Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why Global Companies Need Certified Professionals

Why Global Companies Need Certified Professionals

 By Sathya Menon

The value of an international certification has increased manifold after recession. Increasingly, professionals are safeguarding their careers and validating their skills through international certifications. It is a benchmark of competence and a leading credential for professionals in today’s competitive world.

In the Middle East, international certifications signify an instant passport to a rewarding career, a premium tag that helps professionals to gain self-esteem and professional recognition. It also signals entry into an elite club of internationally certified professionals worldwide.

The growth in certification programs is a reaction to the changing employment market. International certifications are portable, since they do not depend on a company's definition of a certain job.

At the same time companies keen to hire certified professionals are those that are demonstrating to customers, competitors, suppliers, staff and investors that industry-respected best practices are in use.

Hiring managers tend to view certifications as a more objective measure of a candidate’s skill level than self-reported skills and competency. A Microsoft  Learning White Paper titled :  “Connecting Dots Between Employers and Employees”  revealed that the added market value of a certification can be as high as 30%-40%. The average salary uplift reported across all certifications is in the 5%-11% range.

Certification stands out from the resume and the professional reference by being an impartial, third-party endorsement of an individual's professional knowledge and experience.

Consider this:  Hiring managers from Fortune 500 companies are looking to pay a premium for internationally certified professionals. Eighty-six percent of  hiring managers indicate certifications are a high or medium priority during the candidate evaluation process. Eight in ten HR execs verify certifications among  job candidates. Ninety-one percent of hiring managers consider certification as part of their hiring criteria.

Statistics revealed that for each new team member certified, the team performance has increased every time. The more skilled a team, the better the profitability it cab bring to the company.  

Certifications are earned from a professional society like the International Purchase or Supply Chain Management Institute (IPSCMI) USA,  American Certification Institute (ACI), International Quality Federation (IQF) or from IT vendors like Microsoft or Cisco. Most certification programs are created, sponsored, or affiliated with professional associations, trade organizations, or IT vendors interested in raising the standards of professionalism.



Handy Hints

International certification is a benchmark of professional competence.

The changing employment market has spawned the need for international certifications.

Internationally certified professionals can demand  a 30-40 per cent increase in salary.

Sathya Menon is the Director, Academics, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai.  


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Blue Ocean to Train and Empower Omani Professionals

Empowering minds…        Widening horizons ….

ATTENTION…….. EDITORS …….ATTENTION….EDITORS                                                     

May  8, 2013

Press Release

Blue Ocean to Train and Empower Omani Professionals

MOU Signed with Silver Bird Trading to Develop Local Workforce

70 custom-designed training programmes are on offer to hone skills of private & public sector employees

Dubai : Blue Ocean, UAE’s leading management training and consulting firm is set to take its professional expertise to Oman’s shores, nurturing private and public sector employees to play a key role in the country’s vibrant development strategy.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect, has been signed by Blue Ocean and Silver Bird Trading LLC (Madinat Sultan Qaboos) recently, to train and empower the local workforce and enrich the country’s fast-paced oil-driven economy.

The Sultanate of Oman is in the midst of an ambitious plan to transform itself into a major, regional air travel gateway between Europe and Asia, by building and expanding a total of six airports including the Muscat and Salalah airports. The country also boasts of one of the most advanced oil recovery programmes in the world recording a high rate of oil production since the year 2000.

As Oman throws its doors open for foreign investment in the private sector, the spotlight is on effective partnership between the public and the private sector that will spur economic growth.

“Employees need to be trained and developed to take on the challenges that lie ahead,” explained Mr. Abdul Azeez, Regional Marketing Director, Blue Ocean Academy. “Oman is a fast-growing economy and the need for trained logistics professionals to take charge of the bulk of operations at the newly-constructed deep sea Sohar Port, is something we are looking at,” he highlighted.

All training programmes are scheduled to start from June 2013,  and is expected to foster a culture of creativity and innovation among aspiring professionals.

Blue Ocean which stands on an enviable reputation built on 15 years of training, a global network of distinguished faculty members, custom-designed and internationally certified professional training courses, will partner the private as well as the private sector to train employees and ensure that they conform to the highest standards of excellence. 

