“They appreciate what we stand for and the pillars of this country, which encourage individuality and personal identity”

The Grid: To support Dubai’s growth as a hub of cultural innovation, you have conceptualised the KOA’s new Canvas members’ community around the idea of blurring the lines between ‘live, work and play’. The mixed-use development consists of both residential units and a state-of-the-art communal co-working space. Where did you draw your inspiration for the concept?

Mohammed Zaal: Previously as CEO of Al Barari, I wanted to redefine residential living and working in Dubai and create an urban ecosystem that challenged existing norms in the market.

In the past few years, I really started feeling that the real estate market here wasn’t really going in the right direction. In the first huge residential construction boom, it was evident that no one really cared about what was being built, who was building it, or who the buyers or investors were. Everyone was just playing the game and making money.


“In reality, a psychopath boss is more likely to prey on submissive ‘yes’ people”

The Grid: Top executives often lose sight of themselves and morph into monsters, who, depending on the culture of the organisation, can go unchecked and even rewarded. We recognise that not all psychopathic traits are bad when it comes to business but employees can pay a high price, right? An Australian study came out recently with ways to identify if your boss has psychopathic traits. Here is what they warn us to look for:

  • Egocentric: flamboyant, attention-seeking, manipulative and sometimes downright cunning
  • Lack of Empathy: cold, ruthless and calculating
  • Amoral: insincerity, back covering, superficiality and ultra-competitive

What can we do to prepare ourselves in dealing with a psychopath boss now or in future? (more…)

“The first step is ensuring that the agenda for the meeting is set by the board itself and not by the executives”

The Grid: There is a lot of focus on the principles of corporate governance frameworks these days, where board members are increasingly being scrutinized for holding a company’s executive team to account. Just as importantly, however, you advise that boards should also focus on the methods of effectively ‘operationalizing’ these principles to curtail the CEO from taking over the meeting and to keep waffling directors in check.

Dr. al-Binali:  One of the crucial operational aspects of corporate governance is managing board meetings.
Board meetings are the focal point for dissemination of performance information, discussion of major issues and strategic decision making. (more…)


“Fundamentally young employees want to work with good leaders. This is where the best organization focus their efforts”

The Grid: Ok, technically speaking, a ‘millennial’, otherwise known as ‘Generation Y’, is someone born between 1981 and 1997 (at the time of this article, a millennial is between 20 and 36 years old). In the advertising industry, any talent acquisition strategy would feature Millennials, no doubt. Do the usual traits assigned to this generation, i.e., lazy, entitled and opportunistic, ring true in your experience?

Nick Seruwagi: Having worked in HR outside of the advertising industry, I know you don’t need to be a Millennial to be lazy, entitled and opportunistic. These traits are visible across any multi generation within any organization. However, our current Millennials do get the most stick for it. I would be lying if I said it didn’t ring true in some instances but there are many proactive,  ambitious and hard working millennials as well. We see this in the growing number of young entrepreneurs across the region.


“ hierarchical top-down style of management is ‘industrial age’ and being replaced by self-managed teams“

The Grid: In recent times, CEO life cycles are averaging less than four years. How can leaders optimize their shorter tenures in a VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) reality?

Ed Capaldi: The average lifespan of a CEO or an organization, for that matter, has never been shorter and continues to shrink. In these times, leaders who recognize that industrial-age strategizing is dead and develop an agile mindset will optimise performance and will have a greater chance of surviving longer in the role. Disruption across industries requires leaders to be a ‘game shifter’ focused on delighting the customer and able to make people want to do what must be done. In other words, it is about having the ability to deviate from past practices and adapt to change.