Middle East Region from Space

Corporate Conscience: External Impact Driven by Internal Forces

July 22, 2019

A corporation’s conscience is the road map guiding company culture and foresight. These principles act as a blueprint for what lies ahead, while uniting the workforce under a single mindset. Environmentalism, public affairs, M&A, sustained growth and other tactics that aim to create impact externally, must first be driven by internal forces.

While obligated to drive a company’s growth, executives are likewise in charge of molding corporate culture. This is only made possible when executives perform as a unified governance with aims of reaching all employees by way of a collectively designed direction for the company.

Bridging the Gulf

In the Arabian Gulf, significant economic growth and calls for corporate transformation globally allow for a unique model in corporate consciousness. Environmental sustainability is a global necessity the world can only hope to strengthen with the support of industries both large and small. Concern around climate change has erupted into a groundswell of workplace consciousness, centered squarely on greener company policies. In the Gulf, oil-rich states long dependent on the fluctuations of the fossil fuels market and occupying desert lands sure to be devastated by rising temperatures, are keen to join the fight. Theirs is a fight for ending the reliance on oil and gas for reasons related to global warming, but also diversification. Survival means both saving the planet and saving local economies from the dreaded resource curse.

Dubai emerged as a success story in this regard more than a decade ago. Tourism revenue has outpaced oil gains in the Emirate for the last six years. World markets now fix their gaze on Saudi Arabia—a much larger nation in both energy revenue, population and GDP—as the Kingdom works to reshape its economy in ways not entirely dependent on crude. The country has promised a smart city with zero emissions, an entertainment destination to challenge outbound flows of tourism capital and larger calls for foreign direct investment—from tourists and corporations alike. How executives in the Kingdom respond to pressure to construct new industries during such a shift will determine the importance of corporate consciousness in a growing nation continuing to find its footing.

The largest governmental entities in the Gulf working to set the tone are also bound by ever present nationalization requirements. Corporate consciousness in the region demands that the C-suite not only understand local concerns but also be represented by the local population. Diversification in this respect requires foreign executives to understand both the local workforce and calls for increase in its numbers. Creating a shared C-suite vision with local executives invites knowledge imperative for disseminating the company ethos among employees of all nationalities.

The chief executive’s role is naturally largest and most important in transmitting the message. Whether touting an uptick in the recruitment of talented nationals or restricting carbon footprint by joining a carpool promoted internally, the CEO’s active endorsement goes a long way. A company’s conscience lives or dies based on how well it’s communicated to the entire employee base. Internal communication strategies and tools strengthen the propagation of shared culture from CEO to intern.

Creating flashpoint engagements in the reception suite with the clear involvement of the C-suite relays collective gains and plans for the future far better than other forms of corporate communication. Strategic internal communications offer all employees the chance to hear updates directly from executives and engage with the top brass  infusing a shared consciousness companywide. In the Middle East, CEO messaging and casual working lunches often invite impromptu exchanges of culture—a must for any decision-maker based in the region.

Communicating Consciousness

Corporate consciousness shapes the roots of a company’s operations in ways that require all hands on deck. A sharp C-suite will ensure that its staff can rely on guidance from the top down. The playbook for offering this guidance is, however, only as good as its sensitivity to local socioeconomics. This reality is made abundantly clear by the nuance found in the Middle East. Understanding the local landscape when establishing company ethos is the primary concern.

A C-suite that clearly exemplifies and communicates how company philosophy will live and breathe is a crucial factor for whether corporate consciousness will remain trapped on paper or permeate the culture and drive a company to unity and success.

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