INVESTING IN PEOPLE

By: Editor In Chief
    
Thu 29 December,2016

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An Interview with Edward Matti, Managing Partner of CCM Consultancy




Filed Under: Business & Consultancy

As Managing Partner for CCM Consultancy, Edward Matti’s responsibilities put him in front of clients from all industries and with wide-spanning challenges. From effective talent management strategies to the design of complex progression models set to instilbehavioural change, his team consults on end-to-end solutions for their clients.  CCM Consultancy focuses on aiding clients in building branded customer experiences, culture shifts and capability building.

Edward is an experienced leader with almost 20 years of leadership experience in Human Resource Development, Sales and Financial Services, where he has proven his ability to manage, motivate and influence others through strong and effective communication skills and a commitment to realizing individual and team success.

Prior to moving to Dubai to head up CCM Consultancy, Edward lived in Toronto and was Regional Director for Canada’s largest financial planning firm.  He spent 14 years working with his team of over 90 wealth managers, financial planners and support staff managed over US$540 Million in assets for clients and achieved an annual turnover of US$65 Million. This success led to his region ranking number one in Canada for Asset and New Business growth.  He had received several awards for exceptional achievements as a Division and Regional Director

As clients' needs have become more complex and specialized, thus widening the gap between HR needs and work force capabilities, CCM Consultancy has proudly worked hand in hand to provide a variety of management consulting services to assist companies in achieving more.  CCM Consultancy offers integrated end-to-end solutions focusing on organizational transformation, people development and branded customer experiences. Up skilling individuals and enhancing organizations, while ensuring a return on investment have been our main drivers, and has earned us the privilege of supporting clients considered to be leaders in their industry.  

The company represents TACK International and TMI World, two of the world’s largest learning and people development companies with a long-standing history of 67 and 40 years respectively, in the Middle East, Canada and the USA.  While headquartered in Dubai, they also have offices in New York City, Toronto and Montreal.  CCM Consultancy’s dedicated team of consultants and support staff deploy high-level concepts and have the competence to utilize inspiration as a catalyst to overcome resistance to change, to facilitate the transformation process and to shape the organizational culture.

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CCM Consultancy opened its Dubai office back in 2010 and has been representing Tack International for more than 25 years in the Middle East. Please share with us a little bit more about CCM Consultancy and its operations. How has the organization developed and grown in the region since establishment?

We have been representing TACK International, a global learning consultancy, in the Middle East and North Africa for over 25 years, out of Athens, Greece.In early 2010, my long-time friend and now business partner, Maher, called me up in Canada to discuss the possibility of partnering up and starting a consulting firm in Dubai.The idea was not to just formally represent TACK, but to offer a holistic approach to learning and development.We talked for hours on the kind of impact we can have on organizations and the value we would offer.In April 2010, I was on a plane headed to Dubai to establish the company and begin operations.We had a humble beginning, effectively it being just me in a small serviced office.But we knew we could be so much more, and knew that when engaging clients, we can offer them quality learning interventions, a unique experience and a measurable return on their investment.

Since then, we’ve grown every single year in operation, both in revenue and the number of staff.We added fantastic consultants with years of experience and exceptional skills, we brought in an Admin team that was dedicated to client service, and we even expanded our offering.In 2012, we added TMI World to the brands we represent, another global learning consultancy, with expertise in customer experiences, emotional intelligence and what we call people essentials.We then partnered up with Weatherhead School of Management from Case Western Reserve University to represent them in the Middle East through a unique executive education program called Leadership Deep Dive.

In 2015, we took a decision to expand our operation to the US and Canada, opening our offices in New York City, Montreal and Toronto.Today, the team stands at 16 full-time staff and 14 Associates, with Dubai serving as headquarters and the hub for our solution design, business operations support and effectively our primary market.

Throughout, we’ve remained true to two key elements: 1) Our Values.We have a set of 5 values in the organization that serve as our guiding principles and ensures that we are remain focused on what we do and what we deliver.These Values are Clients Come First, Inspire, Make a Difference, Strive for Greatness, and Humility.2) Our mission has always been to leave the world in a far better place than in which we had found it.While this may seem like an enormous task, it’s one that we’ve welcomed and continue to work on achieving through our partnerships with clients (and one another).

Throughout our growth, we’ve focused our services onto three critical pillars: Culture Shift in Organizations, Capability Building through People Development, and Memorable Customer Experience Journeys.

CCM Consultancy aims at developing the employees of today and the leaders of tomorrow. What would you say are the main reasons why clients should invest in further development? How does CCM Consultancy ensure a better ROI for the investor?

The business environment has become so much more competitive and there are so many compelling reasons for companies to invest in development. Employees today are looking for more than just a big paycheck.They want to be developed, they want to advance, they want a great culture, they want to feel like they’re part of something much bigger.

And employees today are far more mobile.They’re not as ‘loyal’ as generations ago when you worked for the same company for 40 years because that’s how it was.On the flip side, companies aren’t ‘loyal’ to their employees either.Everyone seems to be looking out for their best interests.And the sooner that employees and employers realize that their interests can indeed be aligned, the better off they all are.Talent is key in an organization, and if we do not develop and nurture that talent further, they will go somewhere else, where they can be appreciated.

Employers today have an opportunity to invest in their people and yield better business results, higher employee retention and create a positive culture where people actually enjoy what they do every day.These would be the reasons to invest.Not to mention, the alternative is not an option. If you do not develop your people, and they stay, you end up with a weak organization that has not kept up with market demands.

