The world is changing rapidly. The political map of the world has been drawn and redrawn in such a fashion as would have been impossible to imagine even a decade ago.
On the technological side, there have been revolutions. In the communication field, the lighting speed of change has ushered in the "global village." Now we can see events across the world, live, right from our bed rooms.
In the light of all these, it is but natural that management science and business administration also be re-written to keep up with the change. Or is it the other way around?
New ideas in business by dynamic entrepreneurs and "wild" businessmen have forced those in the academic world to change their syllabus. Students coming out of universities, unless familiar with the latest style of business, will not be able to function.
There are many writers who forced a complete change in business theories. One of them is Tom Peters. Tom Peters wrote his best seller "In Search of Excellence" which has sold over 10 million copies. He followed it with a "Passion for Excellence", which stayed on the list for 40 weeks. It also sold over six million copies.
Tom Peters has shaken the corporate world complacency and has injected humor into our business lives. His latest book is "Crazy Times Call for Crazy Organizations". The book, highly readable and entertaining, does look at international solutions based upon Peters' unique recipe of wisdom.
Tom Peters' one day seminars are intense, passionate and he delivers a powerful message not for the faint-hearted. It is a great experience to listen to him and take a leaf out of his experience. I wish in the Arab world too there could be a Tom Peters who would enlighten the Arab executive as we approach the 21st century. However, books and ideas cannot be produced in stagnant societies.
A society that is always on the move, creative and innovative excites me. They keep on conceiving, shaping and reshaping ideas. In their experiments with concepts, the media plays a great role. It takes information to every inquiring mind on every possible subject - from politics to society to economics. Thus we see literally thousands of magazines which do all sorts of surveys on the subjects they deal with.
Recently, a management magazine surveyed thousands of managers from all levels. The survey was to find out what derives top chief executive officers or CEOs.
The results showed that successful top executives create ideas and solutions on many fronts. While mid-level managers may shine in one area, CEOs excel at many aspects of the business - from product development to dealing with clients.
Business leaders can articulate what they want - both verbally and in writing. Also they tend to have stronger vocabularies than middle managers.
Stress does not bother successful executives. They approach difficult situations as challenges. They get excited by new projects, and instead of worrying about the first steps, they take responsibility and resolve issues.
The reason success comes easy in America is that it is a free society where people speak out their minds. Thus, it is easy to make a network with business and community leaders and cultivate contacts. Thus it becomes easier to identify opportunities and develop strategies.
An outstanding feature of American society and which has contributed to its success is that people are not afraid to say: "I don't know."
Top people in business have two-way communications with their staff thus helping in the flow of ideas. These ideas result in a vision. It is this type of vision that inspires action and motivates people to excel. It is the search for excellence that has made the United States the most powerful country in the world. Carl Louis, the American athlete said after the Atlanta Olympics that greatness belongs to those who look at the horizon.
We should not look for petty things. Our goals and aims in the Arab world should be to create a vision to inspire our people and to motivate them to excel and to be at par with other powerful and advanced societies of the world.
We have the talent and the will to do that.