Category Archives: Organizations

Six Years of Learning and Growth

Today I am completing six years with Damas, which is my full-time engagement in the private sector after 16 years of service in the government. Today is a day worth celebrating, and also a day for new committments and milestones for building a better future for my company, my family, my colleauges and myself.
My sincere thanks are to Mr. Mohamed Salih, Chairman of Damas – for his mentorship during these six years which has given me strength, a better understanding and purpose in my life and career, modified my attitude to life and work, and opened new doors of opportunities in growth and development. The best part of my life and that of my family in the last six years have been those in Damas and the support of all those around us from the company in any hour of need.
I am also proud of the space that I have been allowed to dedicate to my work and the company; by Aisthu, Ahmed and Almas. It is their understanding and affection that has allowed me to dedicate the kind of time, energy and effort to the company throughout these six years. We believe that Damas is a part of us and that we are a part of Damas. We would like to keep it that way!
I believe that the completion of six years in service to our customers and the nation, is an achievement itself. The greatest achievement of which is the learning that has taken place in the process of doing so.
Damas is a place of fun, sharing and caring. We live for the greater happiness of those with us. Our purpose is to serve. We serve with pride and dignity. Damas is a place like no other. We have our ups and our downs; but there is no place better to be.
My wish is to serve in Damas for another nine years, after which I hope to move on to a full-time engagement in a job in civil society – probably something to do with children or the disadvantaged.
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Posted by on August 15, 2007 in Organizations


MNCCI Night Market will start on July 27th

The MNCCI had its executive board meeting as schedule this afternoon at 4.30 pm. Today’s meeting was a highly productive meeting and ran longer than usual. It was concluded at 6.30 pm. On that agenda were deliberations on the Charter of the Chamber, issues related to MPA, Sri Lanka – Maldives trade, the Night Market and other pressing matters.
MNCCI Night Market 2007 will start on July 27th. It is expected that there will be more than 25,000 visitors to the market every night, which is open from 8 o’clock till midnight. A departure from tradition will be to have two ticketing desks; one at each end-entrance, who will be selling discount coupons to donate money to the "Fire Recovery Fund" created by house owners of those completed burned down in the Moaree Garage fire incident. The board unanimously agreed to empower the Chairman of the Night Market Committee to do the needful and support the case. A difficult issue faced by the Night Market Committee will be to contain the ensuing presidential vs. parliamentary campaing that will be in full swing during the night market. The board was of the opinion that it should refrain in all possible and visible manner, from enganing in the cross fire, and maintain its neautrality and non-alignment in national politics. How this would be implemented on the ground was left to the Night Market Committee and the Chairperson of the Committee.
The board also resolved to do a study on issues related to the Sri Lanka – Maldives bilateral trade and investments. A committee of four members was charged to undertake the activity by outsourcing, if necessary. In addition, a committee was also selected to meet the Food and Drug Authority in relation to issues of food handling – especially frozen meat including chicken, and to show support for their efforts in the campaign for cleanliness and hygene in cafes, tea shops and restaurants.
The board also resolved to continue with its efforts to find a long term solution as well as attend to the short term issues related to Male’ Commercial Harbor. There was a strong conviction that red tape and lack of management capacity were crucial factors which were the impediments to efficiency of Male’ port management and service delivery.
Several other issues including food security were deliberated in the meeting today; which was one of the most productive, well attended meetings of the board this year.
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Posted by on July 25, 2007 in Organizations


Majeediyya School: A tradition of excellence

This morning on my way to work I came across a parent who is an acquaintance from my days in Majeediyaa as a parent. She told me that her son is now in grade ten in Majeediyya; and that this morning out of the 400 students in the grade only two or three dozen students turned up to school. 
I could not belive my ears. But that was a fact. The term tests are over and children do not see the point in coming to school; nor do their parents who are incapable of impressing upon their children the need to go to school when the term test is over. Apparently, the school had organized study skills and life skills programs for the children. But they did not see them as important.
Three things occured to me: One, the purpose of education and how it is translated into the education system in an effective manner. I am not quite sure whether we have a sense of why we send our children to school. Second, how we have evolved into a society in perfect anarchy without values and principles. Third, the incompetence of the education system to devise mechanisms and means to cater for the education of our children.
It is also interesting that the education ministry has appointed it’s highly competent executive director to run the oldest school in the country; seemingly due to a complete loss of systematic school management mechanisms. This inability of the school system to run schools effectively is alarming.  The parent also sympathized with the said executive director by saying, "how can she have the motivation, when she has to attend to a twenty for hour job for less than an assistant principal’s salary!"
Then again, there is nothing much to say; I am watching the Honorable Member of Laamu Atoll in the Special Majlis completely out of control in attacking the Chair of the Special Majlis. These negative energies that the Majlis members are pumping into the people will have far reaching consquences. That perhaps is what these honorable members want!
Hence, there is nothing to be said about the discipline and attitude of our school children and young people.
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Posted by on July 22, 2007 in Organizations


