eNewsletter August 2007

The GLO: Your Global Link to GCA

We’ve referred to them often enough- on the website, in the newsletter, in your course specs- GLO’s are the people to get in touch with for anything related to the GAC Corporate Academy. They are the GCA Liaison Officers, and they are a group of people selected by you, for you, to help you find your way around and to our classes.

One of the reasons why they’re so good at what they do is that they’ve been students themselves.

GLO’s are first nominated by a GAC Manager from a participating office, and once they are finished being congratulated, they are enrolled in an advanced Human Resource Development Course here at GCA.

During the course they are exposed to some of the latest developments from the field of human resource development, and they work with GLO’s throughout the GAC World to collaborate on relevant and emerging issues associated with the Academy.

GLO's are also trained to perform needs analysis in a specific context and articulate the unique needs of each client company, meaning that if you're not sure which GCA course can bring the strongest boost to your team, then the GLO can help.

GCA Liaison Officers also receive coaching training, enabling them to help unlock the potential of both individuals and teams and maximizing their effectiveness.

To speak to one of our GLO’s, all you need to do is find the one near you, and then email whatever query you'd like help with. We look forward to hearing from you, today!

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A Little Thanks Goes a Long Way

      By Waleed Jameel

A colleague of mine, RN, told me an interesting anecdote the other day. He's working on a new software for the company and the development team is spread over several offices and countries. It's been tough getting everyone on the same wavelength and tougher yet to have changes updated in the system quickly.

RN is a smart manager. He realised that while everyone was skilled and doing the job, the mechanics of interaction were rusty, and people communicated with each other tersely and reluctantly. What was needed was a little oiling to smoothen up things. RN took ownership of the problem and reacted. He started saying "Thank you" and replying back positively to everyone. Today, the same group of people anxiously check up with him: Is everything ok? Do you need anything more? Did it work as you needed it to? It's a 360 degree change that has everyone satisfied.

Saying thanks seems to be absent from the work culture in Dubai, which does nothing to inspire people to go the extra mile or make the best of any opportunity- why should they, when they don't even get thanks? Validation is a powerful motivator, and its absence can be a depressing factor in any team or office.

Dennis Snow, a customer service excellence expert in Florida (USA), talks of the power of positive feedback, be it for customers or suppliers. Everyone wants employees that exceed expectation. Thus, it is vital that their hard work and performance be recognized. If it is ignored, people's desire to exceed will ebb away and eventually, it will stablise at minimal or average performance levels.

Studies have demonstrated that for recognition to have powerful impact, it must occur immediately after the desired behaviour. Your employee has worked hard and shown results (be they good or average is besides the point - it is the internal flame that must be kept strong). While in this elated emotional state, provide positive feedback to further cement the desire to exceed expectations regularly. As time passes, the recognition will have less impact and its appreciation will similarly decrease.

You don't have to be a manager to use this simple effective technique. Anytime a co-worker goes beyond expectations, let them know - shower them positively. Start small with a simple "Thank you, I appreciate your experienced guidance." A simple email acknowledges the work performed, expresses gratitude and appreciation, and ensures that credit is given to the proper person. It builds confidence in others, establishes respect and thus leads to better working relations with your co-workers.

At my office, I see this spirit in work everyday. My manager thanks the office boy for tea every single time. He sends out email responses each and every single time his query is answered. A supplier I have in New Zealand always wraps up his emails with a text smiley face ":)". He thanks and smiles, from miles away. These people always manage to get good results from me. I'm a happy customer of theirs and look forward to exceeding their expectations every single time.

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Profile: GLO Captain
Ahmed Al Rasheed

My career in shipping started when I joined marine section, in Bahrain Petroleum Company (Bapco), as a trainee (1969). I took over few positions prior to being sent to England in 1974. I was studying in Warsash Nautical College, Southampton-England. My thanks goes to the management of Bapco, at the time, to have given me the opportunity to study abroad.

I took over ships piloting in 1984 until August, 1997, handling different types of ships. We were the first Bahraini pilots in the Island to take over from the expats. I took early retirement on April, 1998.

I came in contact with GCA when Mr. Damien Odonoghue, General Manager of GCA, kindly introduced me to it.

At present I am the head of GAC Bahrain Academy, where we arrange and run courses for our employees, either in-house or outside the academy.

I became interested in becoming a GLO once I started the course and knew more about it. My role within GAC Bahrain as a GLO is that I introduce and encourage the staff to take as many courses available as possible, with the blessing of the management.

I have been involved with teaching in the past with Bapco when I used to train Bahraini Tug Captains, Barge Captains, Trainee Pilots, and Sailors.

My experience of dealing and sailing with so many different nationalities of people, from all over the world, gives me a better understanding of different types of people, and fits in nicely with my role as a GAC Liaison Officer.




Five Tips for Writing Effective Business Communiation

Business communication is a definite technique of writing, and while many of us would like to believe that “literary
license” liberates us from the conventional rules of writing, this luxury is not available when preparing formal communiqués designed to deliver a specific message to a specific audience.

If a few fundamentals are kept in mind, one can never go wrong while developing business communication:

Know your audience. This remains the most important principal when preparing any message – be it in your professional life, or personal. You need to know what it will take to get your message across – What the capacity of your audience is, and how you can best capture their attention and interest.

Your message thus should be designed for the recipient - tailored differently for different people. Your style of presentation, use of vocabulary and emphasis, amount of information and detail included, tone etc. will all have to be audience specific.

Get the greeting right. This one is very important. If you’ve never met the recipient in person, or they are in a position of seniority, never address them with familiarity, and or colloquial greetings. Go with a “Dear Mr. / Ms. (last name)”.

First names and casual greetings should only be used when a certain degree of acquaintance has been achieved, and a level of comfort established. On the other hand, if you are addressing a person of junior rank, it’s a good idea to come off on the lighter side, to put them at ease.

Start from the beginning; give a middle and then an end. Your message, ANY message, needs to have a structure. Depending on the length of your message, the main body, or the middle should contain the crux of the matter, presented in a clear, concise manner. Ensure all relevant information is there. What would your reaction be if you were receiving the message? Are you unclear about the information given? Does it lead to further questions? Does it get your message across?

Depending on the type of message you are sending out, the closing should either encourage or discourage further communication. In either case, the key words for closing a message are “courteous”, and “polite”. Being “firm” doesn’t necessarily translate into being “rude”.

Stay focused. Say what you need to, not more, not less. Essay writing and long walks in the park are to be saved for another day. The likelihood is, for your recipients, time means money, so verbosity, description and storytelling are anathemas to business communication.

Keep It Simple. Principles that guide your life need to form the basis of your written communication. What’s once sent out is very hard to retrieve, so don’t complicate things.

Official communication is not meant to be used to establish superiority over others. If you have something to say, say it and get done with it. Remember, the most effective message will be the one that uses minimum effort to achieve maximum results.


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