves a wry smile at Patrick Naef’s heart-warming promise to those leaving of his “support during the transition”. This is like being introduced, just as you are about to enter theatre for major surgery, to someone who will be on hand at all times to give you “every support” and then discovering that it is the Grim Reaper.

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Update from Tom: Gary Chapman

Another blog update from Mr Tom Burgess, former Senior Vice President of Emirates Group IT.

The blog is about rotten EK management structure and corrupted, dishonest, incapable and manipulative senior EK managers with Gary Chapman, president Group Services and Dnata, as their leader.

I have previously provided my thoughts and experiences of the other four members of what I affectionately (honestly!) call the ‘Gang of Five’, so now I turn my attention to Gary Chapman. Like most people who have worked in the Emirates Group, I have heard many stories about, and views of, Gary Chapman. This is natural, given his position. But I will base what I write solely on my own experiences. Gary Chapman was happy to see me fired based on second hand information which was not true, but that is no excuse for me to alter my standards. I will cover my personal experiences with him later on in this update, but I will first make some observations on what we can all see.

The Emirates Group is in disarray. Profits are down, Group headcount is far in excess of what can be afforded and staff morale was low even before the redundancy programmes commenced. For a number of years everyone has seen the need for serious change, but all we have observed at the top has been a serious case of paralysis. The situation is now so bad that someone from outside of the Group has been brought in to sort out the mess. The acute problems in the airline cannot be laid directly at Gary Chapman’s door and I am sure that the Group has enjoyed a steady flow of income thanks to Gary’s business acumen, but the performance of support areas for which he has responsibility has been a major contributor to the problems that are now evident.

Bringing in a highly experienced fresh pair of hands is a good start, but I wonder how the obvious changes that are required are going to be implemented. When I was in the Group, I did not meet anyone who had experience of complex and major change programmes. There was limited depth in terms of day to day man management skills and, apart from the late Sir Maurice Flanagan, nobody was seen as a traditional ‘leader’. Combined, these issues posed a significant risk so the Leadership Development initiative was launched. But what has that achieved? Demonstrably very little as the Emirates Group management structure remains as it has been for many years, just layer upon layer of supervisors, each ascending level proudly boasting an even bigger capital S. Who has responsibility for Leadership Development? Gary Chapman.

 

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Would Emirates be better off with a Trade Union?

A new blog and a very interesting point of view from a former Senior Vice President of Emirates Group IT Tom Burgess.

I appreciate that introducing a Trade Union into Emirates is probably the last thing on the company’s agenda during these challenging times, but maybe it is not such a foolish idea.

Spotlights are being focussed on the Emirates Group with increasing frequency and intensity. The motives of those holding the lights vary considerably, but it is clear that the standard Emirates response (put on the sunglasses then, if that fails, smash the bulbs) no longer works. Eventually, someone will realise that it is finally time to communicate with those guiding the lights and to have a close and open minded look at what is being illuminated. Once that is done, to enable the company to survive going forward, a total shift of management ethos will be required. Most involved will feel the need to admit that “we got it wrong” will be the toughest challenge, but far greater than that will be how to open up channels of communication with those who really matter – the staff. Those staff who, for their entire careers in Emirates, have sensibly concluded that you only ever tell your manager what s/he wants to hear. Anything else is, at best, career limiting, but more likely career terminating. Historically, managers in Emirates normally have only asked staff for their opinions to check their loyalty and compliance – a test rather than a quest. Assertions of “you can trust us now” will merely be seen as a trap. Maybe an intermediary such as a Trade Union would be able to help?

During my lifetime I have gone round a few circles with my views on Trade Unions. In the UK in the 1960’s they were often ridiculed, seemingly looking for the slightest excuse to down tools. By the early 1970’s many people thought they had too much power and by the end of that decade pretty well everyone, including some members of Trade Unions, knew they had too much power. Enter Margaret Thatcher. Whilst most people recognised the need for, and applauded the result of, her strategy, they were dismayed by her methods (and the resulting social impact) and then appalled as she subsequently took steps (which thankfully failed) to ban Trade Unions in some arenas. For quite some time afterwards, the UK employment environment seemed to provide a good model for everyone involved – staff enjoyed protection, but companies were allowed to run their businesses and communication within all industries improved dramatically. However, many feel that the balance has been tipping in recent times, with workers’ protection progressively diminishing.