Mr. Rashed Al Rawahy, Head of Oman Operations, Blue Ocean Academy, said: “Blue Ocean is one of the largest knowledge empowerment enterprise in the Middle East and we are happy to partner with such a leading brand. Oman is in the midst of massive economic transformation and empowerment of professionals through skill development is crucial both in the private and public sector.”

Blue Ocean will offer its flagship courses in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Purchase, Six Sigma Green and Black Belt, Commercial Contracts Management. A total of 70 custom-designed training programmes are on offer for public sector employees as well as private employees to hone their skills and improve profitability for their companies.

Industry experts drawn from different parts of the world will travel to Oman to offer training. There will be local academics and professionals who will participate actively in the corporate training modules. Oman-based companies looking to update their employees skills can be in touch with Silver Bird Training or Blue Ocean Academy headquartered in the UAE.

All training programmes conducted by Blue Ocean Academy and its local partner Silver Bird LLC are supported by international certification and offers individuals a life-time opportunity to gain an internationally acclaimed qualification.

Some of the apex international bodies that have partnered with Blue Ocean are the International Quality Federation (IQF), International Purchase and Supply Chain Management Institute (IPSCMI). American Certification Institute (ACI), American Purchasing Society (APS). All Blue Ocean training programmes are also endorsed and certified by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) in Dubai.


Monday, May 6, 2013

2013 Dedicated to Boost Emiratisation in the Private Sector

Nurturing Young UAE Citizens to Assume Positions of Responsibility


By Sathya Menon

The UAE private sector is gearing to face a new challenge: grooming a new generation of UAE nationals to take on positions of responsibility within the organizational ranks. The government has also launched a multi-tiered campaign to boost the employment of UAE nationals within the private sector, encouraging home-grown young talent to leverage on their skills and dynamism to enrich the national economy.

 Major oil, energy, finance, insurance, retail companies are drawing up short and long-term HR strategies that will help them to attract local talent and ensure their gainful employment. The idea is not just to recruit UAE nationals but also to ensure that they are effectively trained and that their career ambitions match the organization’s goals.

 At the heart of the UAE government’s emiratization efforts is a new charter outlining a nationally recognised code of conduct and values for Emiratis as approved by the Cabinet. It will be used in educational and cultural context to raise "a national generation who are aware of their responsibilities and duties toward the nation, family and community,” according to the state news agency Wam.

 The educational system in the region is also being reformed with a renewed focus on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit expected to draw more UAE nationals into the workforce. At present there are about 330,000 nationals within the UAE's job market, but that figure is projected to rise dramatically. 

The UAE private sector spins more than 5 million jobs and can play a crucial role in helping UAE nationals carve out top-notch careers for themselves. Currently, emiratis make up only 0.5 per cent of employees in the private sector, a study has revealed. With higher salaries, greater social security and terminal benefits, the public sector represent a far more lucrative option.

 The UAE government has dedicated 2013 as the year to boost emiratisation in the private sector. Plans are afoot to amend labour laws so that compensation packages for UAE nationals in the private sector match their counterparts engaged in the public sector.

By 2020 more than 450,000 nationals are expected to be part of the labour force, and by 2050 , the figure is expected to touch 600,000, according to a recent  report examining the talent supply of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

 Yet unemployment among emiratis in the UAE have ranged from 13 per cent to 20 per cent annually according to data from the National Human Resource Development & Employment Authority as well as the National Bureau of Statistics.

 Female nationals face a higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts. This is surprising when more than 2,000 and 3,000 women graduates from UAE University, compared with less than 500 men. The private sector will do well to offer employment incentives to this largely educated and talented female workforce.

 Handy Hints

Renewed focus in 2013 on emiratisation in the private sector.

Multi-layered campaign launched to encourage UAE nationals to enrich public life and national economy.

Excellent opportunities await educated UAE women to enter the workforce.


Mr. Sathya Menon is Director Academics, Blue Ocean Academy, UAE.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Secrets of Persuasion

Unlock the three Secrets of Persuasion

Learn to Influence Without Authority

By Sathya Menon


If you are keen to fast-track your career then learning the science of persuasion can prove to be your biggest asset. Evidently it's easy for those in authority to be influential but the real challenge lies in influencing others to do what you want without an overt show of power or by making others  fearful of consequences.

