I’ve just returned from my first trip to the United Arab Emirates where I spoke at the annual Leaders in Dubai Conference. It was wonderful to meet and listen to the other presenters, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Benjamin Zander, Gary Hamel, Chester Elton, Jack Perkowski and David Plouffe (I listened to Al Gore, too, but didn’t meet him. He had quite the security shield, so I’ll have to sign a book for him some other time. Har!).
On the first day of the conference, I conducted a 3-hour MasterClass on Extreme Leadership, where I introduced the principle of Cultivating Love (as in LEAP–Love, Energy, Audacity and Proof), and opened the idea up for discussion.
Given the cultural business norms in the region, for many, Love in the context of work was a rather surprising idea, and for others, very hard to accept. We had quite a lively debate on the subject. At one point, I even thought I may have lost them altogether. So, when they actually came back after the break, I was–honestly–more than a little relieved.
In the end, the response from the group was excellent. And on a personal note, I found the discussion very stimulating, and the people exceedingly warm, friendly and gracious.
On Day Two, I presented the Greater Than Yourself approach to leadership, and they received the idea with open arms and seemed to embrace it with great enthusiasm.
Time will tell–which is true for all of us, of course.
Later, I had the chance to sit down with local radio host, Richard Dean, and do an interview for his show on The Dubai Eye. We talked about some of the cultural differences between the US and Dubai, and I think you’ll find it interesting. Please have a listen and let me know what you think: