Monday, January 23, 2012

Doing business in UAE

Sensitivity to other cultures is important, never more so than when doing business.  This month, I find myself back in the UAE for extended period of time in a series of client meetings.  While I have read up on "acceptable" behavior for this region, knwoing when and how to apply it is the key.

A few observations:

(1) Doing business as a woman can present some unique challenges, i.e. not extending my hand to an Emirati mail for a handshake unless he offers his hand ot me first. For those men with long beards, this signifies a more conservative belief system, and as such, I should not use direct eye contact.

(2) Please refer to all clients as "Mr." or "Mrs." for the first few meetings until you have established the basis of an ongoing relationship or they invite you to refer to them by their first name.

(3) Respect hospitality.

(4) Recognise that honour or saving face is exceptionally important in any negotiation or business transaction. Be prepared to be indirect when saying no or declining an offer.

(5) Behave with sensitivity where alcohol is concerned.

(6) Steer clear of food products that are pork.

(7) Negotiations may take a long time and require several visits. This is partly to build trust, and partly because decisions may be made elsewhere. Decisions are made at the top, by consensus, often with the help of various committees. Once plan is made, expect swift action.

(8) Spoken word or verbal communication is more important than written communication. You get better results and quicker responses by meeting people or calling them rather than emailing them.

(9) Most meetings in the Arab world are "circular" rather than "linear". This means that your Emirati counterpart will in most cases not stick to a fixed agenda in terms of order, re-visit points when you thought you had cleared them, and regularly raise personal issues, comments or observations in the middle of a business discussion.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"12 in 12 in 2012" Tuesday Update

T-2 weeks to Marrakech Marathon Dubai International Marathon (race #1).

Yea, I know, it is actually Friday, but the blog has been silent for a bit during the holidays.  Vacation in Hawaii and all that stuff meant I never wanted to pull the PC out to post an update.
Suffice to say, the training has continued in earnest, with my longest runs being completed during the Christmas week.  The taper is in full force now, with the goals of proper diet, enough sleep/rest, and completion of minor runs (this weekend will be a 12 miler) on the top of the list.

The big news is that due a work project in Dubai, I will not be able to run in the Marrkech marathon.  Main reasons are the time off, no direct flights from Dubai to Marrakech, and too much time will be spent on airplanes getting back and forth.  As luck would have it (the gods were indeed smiling), I am able to run in the Dubai International Marathon on the same weekend as the Marrakech Marathon.  So, to quote the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song, "All aboard the train" except that this train to Marrakech is now actually a plane to Dubai.

Race day is Friday, January 27th.  The Dubai course is flat, is an out and back course, and temps should be in upper 60s/low 70s.  Not my favorite running weather but an option given the other constraints.
How do I feel?  Actually, the body has been tired and sore over the last couple of weeks.  Shin splints have been the main culprit as well as that left calf soreness returning (remember the muscle tear in London 2009????).  Like any experienced marathoner, I pulled back the road running and did some cross training and that seems to have helped the shin splints, and slightly improved the calf soreness.  I am not 100% yet but still two weeks before D-Day so will keep at it.

Fundraising has been solid and consistent, with 40% of the £10,000 goal being attained.  I still have quite a few ideas up my sleeve and it is just the start of the marathon events.  PLEASE:  If you, a family member, or friend have personally been touched by cancer, please consider donating to Cancer Research UK on behalf of my "marathon" marathon journey.

da Vinci Day

The long awaited day is here: Today is da Vinci Day!!!!!

So, why all the fuss? The Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan Exhibit is the most complete display of Leonardo’s rare surviving paintings ever held. This unprecedented exhibition – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – brings together sensational international loans never before seen in the UK and all in one place, the National Gallery in London.

The event has been sold out for months, with my tickets being purchased early last fall.

What does the exhibit focus on?While Leonardo was a man of many skills and accomplishments, this exhibit focuses on Leonardo, the painter. Many of the works being shown were completed while he painted at the court of Milan.

What paintings are on display?Featuring the finest paintings and drawings by Leonardo and his followers, the exhibition examines Leonardo’s pursuit for perfection in his representation of the human form. Works on display include ‘La Belle Ferronière’ (Musée du Louvre, Paris), the ‘Madonna Litta’ (Hermitage, Saint Petersburg) and ‘Saint Jerome’ (Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome).

The two versions of Leonardo’s ‘Virgin of the Rocks’ – belonging to the National Gallery and the Louvre – will also be shown together for the first time. The final part of the exhibition features a near-contemporary, full-scale copy of Leonardo’s famous ‘Last Supper’.

Bring on "da" man!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

2012 is really here

First week back at work from Christmas and New Year break, and all I can say, it's tough! Can I find a way retire to Hawaii and live there permanently?

I mean it.

Really...I do.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

"To bucket or not" - that is the question

Being a type-A, self-directed individual, setting goals is something I usually never shy away from (i.e. 12 marathons in 12 months, etc.). Still, I was impressed by a fellow Baylor friend (and FB co-hort, Gary A. - you know who you are :-)) after reading his FB post last year about creating his 2011 bucket list.

So, I have taken a page out of his book for 2012, although the Budman has informed me that I already had a full 2012 bucket list. Clearly, I did not agree, hence this post.

So, yes, my bucket list for 2012 has been set, but somehow felt I did not need the added pressure of posting the list for all to view....

Have anyone else created a list for 2012?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Lovin' the Aloha State

Yes, the Budman and I are probably some of the last people I know to get to Hawaii...better late than never.

After a quick stop in Dallas for a pre Christmas visit with the family, we headed off to Oahu on Christmas Day. Mele Kalikimaka!!!

Translation: Mele Kalikimaka - Merry Christmas. The words "Mele Kalikimaka" are a phonetic translation. When the missionaries and other Westerners first brought the custom of Christmas to the islands the Hawaiians had difficulty pronouncing Merry Christmas and turned it into words that rolled more easily off their tongues. Of course, I already knew this thanks to Bing's Christma song, Mele Kalikimaka. Sad but true.

New Year's finds us in Maui - Hau'oli Makahiki Hou - Happy New Year. The western Christmas and New Year fell during this same time of the year that the Hawaiians traditionally honored the earth for giving them plenty to eat. This period of resting and feasting was called Makahiki (mah-kah-HEE- kee). It lasted for 4 months, and no wars or conflicts were allowed during this time. Because makahiki also means "year", the Hawaiian phrase for "Happy New Year" became "Hau'oli (happy) Makahiki (year) Hou (new)"(how-OH-lee mah-kah-hee-kee ho).

Catch you on the on the flip side of Hawaii.