The Swiss-based IMD (International Institute for Management Development), in collaboration with the Gulf Research Center (GRC) and Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), hosted the IMD Business Forum on the theme: “Leading Virtuoso Teams” in Dubai on April 19.
According to the IMD, in nearly every area of human achievement – business, the arts, science, athletic, politics – we can find teams that produce outstanding and innovative results by getting more than the full-value of the talent potential of the assembled individuals. Such work groups are called Virtuoso Teams. Unlike traditional teams – which are typically made up of whoever is available, regardless of talents – Virtuoso Teams consist of star performers, at every level and are a powerful way to generate major change. Leaders of Virtuoso Teams put a premium on great collaboration – and they are not afraid to encourage creative confrontations to get it.
In his opening address on the “Impact of Virtuoso Teams in Ultra Rapid Growth: The Dubai Story,” Dr. Omar bin Sulaiman, Director-General of Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, said: “There are enough people in the business community in the Gulf region who have earned the distinction of being worthy leaders, whom many are happy to follow and that is good sign.”
The common characteristic of all the “visible” executives-leaders in the UAE – Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gargawi, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs and former CEO of Dubai Holding, Mohammed Al-Abbar, Chairman of Emaar Properties and Director of Dubai Economic Department, and Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman, Ports Customs and Free Zones Corporation, among others – “is their attitude…different people, but same attitude. They are driven by a motive to achieve the impossible,” Sulaiman said.
At the same time, he added: “It is not enough to have just leaders; there should be capable followers too…leaders should give chance for people to improve…if they continue to under-perform, they should look for replacements…not by hiring, but substituting”.
The DIFC official had a word of advice too: “Working day and night is not a virtue…it is a shortcoming. It may bring success at the professional level, but at the family and social levels, it will result in failures.”
The forum was led by Bill Fischer, Professor of Technology Management at IMD, who shared the outcome of his published research focused on how to systematically exploit the power of the Virtuoso Team method. He offered various insights from his experiences of how high performance teams are critical to achieving outstanding results.
The IMD academic said that the reigning trend is to hire “great” people and produce “average” results. The challenge is to hire “ordinary” people and produce “extraordinary” results. According to Prof. Fischer, one of the trends doing the rounds in the organizations around the world is that most employers are able to tap and most employees are able to deliver not more than 40 percent of their utilization limit in the best case scenario and as low as 12 percent in the worst case scenario.
Quoting from Thomas Friedman’s “The World is Flat,” Prof. Fischer said, “best skills, expertise, technology can be found anywhere…they are accessible, they’re active, and they’re mobile. It’s a completely new world.”