My own experiences with Trade Unions were mixed. I managed in all sorts of environments – non-union (by employee choice), mixed union/non-union and total union – and this gave me forever changing perspectives. As a manager, I finally concluded that, broadly, Unions were a waste of time. But this only applied in organisations where management and the HR department actually did the jobs that they were paid to do. Sadly, such organisations are becoming rare and Emirates is light years away from such a position. If a company has a weak HR function, then managers will be tempted to run riot and the company will need a Trade Union to function effectively.

When I worked in the oil industry the production side (refineries, etc.) was heavily unionised but less so the ‘white collar’ environment. The company was properly managed and the ideals of staff involvement, communication, development, retention and motivation were embedded in everyday life, not just words on recruitment material. Naturally the production side of the business enjoyed the benefits of that approach as much as the white collar areas did, but the physical environment did not generally lend itself to open discussion. Add into the mix the need for a huge focus on safety, it was imperative that a comprehensive and forceful voice could be presented to management regarding the serious issues of the day. Regardless of how professional and experienced a manager is, balancing the need to reduce costs with the imperative of maintaining safety is never going to be easy. In an environment where the impact of an operational accident is significant, there comes a time when that challenge becomes potentially impossible. So, in that industry, an independent voice and channel (via a Trade Union) for operational staff was essential. A major incident at an oil refinery can be on the same scale as an aviation disaster.

As managers, there are times when we need to be ‘saved from ourselves’. My saviours were often colleagues in HR departments and I was privileged to have worked with some excellent people over the years. (This includes two HRM’s in Emirates, though sadly both left the company some time ago). One of my favourite HR Directors used to say “Yes, I can see what you are trying to achieve . . .” and then came the word “but”! I think senior managers in Emirates would have benefitted from that word “but” many times over the years. However, this will not happen all the time Emirates HR department is seen (both by the company and by itself) solely as an administrative support function.

I cannot say that I was ever ‘saved’ by a Trade Union representative. My HR colleagues were quite frankly streets ahead of them when it came to people issues. But I did value Union counsel when seeking staff views. I had worked in open management cultures for many years, where everyone was comfortable with saying what they thought without fear of incrimination. But following company mergers, when I found myself leading teams who had previously been managed more in the Emirates style (though nowhere near as extreme), it would have been absurd to expect everyone to open up and trust me from day one. Trust takes a long time to achieve and probably becomes permanently unachievable if you ever say “you can trust me”. But staff did (rightly) trust their Union representative, so that was a useful route to find out what staff really thought about matters. And naturally, as trust was established between managers and Union representatives, that trust permeated in all directions, to the benefit of everyone involved.

Until Emirates HR department becomes functional, there is huge gap to fill if management, indeed the company, is going to be saved from itself. Here are a few examples where truly independent involvement would have helped:

The overwhelming consensus is that the views expressed in the last staff survey were extremely bad, but nobody really knows how bad they were. Eventually, a very brief communication was issued which basically revealed nothing. Does anyone believe that any Trade Union would let a company get away with that? When a survey is commissioned staff will participate, tell the truth and rightly expect to be given the results. How will Emirates, in the future, obtain information that can only be obtained by a comprehensive staff survey? Who will bother? Only those who fear that non completion will result in a penalty will complete it. And if they have concluded that the survey is not confidential, they will not relay any concerns they have. A Trade Union could have saved Emirates from itself on this one. No matter how bad the results were, the impact from publishing them would have not been as negative as it has been by burying the exercise.

The ‘Truth about Emirates Airline Management’ blog has been running for what seems like an eternity. Those who initially asserted ‘ignore it, it will soon go away’ are looking rather silly now. With the existence of a Trade Union, that blog would never have been initiated. If a Trade Union were now to be introduced in Emirates, that blog would soon be taken down. With a Trade Union in place, there would never have been the need to record a meeting, as no manager would risk such behaviour if they had to account to a Trade Union. Had there been an issue between the company and an employee, a Union would have helped an appropriate and amicable way forward to be reached. Had a genuine impasse been reached regarding End of Service benefits, a Union would have assisted with a solution. The need for the ‘truth’ blog should never have arisen but, if the issues that prompted it had somehow not been picked up, a Union would have insisted that action be taken to have the blog removed. It is not only the Emirates Group that is being exposed and made a laughing stock by the ‘truth’ blog, staff members are impacted too. People want to be proud of the company they work for, not ashamed of it. And there must be many in Emirates who are concerned that they too may get a mention – though this is probably a real benefit of the blog as managers who bully will have certainly backed off in response to this particular spotlight. A Union would be able to force the advice (that most people worked out over a year ago) onto Emirates management – stop throwing bricks, go and talk to the lady with the lamp!