As for the Return on Investment (ROI), we work with our clients to be able to measure the results of any intervention.This could be through sales results, employee/talent retention and/or engagement and culture surveys, all of which determine the success of the intervention and the value created for the organization.We’ve set up a comprehensive methodology and approach that is not only customized for the clients’ specific needs, but is also aimed at anchoring the learning/development and sustaining it within the business.We call this our I.D.E.A.S. Methodology.Built into our solutions are a range of measures to ensure sustainable results and a return on the investment that’s being made in people.

With over 5 years of operations, what have been the major highlights and achievements that CCM Consultancy has witnessed so far?

There certainly have been many proud moments over the course of our existence.For one, it was great to see a company established in Dubai expand to North America, when the usual trend is the other way around.However, our proudest moments have been related to our clients and their appreciation of the work we’ve done.We’ve been fortunate to have won several awards for initiatives we’ve conducted for clients, such as the Mitsubishi Heartbeat Initiative.This was a Culture Shift initiative which had a profound impact on the client and their customers.Customers wrote in with testimonials and letters of appreciation to Mitsubishi applauding their staff and the service received.This is hard evidence of a return on investment and to have such a satisfied client is truly a blessing.

Last year, we were recognized for the leadership academy we had designed and delivered to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) over 2.5 years.We had put together a leadership development program aimed at 756 individual in various management positions (Managers, Assistant Directors, Directors, the Senior Leadership Team and the Director General).While being recognized and receiving an award is nice, it was the impact this intervention had on the client’s business.Their Alignment and Engagement Survey results shot up in every area related to management responsibility.This again, is a great ROI.

Over the last few years, we’ve been blessed with working with so many different clients, many of which are leaders in their industry, and have sought us out for advice and support.The team works so hard on every intervention, no matter the size or the client.And this leads to another highlight, our people.Their dedication and determination is second to none.Every day, they come in to work looking to add new ideas and make a difference.We’ve seen several team members get promoted and move up in the organization, which is a testament to their capabilities and desire to grow with us.

You once said that great customer service is integral to an organizations success. How does CCM Consultancy create a branded experience for customers that ensure success for the organization?

Companies spend a great deal of money on customer service, yet so many get it wrong…or at least don’t get the desired results.There are many factors to take into account, but one important factor is that it all starts with the internal customer, your staff.When the staff is treated as the most important customer of a business, then they in turn will treat your customers the way you want them to.They are your ambassadors, your champions and your mouth-piece to the world.So when we work with clients to create Memorable Customer Experiences, we start with the internal customer and work outwards.

Every organization can take advantage of their Moments of Truth.This is a commonly used phrase that was actually coined by the founder of TMI for the very first project worked on, which was for Scandinavian Airlines.Moments of Truth are never to be repeated opportunities, to differentiate yourself from each and every one of your competitors.Each day, companies are faced with possibly tens of thousands of moments of truth that can define their success or their failure.We help our clients understand these moments of truth and deliver on them, each and every time.
Another factor is understanding that customer service is more than a function.It’s very much an emotional journey as much as it is a function one.This means that we need to not only understand our customers’ emotions, but impact them in a positive manner.Maya Angelou once said: ‘People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will
never forget how you made them feel.’That is the simplest yet most powerful way to describe what Memorable Customer Experiences should be about.

So when we work with clients on their customer experience needs to create a uniquely branded experience, we conduct Employee Ethnography, we host co-creation sessions, we draft out a comprehensive functional and emotional journey, we have them understand their touchpoints and identify their moments of truth.Clients that are serious about making a difference and truly standing out, will focus on their internal and external customer, and not just the bottom line.

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How would you describe your leadership style?

I’m often asked this question and I have to say that I’ve never been tied to one particular style.I think I combine two styles, that of a paternal leader and that of an inclusive leader.I feel my responsibility is to look after my team and provide them with learning and growth opportunities, while paving the way for their own style.I believe a leader’s role is to ensure that people develop or always strive to be a better version of their best selves.This means giving them the tools and the means to succeed, while also allowing them to make their own mistakes from which they can learn and improve.Of course, this also means leading by example and walking the talk.

An inclusive style brings us together as a team.While each person has a function and role, we all get together to give feedback and insight on different projects and tasks.I often find that the greatest ideas come from the oddest and least expected of places.This cannot happen if you do not foster a culture of inclusion and togetherness.If we are to transform and innovate, then everyone must have a voice, no matter what they do in the organization.

How would you describe your strategy for growth in the next 5 years? What is your outlook for 2016?

Our strategy for growth hasn’t changed too much in the last five years, and we don’t expect it to change for the coming 5 years.I say this only because one of our strategies has been to remain agile and understand the markets’ needs, and listen to our clients.We believe the market offers so much opportunity and we are certainly in expansion mode.We continue to add new team members that enhance our offering and provide exceptional service to our clients.

Over the last several years, we’ve added several new clients, however we recognize that our business has grown due to our returning clients.These are organizations that value the partnership we have and see the success in collaboration.This has established our reputation in the market as a credible partner, where we do what we say, we finish what we start and we exceed expectations.The next 5 years will see us focus more on innovative solutions that will deliver solutions to the client faster and in easy to apply format.We’ve already been doing a lot of this and think the demand will be even higher.Our solutions have been using gamification as a means of making the learning fun and ensuring it sticks.We are fortunate to be in such an exciting business where every day brings a new challenge with it, one that we welcome.

I think 2016 is a challenging year for many businesses.There is political uncertainty in our region, the price of oil has had an impact on many business and countries, and the introduction of economic reforms leave some business uncertain of their future.That said, I have always believed that the only obstacles that stand in one’s way are those he/she have placed there themselves.We have the ability of thinking and dreaming big, we have the ability to innovate, we have the ability to reinvent ourselves.And if we were to do all that, 2016 can offer us an opportunity to really break barriers and think beyond of our self-applied box.It is in our hands to define what kind of year 2016 will be…




LEADERSHIP AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP