Dubailand appears to have strong governmental support, but in a country subject to rapid change, smaller projects could supercede Dubailand for government attention and affection if they prove more valuable. Thus, strong relationships with government in particular will need to be nurtured in order to help Dubailand meet its infrastructure and financing targets.
Motivation and vision are vital parts of the plan. At this point, Dubailand still only exists in the conceptual stage. To move the project beyond that will require substantial motivation. While some of this will derive simply from getting construction work started, the strategy should be more detailed. The strategy should not just include the standard vision and mission statements, but will also need to address the means by which each individual employee and third-party employee is specifically motivated to perform to their highest potential. A plan must be in place to instill a spirit and a sense of community within the Dubailand family. This will help to drive motivation among the workers, most of whom are only in the country for the money. Moreover, the strategy must address the issue of maintaining high levels of motivation once the project has begun. It is difficult to maintain a high level of motivation or a consistency of vision for 250,000 workers, especially without a strong corporate heritage (as most organizations of that size would have) upon which to draw. Compounding the issue is the unique nature of the Dubai workforce, comprised almost entirely of foreign guest workers on restrictive visas and considered of a lower social status by the locals (Shaw, et al., 2003). Perdier's strategy must recognize the unique challenges of such a task and conceive of ways in which these challenges can be addressed.
The strategy must also address the project's finances. There are two main components to this. The first is the 15% hurdle rate. This has been imposed by the parent company, and as such Perdier's strategy must incorporate it. Controls must be implemented to ensure such a rate of return from partners. The second main component of the financial strategy is with respect to cash flow. One of the most pressing priorities for Perdier is the project's overdependence on residential housing sales in the early years. Once the project moves into more tangible, less conceptual phases, the costs will skyrocket. Moreover, residential sales do not constitute a reliable source of funding. This is true in all markets due to the cyclical nature of real estate prices, but in developing markets this cyclicality is typically amplified, in particular in Dubai because of the state's abnormally liquid real estate market and the sometimes limited capacity of its financial markets (Overfelt, 2009). The strategy must include a plan to diversify the sources of funding, and to increase the amount of funding to meet the company's needs going forward. These plans must also address the antecedents of the particular funding source being analyzed. For example, the threshold of earnings or earnings potential is different for venture capitalists than it is for an IPO.
Lastly, the content of the strategy must include deadlines. These deadlines will be to some extent a synthesis of the previous sections. Deadlines are the product of knowing what needs to be done, who is going to do it, what resources will be required and how it will be paid for. Each of these functions must support the others, so understanding them in turn will allow us to outline what our current timetables are. It is expected that Perdier, al Muntafiq or both will want to adjust some of the timetables, but at this point it is more important that these timetables are produced.
With a five day timeframe, it is imperative that we prioritize the items we want in our strategy, as we may not have time to incorporate all of them to the degree we would wish. The most important priority is the vision component of the motivation/vision section. This vision will guide all of the other components of the plan and therefore must be in place on the first day.
The second priority is the task list, including resources. The resource requirements will drive a large part of the sections on personnel and finance, so it must be completed first. Moreover, the task list must be as complete as possible when tabled. While the strategy need not be complete in some areas, al Muntafiq needs to know that Perdier knows all of the tasks required for Dubailand in order to have confidence in Perdier going forward.
The third priority is with respect to finances. Not only is Dubailand at risk of a cash crunch due to overdependence on a single source of financing, but without a means to finance the aforementioned tasks, the strategy's other elements will be moot. With no money, there is no Dubailand, especially now that the company is getting ready to actually do things rather than think about them.
In addition to money, another key antecedent is people. Thus, the human resources part of the strategy is the fourth key priority. There is currently a scarcity of quality talent, but Dubailand intends to be the best so it should also have a plan to attract the best. Without this talent the project's other goals, in particular with respect to the customer experience, are unlikely to succeed.
The remainder of the strategy is at that point more or less at the same priority level. It is not acceptable to turn in an incomplete strategy after the five days, but if the previous four priority areas are met in complete fashion, a more basic framework can be utilized for the remaining items and considerations.
What would I do with this strategy?
It will be difficult, given the tight timeframe, to share the strategy. However, some degree of feedback should be solicited. The higher priority items should be completed early, and can be tabled to key advisors not already working on the project.
Once the project is finished, it would be tabled to al Muntafiq as per his instructions. As a new member of the organization, I am not likely to do anything other than my superiors have instructed. At this point, I would also table the strategy with my other executives. While for lower managers it is important only to know the final strategy, the executives should be involved at all stages of the strategy development process. They helped to create the current strategy and therefore each should be party to it. Moreover, al Muntafiq considers it important that communication transcend internal divisions. By tabling the strategy to all the executives, I am better able to facilitate this communication by putting each executive on equal footing with regards to knowledge of the organizations's vision, strategies and objectives.
The same strategy tabled to al Muntafiq would be given simultaneously to the executive. The group would then meet over the weekend to discuss the strategy and work on improvements and revisions in advance of feedback from head office. We want to have answers to their questions before they ask them.
At this point, external stakeholders would not be made aware of our strategy, only our vision. The strategy's final version may be relevant to some stakeholders, such as high-ranking government officials, but the five day version cannot reasonably be expected to be the definitive strategy for a $70 billion project. Therefore, it will be withheld from external stakeholders and non-executive internal ones as well.
A project of this size and scope needs a wide range of top flight talent. Special attention will be paid to the following team members. The construction project manager will oversee the development of all of the physical infrastructure and buildings for Dubailand. The person in this role must be experienced and well-connected in Dubai, as we will need priority in obtaining key resources such as building materials and labor.
We will also need a government liaison, as we rely heavily on the Dubai government for key infrastructure development such as water, electricity, roads, telecommunications and transportation. The government is the most significant external stakeholder, since the project was spearheaded by the Emir. Each of these first two executives will come from the local Dubai community, since local expertise and connections are absolutely critical to the success of Dubailand.
Another key executive will be the finance director, whose role it will be to tap the global financial markets for the funding necessary to diversify Dubailand's finances. Other key executives will come from the telecommunications, marketing and resort hospitality industries. The headhunting for this talent will be global in nature.
With shortages of executive-level talent in many of these fields, competition will be fierce. We may need to hire talent away from already lucrative, prestigious positions. In order to do this, we will need not only top recruiting talent, but the best possible compensation packages. It is likely that we will need personal support from the highest-ranking Dubai…