Mahmoud did not look like a candidate for stress counselling. But in fact, he was a prime example of failure in managing change and coping with stress. He had been running a good, small hotel in Abu Dhabi, comfortable but not luxurious.
He was proud of the awards that hung in reception, especially Garden of the Year (twice running), and he was regarded as one of the Emirate’s best hotel managers in the 4-star league.
The trouble started when he moved out of his league. A director of one of the big global hotel chains, who placed a high priority on gardens, had noted his achievement in creating such a blaze of colour in the difficult Gulf conditions, and soon Mahmoud was Deputy Manager of one of the big-name hotels in Dubai.
The new atmosphere turned his head. While his old hotel had been small and manageable, this one was huge and bewildering. And the luxury surroundings dazzled and disoriented him. It seemed a different world with different rules.
For example, he just couldn’t believe how easy it was to take home a piece of the finest crockery or bed-linen, undetected. Next, it was carpets and TV’s. Before long, he had furnished his whole house with the hotel’s own property, and regularly had their gourmet foods delivered to his private address.
His arrest came as such a shock that he attempted suicide on the first evening. As well as being a motivational speaker, I used to work on a suicide helpline in the UK, so I was immediately called in to provide specialist expertise.
To me, it gave an insight into Change Management on the small scale – not a change in the shape of an organization, but a change within an individual. With something like the same stress symptoms.
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