MNCCI Executive Committee Delegation to meet MPA

We just concluded one of the more productive meetings of the Chamber of Commerce (MNCCI), which was attended by nine out of the eighteen member strong executive board. Key concerns facing the Chamber and the business community were discussed at the meeting which went on for nearly one and a half hours from 4.30 pm. The meeting is usually scheduled for one hour.
The meeting toay decided on some key issues. The first was to have the Charter Committee to finalize the final touches to the Memorandum of Association (Charter) of the Chamber two days prior to Wednesday, for circulation to the board members. The board is to sit on Wednesday to adopt the same by the executive committee for submission to a Special General Meeting for its approval.
The second resolution today was, to take the concerns of the business community regarding the lapses in Male’ Commercial Harbor to MPA. A six member committee was selected from within the executive committee to meet MPA (Maldives Ports Authority). An appointment was fixed (while the meeting was on) with the Managing Director of MPA for ten o’clock on Thursday morning.
The third resolution was for a visit to Sri Lanka by a business delegation (organized by the Maldives High Commission in Colombo). The delegation would attend a joint meeting of the Sri Lanka – Maldives Bilateral Business Council of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce. It was decided to hold a meeting of businesses involved in export / import to and from Sri Lanka to Maldives as well Maldivian investors in Sri Lanka and to understand their concerns before the proposed executive committee meeting next week.
It was also decided that the board should take up the concerns expressed by some members regarding difficulties faced by them with the Customs import duty procedures. In addition to being appointed to be in charge of this matter, the board also appointed Mr. Mohamed Naseem (Vice President) as Media Spokesperson of the Chamber charged with dissemination of information regarding the activities of the Chabmer and improving its public relations.
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Posted by on July 18, 2007 in Organizations


Intensive Care Unit: IGMH

My father in law was admitteed in the ICU at the IGMH Wednesday night, because he had extremely low sodium levels and needed critical medical care. As we admitted him to the ICU we were asked for four persons who would visit him in the ICU. We gave four names and were told that it was only these four people that would be allowed to visit him while he is admitted in the ICU; and that they also could visit only during the visiting hours which was 11pm to 12pm and 5.30pm to 6.30pm in the afternoon.
Yesterday in the afternoon we were in the waiting room and someone asked about the visiting hours. I said that only the four people listed could visit father, and an argument almost erupted. Apparently, people can go in as many as they wished; during the visiting hours. I just couldn’t understand how people could be so "blind" to keeping the procedures that were put in place for eveyone’s benefit.
Then, come the visiting hours, the whole area around the ICU was full. People were queuing up to go into the ICU, as if it was a zoo or a carnival. I remember one of the notices announced to me even said that those who can visit will be the immediate family of the person and guardian of the patient. But then again, Male’ is a place where you can get extraordinary VIP treatment if you wanted either through your friends or just by being extremely arrogant and rude.
Those who queued up and went into the ICU even included children. Some went in, came out and burst into hysterical crying and there was a big scene around the area. I went in and saw father and went out of hospital. So I did not witness what happened afterwards. My wife told me that later some restriction was exercised by the staff in ICU because some people went into the ICU in twos and threes.
I cannot understand why the registration counter and the ICU reception staff should announce to you and get your signature to comply with rules of procedure that they will not maintain.
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Posted by on July 13, 2007 in Organizations


An Experience in Service and Custome Care

Early in the evening, I went to the Bank of Maldives Baazaaru branch at STO Trade Centre. I was there to change the date of a cheque that I had given to deposit money, as I had written down a wrong date. I went into the bank – thanks to evening banking introduced by the bank for the convenience of customers.
As I walked in I noticed that there were several people taking tokens from a mechanical token dispenser for the electronic queueing system. The buttons on the gadget did not have any labels. I pressed one button and I got 2368 and when I pressed another I got 5460. There was no information counter or no one except those at the service counters; and it would have been inapporpriate for me to break the queue and approach one of the service counters to find out which counter I should approach. There was "a guard like looking person" at the back who could only be reached by yelling, if I did.
After a long wait (which was not a problem) one of my numbers came up on the queue display and I approached the counter shown on display. When I told the girl at the counter the reason for my coming there, she (who had no smile, gave no welcome eye contact) simply pulled a long face. She then went about asking someone at the back about me. She was sitting at a desk a little behind the counters’ row. She "yelled" at me to ask whether I was a particular person. Then I said my name, she came up and directed me to the next counter and I got my check, changed the date, returned it and left. The final two transactions were friendly, appropriate and pleasant. The tone and vocabulary were polite.
I couldn’t help wondering how the Bank of Maldives could overlook nuances of customer service and public relations. A culture of respect and diligent organization – one would expect, would be a given in banking services today. But it definitely was not at the Bank of Maldives Baazaaru branch. No wonder I did not notice any BoM participants at the Ron Kaufman "Superior Customer Service" seminar held in Bandos on June 30, 2007.
It is the mindset and a complete set of attitudes. But when you are exposed to superior service and care, it is not only disturbing to undergo the likes of my experience this evening; but shocking that such is the state of one of the wealthiest, best manned public companies in the country.
Mohamed Shihab / Smile and Let Smile
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Posted by on July 2, 2007 in Organizations


