Friday, January 26, 2007

Management Story - On Being a Successful Manager

It's a fine sunny day in the forest and a lion is sitting outside his cave, lying in the sun. Along comes a fox, out on a walk.

Fox: "Do you know the time, because my watch is broken"
Lion: "Oh, I can easily fix the watch for you"
Fox: "Hmm... But it's a very complicated mechanism, and your big claws will only destroy it even more"
Lion: "Oh no, give it to me, and it will be fixed"
Fox: "That's ridiculous! Any fool knows that lazy lions with great claws cannot fix complicated watches"
Lion: "Sure they do, give it to me and it will be fixed"
The lion disappears into his cave, and after a while he comes back with the watch which is running perfectly. The fox is impressed, and the lion
continues to lie lazily in the sun, looking very pleased with himself.

Soon a wolf comes along and stops to watch the lazy lion in the sun.

Wolf: "Can I come and watch TV tonight with you, because mine is broken"
Lion: "Oh, I can easily fix your TV for you"
Wolf: "You don't expect me to believe such rubbish, do you? There is no way that a lazy lion with big claws can fix a complicated TV"
Lion: "No problem. Do you want to try it?"
The lion goes into his cave, and after a while comes back with a perfectly fixed TV. The wolf goes away happily and amazed.

Scene :
Inside the lion's cave. In one corner are half a dozen small and intelligent looking rabbits who are busily doing very complicated work
with very detailed instruments. In the other corner lies a huge lion looking very pleased with himself.

Moral :

Management Lesson In the context of the working world :

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ajman Likely to Have Its Own Metro System

There is news of Ajman; Dubai’s neighboring emirate to build its own railway network. Ajman’s metro system may eventually connect to other emirates and to Dubai. The chairman of Ajman Municipality revealed this likelihood a couple of days ago. This is great news and will mean major changes in travel life styles of people from Sharjah and Ajman to UAE. Should Ajman metro become a reality; it will have major positive impact solving traffic problems. Ajman metro will need involvement of Sharjah Emirate. Ajman being right next to Sharjah; Ajman rail has to pass through Sharjah.

If the metro becomes a reality then UAE real estate scene will change dramatically. Currently Ajman also offers freehold properties to foreign residents in a limited way at throw away prices. When compared to Dubai free hold properties Ajman freehold is outright cheap. Foreign investors willing to invest in UAE property should think of Ajman from the pint of view of investment and appreciation. If the metro gets operational then Ajman land and property prices are bound to move up. However don’t expect this to happen soon. It may take a minimum of 6-8 years. Remember Ajman and other emirates cannot compete with Dubai in terms of speed of execution of projects. Dubai metro is starting off in September 2009.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fortune Tower Fire in Dubai Kills Four

Last week’s fire at the Fortune Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road opposite Dubai Marina took a toll of 4 lives and some 60 injuries. Many of the workers were from the sub continent. Onlookers who saw the inferno felt like seeing another 11/9. One worker literally jumped to death from the high tower. The injured were treated for smoke inhalation and needed oxygen. Fire engulfed the high rise building which was nearing completion. The higher floors of the building was where most workers were on the job. It is still not known what exactly caused the blaze, but an electrical short circuit is the likely cause.

The UAE has a pretty bad track record of enforcing proper security measures at construction sites. While the equipments used are no doubt of high quality; the safety measures that are mandatory for construction of high rise buildings are never completely adhered to. Proper training is rarely given to the workers. Casualties at construction work sites is quite common and such deaths are not correctly reported and major disasters are made to look like small slip ups. Wages are low and working conditions are bad. Human rights go at a discount and workers welfare is seldom addressed. Until recently construction workers were made to toil in the scorching summer afternoons without a break when temperatures frequently reach 45-50 degrees. Exploitation of workers is rampant at a wage that can shock the western world. Living conditions for the laborers are far from satisfactory.

Workers rights in this part of the world are limited. For example it is common practice for employers in the UAE to retain employees' passports for the duration of the employment contract to prevent expatriate employees from changing jobs. This is an illegal practice, but it is almost never investigated, let alone punished by the government.

Coming to the present disaster; I would like to know what compensation the concerned authorities doled out to the 4 victims who lost their lives in the inferno. And what compensation will be given the 60 odd workers who suffered smoke inhalation and hospitalization? Monetary figures are rarely disclosed and there are no proper guidelines when it comes to addressing such grievances. Compensation is usually a pittance. The country has a long way to go in such measures and one can only expect things to improve.