This past Fall The National Petrochemical Industrial Company (NATPET) sent a request for proposals to several leading training companies to design and deliver a five day leadership program based on emotional intelligence to a group of 22 plant managers. Our proposal was accepted and so preparations began.
NATPET is situated in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is the most difficult country in the world to enter as an outsider. I had been to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, twice before and Bahrain once, however, those countries do not require that you apply for a visa prior to arrival. You can only get a visa to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) if you are working there or if you are traveling on a religious pilgrimage to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
To get a business visa one requires documentation from the host company, which you must submit, along with your passport and a lengthy application form to the country’s embassy in Ottawa, here in Canada. The KSA embassy does not deal with the general public, you must use an agent – a company who will take your application, passport, and documentation and submit it to the office on your behalf.
NATPET is located in Yanbu Industrial City on the Red Sea. Getting there is relatively easy as compared to some of our other unique work locations: Brunei, Nigeria, or Botswana. The route to Yanbu is Toronto to Jeddah, Jeddah to Yanbu.
I met a great group of managers who were quite interested in becoming better leaders. They had heard of emotional intelligence, but didn’t really know how it was going to assist them to do their jobs better. By the end of our five days together, they were very excited about taking what they had learned and applying it back in the workplace for greater authenticity, better communication, relationships, stress management, and improved problem solving techniques to better address their work-related issues and to be better leaders.