I confess that I’m normally not a very good team player. I’ve always liked individual sports and individual pursuits rather than be a part of a team, hell, I couldn’t take the stupid politics while working for Gulf Air so much that I decided to leave and start my own company. So you will excuse me a bit for ranting once in a while about the committee I’m involved in at the Chamber of Commerce now. I must also confess that although I normally am diplomatic, sometimes my mouth actually works faster than my brain, as it seems to be at times closer to my heart than it is to the grey matter above.
I attended the second (frustrating) meeting at the chamber for the Young Businesspersons Committee yesterday afternoon – missing the F1 race in which my good friend Schumi whipped the fluke again – in which a hell of a lot of posturing was done. All jokeying for goodness knows what! I mean, I consciously put my name forward to this committee to actually do some community service and to help my fellow businesspersons in Bahrain. I had no idea what I got myself into… as far as politics is concerned at least. But I can certainly look at it from another point of view, and maybe I should, in that these 16 individuals who constitute the whole committee are dedicated young(ish) people who undoubtedly share my enthusiasm to get things done, and as it is only the 2nd meeting, and as the goals of this particular committee are quite wide, it has become apparent that it will take some time to hash out a mission statement, and then agree on specific and particular goals through which we can enact an action plan to do what we were put in this committee to do: help the young businesspersons in Bahrain.
Let me also confirm once again that this is the first time ever I get involved in such a committee and organisation, so I am particularly green in this area and my thoughts here might be off at a tangent; however, I’m determined to make a difference there, and learn to work within a team.
The first and foremost thing that pissed me off about the committee is that all communication to it must be (from now on) in Arabic! Although I speak it fluently of course, I do find it very difficult to express myself using it! I know, quite sad, but that’s the truth. I have no idea how fast I can type in English – I didn’t clock myself, but I can type just as fast as I think. However, when it comes to type in Arabic, a paragraph such as this would probably take me the best part of 30 minutes to do, it’s like chiselling on stone or pecking at keys with just a pencil stuffed up my nose and my hands tied behind my back!
So heeeellllppp, I need resources to teach me how to write in Arabic, else I will use Google to translate my thoughts, and that’s extremely time consuming as I have to bloody well re-edit everything Google churns out!
Ok, calm down Mahmood… one thing that might help is starting another blog in which I would write into it exclusively in Arabic. The problem of course is that will take a lot of my time to maintain two blogs! I’m not sure how I’d do it at the moment, maybe an article every week or so, like eMoodz has decided to do and it seems to have been working quite well for him so far (please help Mo! let me know how you’re getting along.)
The other problem is that if I start writing in Arabic I’ll start embarrassing myself and blowing every light bulb in the area (that’s slang we use in Bahrain to describe someone who doesn’t speak Arabic properly ;)) but not for my speech as I don’t have any problem with that aspect, but for my writings… please be gentle and don’t throw too many rocks at me 🙂
So, the second hindrance has got to be addressed, expressing myself in Arabic – the first of course is to learn to be more diplomatic and not telling people to their faces that their ideas suck and stop wasting our time!
Back to the meeting: I suggested to the chair (ably filled by Mo’anes Al-Mardi at the time) that we should all agree to the basic premise of the committee; write an unambiguous mission statement, then – as Sofyan later suggested – limit the number of goals that we have to attack in order to actually get things done. If we have far too many, we won’t get anything done at all, especially if those goals are impractical or too far fetched.
The other thing that came out at the meeting as far as my suggestions were concerned is that some members objected to them as it was assumed that anyone who started a business already knows the fundamentals of staying in business! It later transpired after some discussion that this is certainly the case but not for the sector of the market I was considering; Sofyan for instance was thinking about the higher-end of the scale of young businesspersons, while I was thinking of the broader end. I didn’t even think of the higher-end of the scale which was remiss of me as they too fall under our auspices, and as the committee’s goal is to serve all young businesspersons, I should have thought of those too.
Another way of looking at this of course – and maybe we should – is create sub-committees: one taking care of the broader low-end while another would take care of other sectors. The goals of both might be the same, the practical approaches to the problems will be different.
Maybe a vertical approach is what is needed here, as the committee’s mission is far too broad. And with the breadth of the business sector in Bahrain, it will be impossible to do justice to it all.. the demands seem to me to replicate all of the Chamber’s committees into sub-committees into the YBC! Can you imagine what would happen? We’ll probably have to create another Chamber of Commerce specifically for young businesspersons!
Anyway, my thoughts are now in mush-mode which need to be sorted, categorised and prioritised before the next meeting.. which I hope won’t be done once again on an F1 afternoon!