It goes without saying that knowledge in local culture is not luxury for executives. This knowledge could easily mean the difference between your name among the top 100 CEOs in your region, and a way-too-early goodbye party in your company. But when it comes to the GCC region, this becomes even more imperative.
Year: 2008. Place: Abu Dhabi. I was involved in a local training program that later turned into what we now know as Tawteen. The company I worked for had imported cutting-edge training programs from top tier providers in the world. In a discussion with the colleague who headed the soft skills training department, I asked her why trainees were learning western business etiquette. Her answer was: They call these best practices for a reason. Most trainees back then failed their first job interview.