A Simple Phone Call is What it Takes!

This morning I called up the operator of our copmany and asked to pass my call to one of our operational division heads. She passed the phone, and after some music, the division head picked up the phone and said, "hello".
I opened my mouth to say hello, and the the phone was slapped on it’s cradle with a heavy hand – probably a heavy heart controlled that hand. [I sometimes wonder why we say the heart, when it actually is the mind!]
And interestingly, I am reading this book "The Best Damn Sales Book Ever" by Warren Greshes! And Page 5 – 6 reads:
"… I opened the yellow pages and found four different car services … I called each one and told them I will be movign to the area, I was looking for a reliable car service that could get me to and from the airport … and I would like to ask them a few questions.
Three of the four acted as if I had the plague and they were afraid they could catch it right through the phone line. … The fourth company – Thorpe’s ofcourse – spend so much time answering my questions and being helpful, I couldn’t wait to get them off the phone.
The decision was easy – three lousy attitudes, one great one." and goes on to conclude in the first chapter, as follows:
" Do you see how easy it is to beat the competition? … In the case of Thorpe’s Inc. it was the willingness to politely answer a few questions from a potential client."  
Just reminded me of the enormous challenge we have, in building Damas into a leader in trading and supply services.
Mohamed Shihab / Smile and Let Smile
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Posted by on May 22, 2007 in Organizations


Service Attitude

This afternoon, a friend and I went to the Sea House Cafe on the top of MTCC Hulhumale Ferry Terminal. We went there to have a "snack meeting".
As we went in, we sat down at a table with a view of Hulhule. After five minutes, we were told by one of the waiters that the table has been reserved; and that we should move to another table. We did! Then, we waited for another fifteen minutes before the waiter attended to our table; and we had to ask for menu card and an ash tray. I had almost finished the cigarette I was smoking! (Sorry, I know it is a bad habit that I have to kick soon; for a third time!)
It took several minutes for the waiter to come back to us. When we gave our order he told that Grannini carrot orange was not available! So, I just settled for a bottle of mineral water (small). By the time, we had finised, we could not find a waiter to ask for the bill; so we went to the counter and settled the bill. This is the plight of the average visitor to cafe’s and restaurants in Male.
There’s much talk of developing this nation and moving it forward and attracting foreign investors. The very first step; that is the attitude in the minds of the people who are a part of the cultural dynamics of this nation are still at the very infant stage. It could years and possibly not ever happen with the lacking in national leadership for the way forward.
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Posted by on May 21, 2007 in Organizations


Why We are What We are

I was faced with a situation
I called the logistics officer of the concerned organization
He did not want to take any responsibility
He asked me to call his bosses and seek a decision
I had requested from him for decision on a matter
He did not want to make a decision or consult with his bosses
Then my colleague had to take a decision
He also called me asked me what to do
Now I had to make a decision and I said
Let it be … Let them call if they need it
What is happening? Responsible people want to avoid
Because when you make a decision there’s always this person
He will make sure that you are humiliated to the world
That you will not dare to make a decision on your own
Or even risk having to initiate … this way any
Who wants something will call him and HE will make the decision
And it will be the right decision … it will be right as always
You see … that is the beauty of having a bully in your midst
People are afraid to make decisions … they will not dare even think
How wonderdful … Cheers and Have a great time!
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Posted by on March 5, 2006 in Organizations


Shocking Truth about Us

It is so fascinating
The truth about us
A day in the life of a manager
My PR officer reported ill today
This is addition to the Marketing Officer
who is out of the country for medical treatment
And the Order Processing Officer is also ill
My top Marketing Executive is having loose motion
An additional Order Processing Officer is not well
And in the midst of all my Admin Officer reported
that her grandfather has passed away and
will not be able to continue work today
Imagine my plight
A day in the life of a manager
An unusual day with a set of typical experiences
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Posted by on March 5, 2006 in Organizations

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