Leadership in Dubai and the UAE has never been in question. How is it that such a small country has leapt onto the world’s centre stage in such a short time? Well, there are lots of great books out there where you can read up on Dubai’s history and the Leadership skills that have catapulted it from a small trading port to a megacity but I will touch on one quality, namely creativity.
In 1999, when addressing a government award ceremony Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum gave a very interesting speech in which he said, “a leader does not necessarily need to be the most intelligent member of his group, although many of us think that this should be the case, rather he is the one with the clearest and most far-reaching vision.”
Leaders like Sheikh Mohammed do not stay still , they do not look at what their competitors are doing and try to mimic them rather they have the ability to create opportunities and go beyond the current mind-set.
Visionaries are willing to try new things and challenge the norm and have conviction and ability to execute their vision. They do things differently. Different is why they exist. The why they do it is important , it drives them to explore ideas and pursue their goals .
Steve Jobs was regarded as a visionary leader and Apple’s success can be attributed to his creativity in imagining new markets for emerging technology (coupled with of course Steve Wozniak’s technical programming skills). So why do they do it?
George Mallory, the great climber in answer to why he attempted to climb Everest, stated, “because it is there.”
Jobs said, “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Sheikh Mohammed, Dubai’s leader is quoted as saying, “If we have achieved everything, should we stay hand folded, just to eat and drink?”
They all strive to look beyond the present into what could be, they don’t stand still. Innovation is born from chaos not status quo, so next time you see a leader of industry resting on his laurels that is when the competition will gain advantage. Likewise business will cede competitive advantage when they lack vision and mimic the best practice of successful companies. The businesses that are leading the market are the ones creating not best practice but ‘next’ practice and embrace the philosophy of ‘what if’.
So who do you think is a visionary leader? If political leaders are not meeting the mark who is? Which business leaders epitomise creativity?
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