Major tragic events in the aviation industry in the last few years have drawn the travelling public to aviation forums and many will be alarmed at the increasing swell of concern about the fitness of flight deck crew to operate safely. It is too easy to make arguments at the ends of the scale – ‘lazy, overpaid prima donnas’ through to ‘so tired I cannot keep awake’. The same goes for the ‘over regulated’/ ‘under regulated’ arguments as well as the ‘ruthless profiteers’ versus the ‘hopelessly inefficient, but bailed out by government’ descriptions of airlines. The travelling public can only feel confident about what is a very complex equation, if they are certain that the overall framework is comprehensive and constructed with firm and independent parts. The public want to have confidence that an airline encourages and reacts to staff (at all levels) concerns, has an alternate and confidential route (such as via a Trade Union) for such communication (should individuals prefer) and is regulated by a genuinely independent official agency. A cynic can always question the competence and the true independence of all those involved, but what I have just described is a pretty robust and balanced framework. But take away the Trade Union and the structure loses its rigidity. Regardless if it is true or not, what travellers are deducing from the aviation forums at the moment is that the airlines and the regulator in the Middle East are working hand in hand and that staff views, if heard at all, are ignored. One picture currently being presented is that if a member of Emirates flight deck crew has a concern about safety, then their best chance of being listened to would be to contact either a German Trade Union or a Russian news channel. Would it not be better if s/he could talk to a Trade Union representing staff in Emirates? I am sure if that option were to be available, the public would feel more confident about flying with Emirates.

I do recognise that just to mention the words ‘Trade Union’ in Emirates could lead to serious consequences, so maybe ‘Staff Association’ would be more palatable. It would require a sea change in management attitude, but anyone who believes that a sea change in management attitude is not required in Emirates is a fool. Membership could be optional, though most companies see the benefit of a strong Union or Association, so actively encourage people to join. Individuals could then join and see if it works for them.

And if they don’t like it, they can leave!!

 


Update from Tom: “Decayed”

Mr Tom Burgess, a former Senior Vice President of Emirates Group IT, is writing a blog about Emirates Airline of his own. Mr Tom has a unique perspective on what is going on inside EK management as he was once one of them until they’ve decided to fire all the good, honest and educated managers among themselves.

I am republishing Mr Tom’s posts for a while now. Here is his newest post about Patrick Naef, CIO and Divisional Senior Vice President of Emirates Group IT. This post should give you a perfect picture of one EK high position manager’s profile.

 

Decayed

The first day of February 2016 marks the start of a second decade of Patrick Naef’s uncontrolled leadership of IT within the Emirates Group. I assume he will mark the occasion with a few cakes, or similar, to share amongst those who have the misfortune to be close to him. In return he will expect a stream of compliments about what he has done, and how he has done it. The concept of a sycophants’ tea party springs to mind, though I doubt if everyone will find it possible to stoop that low.

Meanwhile the real workers in EG-IT (i.e. those who manage to keep the show going despite the lack of any coherent direction) will have to endure yet another day minimising the effects of continued decay. Perhaps they could find some light relief by completing a little anniversary quiz I have put together? Though I hope the answers will not add too much to the gloom.

