Archive for October, 2011

How to prevent change / how to encourage change.

Posted on: October 30th, 2011 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

It is challenging to overcome prejudice. And ignorance. And a narrow perspective. Or the desire to make fun of, rather than to have respect for.
It is always easy to take the easy way out when confronted with something you don’t understand. The “easy” way; when in doubt “they” are wrong, “I/We” are right. If “their” reality does not match “my/our” reality, “I/We” are right, “they” are wrong.
Of course, everyone understands Covey’s “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
Telling someone they are “stupid” or “wrong” or “prejudiced” in a pejorative way, or in a way that denigrates them, rarely makes that person open to your ideas.
Living by the concept that change best comes from working inside the “group” is NOT the EASY way. It can appear the person on the inside is condoning the behaviors and practices of the society that currently exists.
As a Canadian, I do not “approve” morally with some of the practices of other cultures. But I do know that publicly criticizing or condemning another culture is NOT the best way to encourage change.
My belief in the potential of the youth of the United Arab Emirates to create a unique culture that might move closer to my preference, is unbowed regardless of the criticism from my friends, peers, and many Canadians. I also have endured and understand the way the UAE CID has treated me (and maybe continues to treat me).
I will continue to severely demean those so-called “experts” who are motivated more by greed than helping the UAE citizens make decisions, and take responsibility for these decisions.
Consultant Peter Block suggests three ways of addressing an organization’s problems. 1. Do for them what they cannot do for themselves (and do not need to do ever again). 2. Work with the organization’s personnel to solve the problem, 3. Work with the organization’s personnel to help them learn how to do “it” themselves. However, in all cases the ethical consultant solves the problem and moves on.
In the 1980’s Canada’s federal government instituted projects to help “fishermen” (now called “fishers”) to learn new skills to move from the fishing industry to other industries. I had the opportunity to be first in on the effort. After looking at the scope of the proposed projects, I walked away because I knew my organization was not big enough to do the job. However, the big guys (consultants) and the little guys (anyone with a business card) jumped right in. The Federal Government spent millions of dollars. The number of “training” programs was in the thousands. The number of fishers “trained” beyond thousands. The success of the programs?
Ask the consultants? “We did a fabulous job.”
Ask the government? We trusted the consultants . . . if they said they did a good job, they did a good job. We would not throw away our money.
Ask the fishers? We got paid to be there. We all said we learned to keep the money coming. And we always knew there would be no jobs, let alone new careers.
I once asked a few insightful consultants their mission statement; “The government has money and we want it.”
The unethical practices in Canada pale in comparison to the consultants and experts practices in the UAE.
Enough of this. I had the honor to work with many young Emirati women (College and University graduates). They are making a difference. They are able to do on their own without consultants “doing it” for them. I feel strongly that I helped the young people to develop the skills needed to improve their chances of communicating more effectively.
My passion is for results. I am a catalyst, concerned with making a difference and then moving on.
I detest consultants and experts who, rather than solve a problem or really develop client skills, do only what is necessary to keep the problems unsolved, and the skills underdeveloped in order to maintain their revenue flow.
So much more I could write, and so many more examples I could give.
Rather than “exploit” – “expand”.
Rather than just find and define a problem, solve the problem. (Using most appropriate consulting approach.)
And being more concerned with concrete results than bigger (and bigger) consulting fees.
And yes, I tried to work within the system, but the system sensed my concerns, and ate me up. (Several times.)
But, on we go. Hope I can someday help some more.

UAE Frustration

Posted on: October 23rd, 2011 by Tom Pattillo No Comments

I very much respect and admire Emirati youth, especially the young women.

I am passionate about teaching and training.

I believe that all investments, projects, and strategies must be proven by achieving the objectives set and agreed to by the initiators – from lowest rank to President.

“If you can’t do it, you don’t know it.”


“Performance is the only measure of success.”


There is such a disconnect between the reality of education effectiveness and the falsified dreams and self-serving projects proposed by sycophantic education bureaucrats.

These self-described “experts” then “manipulate” those in power who seem more influenced by credentials than credibility.

It is an axiom of personal growth that if you are constantly blamed for your failure to learn, rather than looking at the teachers, trainers, and processes, you, the learner, will become discouraged, cynical, and de-moralized.

The projects ARE NOT WORKING because the objective is to look good, look advanced, look impressive, look logical, look future oriented, and look “obvious”.

I cannot possibly express how angry I am at the “experts.”

The leaders Sheikh Nayan in particular I give the benefit of the doubt.

Those advising Sheikh Nayan however are the sycophants who are satisfied to sell what looks good, rather than something that has a chance of succeeding.

The UAE is squandering its future by trusting those who care only about filling their pockets (ex-pat “experts” and “professionals”) and maintaining that revenue flow.


These experts believe, that in order to ensure this revenue flow, it is better to “manage a problem than solve a problem”.

(Many of those “consultants” and “experts” when asked their company’s or personal mission will respond if they are honest, “the government has money and we want it.”

Yes I am fed up.

Yes I want the very best for Emirati youth.Yes I am a catalyst.

I keep trying, I will keep trying.