K.S. Ramkumar, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Sun, 2005-12-04 03:00

JEDDAH, 4 December 2005 — An executive network to help CEOs and other top business leaders to deal with issues facing them is being set up in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s essentially an advisory network, with its own board of directors comprising leaders from different businesses, which we propose to start from Jan. 1,” Mervin G. Hillier, CEO of the Ontario-based Corporate LIFE Center Inc., told Arab News yesterday.

The network aims to enable its members wherever they are to interact with each other through conferencing and deal with the problems facing them, said Hillier who, accompanied by Managing Director Mansoor A. Osmani, was on his first visit here.

Hillier gave a presentation of the Corporate LIFE Center Inc. at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry earlier over the weekend, in which he explained the four elements of LIFE — leadership, innovation, function and execution. “These absolutes will guide business organizations to prepare and compete in the chaotic and challenging environment of today,” he said. Business leaders attending the event inquired how the process introduced by Hillier could help their businesses, both in terms of successful management and operations as well as Saudization.

Both Hillier and Osmani said that their interaction with some of the local business leaders and entities had convinced them that they were all in favor of change, and they would consider implementing the new process if it helped them improve their management skills and financial results.

“Many organizations fail to adequately understand their current problems and capabilities before jumping into implementation of aggressive new change plans. In their zeal to move quickly, some leaders forget or learn the hard way that knowledge and understanding through effective organizational assessment must precede change if it is to be effective and sustainable,” Hillier said.

Those businesses that understand and respond to challenges and opportunities thrive and grow. Those that remain unaware or misjudge these challenges and opportunities eventually die.

“In fact, most organizations fail because they do not keep abreast of and adapt to the changing world around them,” said Hillier who has more than 25 years of business experience holding positions as president, COO, general manager, chief financial officer, and director business development.

Emphasizing that the Corporate LIFE Center is focused on “developing high performance organizations through its strategic business management,” Hillier said the approach was based on the “Assess-Plan-Teach-Coach-Evaluate-Reward” methodology.

In the interactive JCCI meeting, Hillier discussed how partnering with the Corporate LIFE center could ensure better organizational health leading to higher financial performance.

As one of three shareholders of the Smith Group of Companies, Hillier was recognized for three consecutive years for building one of Canada’s 50 best managed companies. CMA Canada recently recognized him for his outstanding professional success and community involvement by naming him a ‘Fellow’ of the society.

Hillier has supported his business experience with lifelong learning focusing on leadership development, strategic planning, organizational change, financial and management accounting, operations and logistics management.

A sought-after lecturer and motivational speaker, Hillier’s topics have included “Celebrating entrepreneurship: Will you react to change or embrace it,” “Performance management: The path to profitability,” “Building your personal legacy: Character-vision-leadership,” “Developing a high performance organization: Getting things done,” “Developing a high performance strategy: Competing to win,” and “Corporate LIFE and the CEO.”

“The response from the business community to our approach is good,” said Hillier who had several meetings with business leaders and company heads during his stay.

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