 

  1. How many months would Patrick Naef survive in a management position in a company that had to adhere to employment laws?
  1. How many times has Patrick Naef lied?
  1. How much of Emirates Group’s money has Patrick Naef wasted?
  1. In his first five years in office, how many air miles did Patrick Naef clock up whilst on duty travel?
  1. How many times has Patrick Naef reported faults on his IT devices?
  1. How many people from the UK have resigned from Patrick Naef’s EG-IT, or have been forced to resign, or been fired, or been removed from their role or been demoted?  (An individual impacted in more than one category only counts as one.)
  1. How many times has Patrick Naef been given special treatment by the Emirates Group?
  1. How long will it take for Gary Chapman to understand the scale of wasted talent in EG-IT resulting from the management culture of bullying and cronyism?
  1. Has Patrick Naef ever put the needs of an individual in EG-IT above his own?
  1. How many times was Patrick Naef’s opinion challenged in 2010?
  1. How many times was Patrick Naef’s opinion challenged in 2011?
  1. If someone wanted to find out about Patrick Naef by searching the internet, when would they have found the more truthful picture – in 2010 or in 2011?
  1. How many managers in EG-IT regularly patronise Patrick Naef with praise and compliments, but consistently make disparaging comments about him to others?
  1. How many managers in EG-IT regularly express praise and admiration about Patrick Naef, both to him and to their colleagues, but subtly undermine him at every opportunity?

I suggest you archive your answers.  You can then review them in 2026.

Link to this post: http://updatefromtom.blogspot.rs/2016/01/decayed.html

Link to Mr Tom’s previous post about Patrick Naef’s big IT project and its devastating results: http://updatefromtom.blogspot.rs/2015/12/upper-case-lower-case-or-head-case.html


“How would you fix the Emirates mess?”

I guess that truth about Emirates Airline management has finally found its way to public. Wall Street Journal has already published an article on Emirates cabin crew’s dissatisfaction and in their newest article (“Pilot Workload at Emirates Under Question”) we can read about Emirates pilots’ discontent.

I will repeat how my intention was never to attract public attention, otherwise I would contact journalists from all over the world. My intention was to get my end of service money and an apology for being maltreated and harassed. I didn’t get any of these things so far. On the contrary, Emirates Airline managers fired a close friend of mine recently just for commenting my blog post on Facebook.

Nevertheless, as I would love to see my former colleagues more satisfied and happy with their work in Emirates Airline (which is one of the reasons why I have published so many of their stories here), in this occasion I am republishing very constructive and informative article from Update from Tom blog written by former Emirates high level manager Mr. Tom Burgess. You can visit his blog here, and this is part of his newest blog post on profit share, bonuses and constructive ways to improve current challenging situation in Emirates Airline.

Let’s assume, even just for a moment, that somebody from EK management will put their arrogance aside and read this smart article carefully and with understanding.

Many threats can be turned into opportunities.  And Emirates certainly has a threat to deal with.  The situation has been deteriorating for some time, but a tipping point was perhaps reached last year.  The company motto, promulgated by the HR department, was simple – ‘If you don’t like it, you can leave’.  In EG-IT this was supplemented by Patrick Naef’s approach of ‘If I don’t like you, you will leave’.  Now people will choose to leave if nothing positive is done.

But this major threat could not come at a better time.  The price of oil hasfallen dramatically, averaging around a third below its expected level throughout the second half of the financial year.  Fuel costs represent about 40% of the airline’s operating costs so there should be an additional profit of around 6% this year.  Even without the reduction in fuel price, Emirates would be making a healthy profit, so this is truly a large windfall.  As always, the discussion about what to do with the profits will already be underway and I hope there is a strong focus on the problem of staff morale.

Of course, an obvious answer is to be appropriately generous with the bonus but, though I said earlier that opportunities often evolve from threats, it can also work the other way.  A single and large pay out to staff will be very well received but, unless people genuinely believe that things are going to change, a healthy bonus could be the perfect trigger for people to move on.

Annual bonuses can also be divisive.  There is a general acceptance that those with larger salaries will receive more cash, but I feel uncomfortable with a system that increases the percentages of bonuses for senior managers.  The argument that the more senior someone is, the more impact s/he can have on the company’s performance, does not wash with me.  That has already been accounted for in the shape of a larger salary and an already larger bonus, without the need for multipliers.

Low salaries (for some) and high staff turnover has been a strategy that has worked well for Emirates.  One cannot fault the basic principle – if you pay enough below what a job is worth and the cost of recruiting does not fill that gap, you appear to make a saving.  But this approach reflects narrow thinking.  I worked for a company that paid in the upper decile of industry salary ranges and were thus able to recruit and retain the best staff.  The efficiencies realised just from having the best staff more than paid for that policy.  There were many other benefits too, including a much slimmer HR department which could focus on the important task of developing careers to the advantage of individuals and the company, rather than wasting time on endless hiring and firing activities.

