Sayyid Nasr Albusaidi is Leading Change from Within which resulted in the shortening of the Permit Issuance Lifecycle from One Year to One Minute
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Muscat, Oman – September 19th 2017
Running in its second session, the participants of the Culture Transformers Program, delivered by Altaaat Leadership Development, were taken by surprise, meeting an extraordinary and special Omani leader, Sayyid Nasr bin Badr bin Hamad Albusaidi, the Director of Quality at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs in Oman.
With his humble tone, Sayyid Nasr took participants back to his early school days, admitting “I left Oman for the UK to complete my secondary education at 15, and I must admit, I struggled a lot throughout my schooling days; I was not the type of student who took studying seriously, and as a result my school grades were very poor; failing was a common thing. I later moved to the United Stated to start university, but even there I struggled. In fact, I failed with merit! But I learned a lot. What a lot of people don’t know is that one of the very first jobs I took on was milking cows at a farm, something I had previously never attempted. I also worked as a janitor at the College I was studying at, which was followed by some entrepreneurial attempts, that also proved to be a complete failure in the end. Disappointed by my failure, my father taught me a lesson on responsibility, and decided to lift some financial support he previously extended. Looking back, it was a very rough sail I had went through, trying to balance between my struggles and the growing school demands, but at that time, it had taught me a great lesson – I very much needed – on discipline and responsibility and such at the outset of my life, which today I look back at with great respect and appreciation.
The hard times I went through, had me finally pull my act together, and start taking my studies and life seriously. But just when that happened, certain events took place, that saw me moving back to Oman.
Back home, I decided to put my time to good use by starting my own business with the support of the family business, the SABCO group. It was a good move, as the experience proved valuable coming at the outset of my career. A few years into my role, I decided to give school another attempt, and had enrolled in a University in New Zealand, where I managed to achieve a bachelor’s degree in communications, majoring in Marketing and Public Relations. The appreciation I now had for school, had me finishing my bachelors in a total study period time of 2 ½ years. Also, because some of the valuable friendships I managed to develop during my schooling days, I pursued a business opportunity in Qatar while I was studying at University.
Following my graduation, I returned back to Oman and started working for the family business. One of my first tasks was to start and manage SABCO’s corporate communications. Another task related to SABCO Media, where I was able to deliver some successful projects, such as the publishing of the renown Soccer magazine “Koooora wa bas” amongst other achievements. My aspiration was to continue working at SABCO, and I had many plans but SABCO’s board of directors at the time asked me to gain outside experience in a reputable organization before coming back to work for the family business. Interestingly, a few years later I was asked by the group Chairman to manage a project that involved the updating of SABCO Group’s Shareholders Protocols to reflect the successful continuation of the family business for future generations. Today SABCO adopts a flexible approach in matters relating to family employment and hence in certain unique and exceptional circumstances, those family members who demonstrate rare talent and commitment will be offered a role commensurate with their qualifications and capabilities. Will I return to SABCO, only time will tell!
My love for nature, had me applying to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, which accepted me in. Marking this year my tenth year at the Ministry, I look back today, remembering the difficulty and challenges I faced during my initial years with the Ministry. It was everything you would expect of a typical government body and more. Anything I had suggested or proposed, was immediately being rejected and faced with tremendous resistance. I was being looked at, as the young inexperienced newcomer who thinks he knows better. I was often even told “you think you are in the private sector”. Attempting any change, no matter how small or simple, was an extremely painful and irritating task. Looking back, I never forget, reaching a point that saw me crying from devastation and frustration, of the difficulty and resistance I was facing, for something that was in the benefit of those very people resisting. However, that difficulty I faced taught me patience and perseverance. I never gave up trying, and started embracing smarter approaches in my change attempts. I coupled all my projects with continuous change management practices, that included making the effort of educating my colleagues, communicating proactively with employees and upper-management, building ownership and commitment, achieving and celebrating quick wins, coaching and developing staff and many other initiatives that had me investing a lot of time and effort into, but were necessary to realize that change.
The limited resources I had, made me turn to the private sector for support. The Petroleum Development Company (PDO), played an integral role in helping us deploy LEAN at the Ministry, an initiative I was asked to take the lead on. For the first time in Oman, there was a Ministry living LEAN in their day to day work. Every morning we would hold ‘morning huddles’ for up to 40 minutes discussing how we can continuously improve, issues of concern and any other topics that were standing in our way of performing and achieving. All points we would cover in these morning huddles were getting documented and immediately acted on. We introduced job rotations between colleagues, to the point where even a manager would one day be the secretary, and his/her secretary would take the role of his/her manager. We kept emails short and to the point, without lengthy openings and greetings. Everything around us was starting to reflect speed and efficiency, to a point where we were able to assist PDO achieve a saving of 47 million Omani riyals simply as a result of these practices we deployed. That LEAN culture we introduced internally, allowed us to reflect that LEAN practice externally. We started questioning lengthy processes and procedures we were requiring our customers to go through. We questioned supporting documents that we were demanding customers to obtain from other government entities. Being a government entity ourselves, we should be the one having direct access to these documents from other government entities directly. Our questioning and analysis, led us to start re-engineering many of these processes, and deploying digital solutions that would speed these processes up for our customers.
Today we celebrate our first major ‘external’ success, that of shortening the lifecycle of issuing an environmental permit, which previously used to take, in many instances, more than 12 Months to see issued, to what has now become, One Minute for over 500 economic activities which we will start issuing through the government Invest Easy portal very soon. That achievement would never have been made possible, wasn’t it for the culture we were able to introduce internally and the intensive change management efforts that accompanied the change we were trying to introduce.”
The interview with Sayyid Nasr, was received with great admiration and enormous respect, and participants felt proud to see a leader like Sayyid Nasr serving in government. Sayyid Nasr is a live example and true inspiration for any person trying to transform an organization’s culture and introduce powerful and impactful change.Back