 In today's competitive environment, mastery of the softer interpersonal skills separates executives who merely survive from those who thrive and grow as leaders. The key is to unlock Aristotle’s three secrets of persuasion  -- ethos, lagos and pathos – and use them in the context of real-world situations.

 When a leader has been able to establish his credibility though trust, knowledge and expertise, he is able to persuade and influence his peers much better. He is respected because he is knowledgeable, skillful and innovative –this is when ethos comes into play.

The second mode of persuasion pathos involves emotions or story-building – when a manager narrates stories, creates metaphors to establish a point with his peers or subordinates. Emotions – however unwanted in the workplace – play a powerful role in persuasion and intelligent leaders learn to tap into a person’s emotions to make him conform.

Logos is a mode of persuasion when a leader tries to persuade someone based on pure logic or facts. The Logos appeal also helps in enhancing credibility and trust.

The Harvard Business Review describes this ability to cooperate with and influence peers as lateral leadership among managers. Managers, the world over are being challenged by flattened management structures, outsourcing and virtual teams.

 Lateral leadership, counts among a manager’s most essential skills, and comprises a constellation of capabilities—from networking and coalition building to persuading and negotiating.

Though honing these skills takes time and patience, the payoff is worth it. The initiative you’re championing will stand a far better chance of being implemented quickly.

You’ll gain access to the resources you need to carry out the effort. Doors will swing open freely to the key players whose cooperation you need most. And perhaps most important, you’ll achieve the central purpose of managerial work: getting things done through other people—and catalyzing valuable change for your organization.


Handy Hints

 ·        Establish personal credibility through knowledge and expertise

·        Analyse the workplace to understand equations of power and persuasion

·        Cultivate a broad network of relationships with people who support your initiatives

Sathya Menon is the Executive Director, Academics, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai.


Overcome Fear of Public Speaking

When the Mind is Without Fear….

Of Rhetoric and Substance

By Sathya Menon

Public speaking is a powerful professional skill. A master orator not only wins fans but also fast forwards his career. A case in point is the US President Barrack Obama, a master orator who can captivate millions of people with his power-packed speeches.

Yet in the UAE and elsewhere in the Middle East the power of rhetoric and public discourse remains grossly underestimated. Very few educational and professional institutions actually train professionals to speak eloquently and confidently. 

 A flair for public speaking can actually land a professional in a win-win situation. He not only succeeds in a job interview, but is also regarded by the management as an asset to the company, often called upon to make presentations to clients, and address the audience from the podium during seminars and conferences.

The lack of public speaking skills on the other hand has disrupted careers and resulted in sleepless nights for many professionals. Studies show that the fear of being tongue-tied on stage is the most common of all phobias. Some people dread public speaking even more than death and some live with this fear throughout their lives.

 The first step towards overcoming this fear is to go ahead and start speaking in front of others. The longer you wait, the greater your difficulty. So take the bull by its horns and deliver the speech that you have been preparing or give the presentation that your boss wants you to. You will see that it is hardly as difficult as you made it out to be. Better still join a local toastmasters club to hone your skills.

In your professional life, it is always advisable  to move out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Similarly you can become a good speaker only if you believe you can. It is always important to shed pre-conceived notions and begin with a fresh mind.

 Preparation is the key to success. If you prepare your speech well, your mode of delivery improves, so does you articulation, vocabulary and diction. Along with the speaking cultivating an attitude where you can take the brickbats with the bouquets is very important. People might be critical initially, but be confident and carry on.

 Finally learn to catch the pulse of  your audience and try to feel at ease with them. Last but not the least is perseverance – the art of public discourse is not cultivated in a day. So prepare, learn and practice and you will prosper soon.

Handy Hints

 Overcome stage-fright and get started immediately.

Prepare your speech well in advance to gain in confidence.

Learn to connect with your audience and persevere.




Mr. Sathya Menon is Executive Director, Academics, Blue Ocean Academy, Dubai