You generally get what you pay for in life.  This certainly applies to staff and ‘pay’ is not limited to money, it embraces the whole spectrum of how people are treated.  There are clearly people who ‘want something for nothing’ in this world but there is no need to recruit those, or retain them if their attitudes change.  The vast majority of people want to work hard and make valuable contributions and this mindset is significantly strengthened if they are treated with respect and honestly, and paid what they are worth in the market.

Companies, even large ones, should not treat staff as temporary, unless there is a clear business requirement (e.g. one off event) to do so.  If a company treats its staff as permanent and applies a long term approach to the relationship, that attitude will be returned.  Obviously, many of us may not join an organisation with the intention to stay until retirement, but why shouldn’t a company make that assumption when it recruits people?  What could be the downside?

So what is Emirates going to do?  Attention on a number of issues is long overdue and, with a healthy amount of money to play with, there is now the perfect opportunity to act decisively.

– The staff survey needs to published, messages acknowledged and specific actions identified (and delivered, of course).

– The Group is in need of a major restructure.  A lot of the operational areas may work well, but support functions should be pulled together and thoroughly reviewed.  Opportunities for large efficiency gains will appear endless if a detailed review of activities, including a rigorous assessment of the value they add (or don’t add!), is carried out.  I hear of claims from staff such as “I have nothing to do”, “What I do is pointless”, etc.

– HR itself needs more than a review.  It has to position itself to do the job it was always supposed to do, but rarely did.  At least it appears the problem has been acknowledged, but real action is required.

– Management levels need a careful examination.  There cannot be many people in the group (other than those occupying pointless management jobs) who believe that Emirates does not have too many layers of management.  With fewer levels, reporting will have to be more focused and accountability increased.  I have witnessed an entire team of VP’s decline to make any decisions at a meeting, saying “we will have to wait for the boss” (who had been delayed).  And I know of another VP who is described by his team members as “the world’s most efficient email forwarding system”.  I could go on.

– I should not have to write this – treat everyone (all levels, up or down the organisation) with respect and maintain dignity, openness and honesty in all proceedings.

– Phase out the profit share scheme, but make an immediate andunambiguous commitment to increase the salaries of those in real need.  By ‘in real need’ I mean those who are adding genuine value to the day to day operation and to the bottom line of the business.  This will require a newremuneration policy, one that is much more considered than the ‘as little as we can get away with’ approach used to date and one that has staffretention as its cornerstone.  This ongoing commitment will be easily funded by the savings generated by the restructures described above.  The potential for savings should not be underestimated.

I suspect that this update may irritate a few people, but I am only trying to help.  I did write to Sir Tim Clark a while ago offering a few suggestions, even help, but he did not respond.  I gave up writing to Gary Chapman a long time ago because it seems he has no interest in my views.  I do not understand why.  If anyone has a problem with me doing this, I would ask them – “how would you fix the mess?”.

Posted by Tom Burgess at 00:08


News from Emirates Illuminati website #3

Update from Tom

Let’s see what Tom has to say….

Some interesting info on this blog

Screenshot from Emirates Illuminati website

Screenshot from Emirates Illuminati website


Update from former Senior Vice President of Emirates Airline

History of serious mismanagement in Emirates Airline lasts for many years now. Like in every basket, one or few rotten apples spoil the whole basket of fruit.This process manifests itself as systematic disposal of honest and ethical managers and staff, who are not willing to comply to rottenness. This process went out of control since Sir Maurice Flanagan left the rudder to others.

So what happens with one company when honest people leave? It is left with network of dishonest, incapable and weak managers who abuse the company and its staff to get profit and benefits for themselves, especially when they know that they have to leave the country one day. Of course, these managers are not capable to create, conduct and successfully finish most of their projects as most of the good and skilled people left or they are kept quiet, blackmailed and threatened with warnings and service terminations.

I already wrote about Ms. Anoma Manuel’s (former Divisional Vice President Airport Services) failed project with new ABC check in and boarding system. Ms. Anoma is so rampant that she decided to forcefully implement this project although the feedback on it was very bad. But, as Ms. Anoma told me once – her seniors are friends of hers. So, she is protected. And her bonus is protected. But who will protect the company and its staff from this kind of incompetent and bully managers? Who will stop the absurd waste of money on meaningless projects, which their innovators falsely present as “successful and useful” or they just cover all the traces of projects’ failures?

