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How do you tailor leadership development for KSA?


Leadership development, wherever it takes place, must keep a close eye on the needs and requirements of local market conditions and the culture of the population. No development programme - no matter how conceptually well-designed or internationally-accredited it may be - will have much success if it doesn’t pay due regard to how a particular place approaches working life.

This is certainly no less true in Saudi Arabia, which has its own distinct definitions of business, culture and organisational success. Therefore, when it comes to the creation and execution of a leadership development programme in the Kingdom, an organisation must be certain it understands its target market and the skills that will be needed to most effectively lead a business to success in Saudi.

This will depend, for example, on who the programme is aimed at. If it is Saudi Nationals, then due regard must be paid to aspects such as the priorities these prospective leaders place on different aspects of their working and personal lives, and also on those of their prospective followers. It means considering who are the leadership figures and inspirations that can most effectively motivate and inspire them to greater performance. It means critically looking at working culture and asking how changes to the direction of leadership can be achieved while causing the least fractious impact.

If a programme is targeting expat leadership development, then it should be laser-focused on preparing the future leaders with the in-depth understanding and cultural intelligence needed to comprehend how they should approach leadership of a KSA workforce. They need to understand sensibilities, organisational practices and national priorities. They should be prepared to tailor their approach to maximise return from KSA talent, understanding follower motivations and actively looking to add real value to the careers of those they lead.

Tailoring leadership development to a particular locality doesn’t necessitate losing the benefits of international knowledge and experience. The newest and most exciting leadership development techniques can still very much be a part of your efforts. It simply means that attention is also paid to the local environment, maximising the effectiveness of a programme and producing greater rewards – a key competitive advantage in KSA’s complex marketplace.

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