Dr. Tommy Weir
Expert in Emerging Markets Leadership, Dubai
Keynote 1 – Pangkor Dialogue 2015



In 2011, Emirates Airlines recorded record profits, earning US$1.6 billion. This is despite surging oil prices, the Arab Spring and tourists travelling less to the Middle Eastern countries. With 23 straight years of profit, the success is nothing short of remarkable. How is this possible and how do you grow sustainably when the odds are against you?

There are at least four habits that leaders need to have to remain sustainable. Firstly, leaders of today need to have a strong vision and focus of the future. This may sometimes go against the norms of practice but leaders must stay focused on decisions made for future growth. Economic downturns, for example, are just temporary and will improve over time. People shouldn’t be too obsessed with the fluctuations of the economy and must lead today for tomorrow.

Secondly, is the need to create an environment for others to succeed. Leaders must instill the ‘growing together’ principle with other people’s success in mind creating an inclusive economic growth model, including providing employment. This goes beyond ‘your own people’ and including supply chains and your own community. Growing together can be achieved not at the expense of somebody else but together.

Thirdly, leaders need to be brave and dare to take risks. Surviving risks instead of eliminating them is at the centre of the quest to remain sustainable. Follow the mantra “grow when you can, elongate growth as much as possible” where risks are mitigated.