Mr.Tom Burgess's (former Senior Vice President in Emirates Airline) blog.

Mr.Tom Burgess’s (former Senior Vice President in Emirates Airline) blog.

People criticized me for asking Ms. Anoma about her salary. I was fired for asking her about her salary. But I would ask her again. And again. And again. Because she doesn’t care about the sufferings of her staff. She would rather waste huge amounts of company’s money on unnecessary projects, just to look good in her superiors’ eyes and to ensure her bonus, than to take care of her staff.

Unfortunately, she is not the only manager who wastes company’s money just as I am not the only former employee who writes the blog about injustices and management’s incompetency in Emirates Airline.

As I wrote at the beginning of this article, EK’s rotten management apples systematically spoil or get rid of their best managers. Mr.Tom Burgess is one of these managers. I will let you read his blog and decide about his intentions, skills and motivation. Today I want to re-publish his newest article which describes the exact mechanism on how managers waste company’s money on ludicrous projects while underpaying, bullying and punishing their hard working staff at the same time. This example is on the much higher level of management as Mr.Burgess had an important and responsible role in Emirates Airline.

Mr.Burgess was employed in higher management of Emirates Airline as Senior Vice President in EG IT department with Mr.Patrick Naef as Divisional Senior Vice President. On Mr.Burgess’s blog you can read everything on poisoned and backstabbing organisational culture in Emirates IT department, where Mr.Patrick Naef uses some questionable methods to get rid of all the managers who “stand on his way” of deceiving the top management about the real condition of his department.

DSVP of EGIT department

DSVP of EGIT department Patrick Naef

This is just the part of the article. You can read the whole article here.

No winner, many losers.

***

Seeing the many comments on the web about the way staff are treated in the Emirates group, including a focus on salaries, led me to do a rough calculation.  I believe that if the money wasted on Mercator Asia had been diverted to EKAS budgets, all ground staff could have enjoyed a 20% pay increase for every one of the four years of Mercator Asia operation.  And this is only looking at the cost of one failed initiative – try to imagine how much money has been poured into the IT drain over the last nine years!

The most odious of problems facing the Emirates group is the bullying of staff by managers, but perhaps the biggest issue is that front line staff, critical to the business, are overworked and underpaid.  But it would not be difficult to take a broom to the numerous support areas (not just EG-IT) and divert the proceeds to much better use.

***

Fundamental changes are essential, but some people are still thrashing around in the depths of the denial stage of the change curve.  At least there has been recognition that there is a major problem, but real progress will not be possible until some time is spent looking in the mirror.  It will take true leadership to get the ball of change rolling and then, when it comes, the really difficult challenges will emerge.

Mercator Asia project is mentioned very often at Mr.Burgess's blog.

Mercator Asia project is mentioned very often at Mr.Burgess’s blog.

Perhaps the biggest task will be to convince staff that the company is serious about change.  To illustrate this point, what will Patrick Naef need to do to persuade you to trust him?

And will anyone know what to do?  Adopting a policy of being open and honest will be a major start.  But, in my experience, the further people rise up the corporate ladder, the greater difficulty they have with the concept of being open and honest.  The line between what staff should be told (i.e. most things) and what they shouldn’t be (i.e. commercially or personally confidential information) is well understood by the majority of staff, but creates paranoia nearer the top.

And who will actually lead this essential change project?  Assuming someone who can be trusted is found, will they have the necessary skills?  Turning a corporate culture around is not a job for a bunch of external consultants, a genuine understanding of the issues is a prerequisite.  And he/she will also need the resolve to stand up to some pretty powerful figures, who I doubt will ever be genuinely convinced that a different way will be the right way.

However, the cause is far from lost because the company is blessed with tens of thousands of loyal, competent and hard working staff.  They want success for the company as much as they want it for themselves and I am sure they will be tolerant during what will be a lengthy process.  And for every bad manager in the company, there are numerous decent and capable managers.  They just need to be given more of a voice.

But delay is counterproductive.  As time moves on more evidence of the way Emirates treats its staff will emerge on the blogs and forums, more staff will resign, more careers will be wasted and more money will be poured down the drains of Dubai.

Posted by Tom Burgess at 22:37

 

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