Change, Leadership and Oman
Alright, yes I realize it’s been a month since I left for Oman. And no I haven’t been in touch. No excuses…although I have plenty.
Some of you may be wondering what’s been happening and what things are like. So I’ve decided I’m going to keep you posted.
Hmm where shall I start? Oh yeah, the beginning of course.
Imagine one day you wake up and you find yourself completely surrounded with everything unfamiliar.
Friends, family, homes, cars, language, food, clothing, everything is different. Wonderful, exciting and new …but different.
I arrived in Oman passport in hand, 6 OR (omani rials that’s the money over here) to pay for my visa, two suite cases and a carry on.
The country is beautiful. The city I live is about 5 km wide, but quite long…not sure really maybe 40 – 50Km. On one side we are embraced by the most wonderous lunar mountains…not like our Rockies at all, but wonderous all the same.
On the other side of the mountains is desert. On most days the mountains appear somewhat a blur, apparently this is from the blowing sand, if not for the mountains I suspect most of our city (Muscat) would be quite literally covered in sand.
On the otherside of our city we have the coastline. Miles and miles of untouched coastline…a true paradise. Most days there is absolutely nobody at the beach…who knew? This time of year the average daily temperature is 43C so you better have some flip flops and a big umbrella if you’re heading for the beach.
The women are dressed head to toe in black their faces are exposed. I’m certain they’ve got some fairly provocative garments going on underneath. The wardrobe choice is driven by their religious beliefs.
The men also dress in a long white “dress” very nice and must wear a “cap” at all times. Their clothing choices I must admit took some getting use to. It never fails however and I let out chuckle or two whenever I see a popular billboard advertisement for a banking institue which proudly shows a mother/father and child fully clad building a sand castle at the beach.
Now as strange as it was to see people (all people) dressed this way and the same way, the other day as I left a shop a man crossed in front of me not wearing a cap, and I literally had to step back for a moment because it was such a strange sight. I remember reflecting on men back home and actually quite enjoying the site of this mans head. I never much appreciated a “head” before.
How quickly we adapt.
Another quirky bit: You will be fined the equivelant of 60.00CAD for driving with a dirty car. And I tell you it gets dusty here, and I’m driving a black car. Lucky for me I’ve hooked up with a fellow that will come to my home and wash my car everyday (except Sundays…which is actually their Friday…yes another quirky tidbit the weekend is Thursday/Friday here) and clean my car for the equivelant of 15.00 bucks a month!!!!Wow!
The amazing people I work with are senior leaders within the Ministry of Oil and Gas as well as Oil Companies. My work is developing them through a combined training/coaching program for one year.
I’ll tell you it doesn’t matter where in the world I go, leaders have the same challenges and organizations are either making the decision to invest into the success of their leaders or they are continuing to fail them.
I am always so humbled when I see organizations like these (and some at home) that are willing to invest the time and money (I mean money is one thing, but the time that’s awesome) So many companies want me in to “fix things up” as quickly as possible. For some even a half day training is like a huge commitment.
Gosh it always makes me scratch my head in wonder.
I mean if people are our “best resource” then why the heck aren’t we willing to put some time into them???? Well that’s not what’s happening over here.
Oh yeah on another note, I can speak from experience at this point….all those stereotypes you hear about the Middle East, well at least in the part I’m living….they simply aren’t true. The people of Oman are probably the gentliest most open minded people I’ve ever met.
It seems at least once a week, somebody will stop me (I am at this point quite a visible minority 🙂 and welcome me to their country. Usually ask me how it’s been and if I need anything….yes this is true, and no they aren’t trying to pick me up. It’s absolutely genuine and absolutely refreshing.
I’ll keep you posted friends. Feel free to send your comments or ask questions and I’ll get to you asap.
Everything is different here, and yet everything is the same.
I started work almost right away. My primary focus