Delivering High-End Consultancy and Corporate Training in both English & Arabic

The Power of a Smile 🙂

This article was recently published in "Training Magazine Middle East" on November 23, 2014.

As Sami was getting ready to depart to one of the countries in the region for a training assignment, he posted a status on his Facebook page: “On the way to Kuwait for a training assignment”. Within a few minutes, he gets a message from a previous colleague, Jad, letting him know that he too, will be heading to Kuwait for some other project as well. So, Sami and Jad exchanged messages and agreed to meet up once in Kuwait, for a get-together.   

Once there, the plan was to meet up at one particular coffee shop. To Sami's surprise, he found out that another previous colleague, Randa, is to join them as well, as she also happens to be in Kuwait at the same time. And so, the Rendez-Vous takes place.

After going through the usual chit-chat, Jad pulls out his phone and asks one of the waiters to take a photo of the 3 together. Within seconds, the photo is posted on Jad's facebook page, with Sami being tagged of course.  'Likes' and 'comments' started pouring in from friends and family members, in addition to current and previous colleagues as well.  

Weeks go by, projects completed, everybody back to their home bases, and life goes on as usual.

One day, Sami receives an email from someone by the name of Jane. In her email, Jane introduces herself and informs Sami that she was so happy to see that photo of all 3 of us when Jad posted it on his Facebook page. Of course, she reminds Sami for being a previous colleague of his who had worked with him on a major assignment a few years back in Abu Dhabi over a 2-week period. Jane, then, goes straight into discussing an opportunity inviting Sami to work together again on an upcoming assignment in the region. Wow, a job opportunity thanks to Facebook!!!

Story fast forward...that project turns out to be one of the most interesting and rewarding projects Sami had ever worked on. Although it was not directly related to his field of work, the project was so fascinating, he never even imagined that something like that even existed in this world. The experience and knowledge Sami gained during those two weeks were just indescribable. Long hours of work were way beyond the norm, but Sami enjoyed each and every minute of it. the people involved were superb and the mission of that project was one of the noblest he'd ever been exposed to. 

All throughout those 2 weeks, Sami never got to see Jane, as she stayed back in the UK working on her part of the project from back home. All along, however, he kept on wondering why would Jane consider him for such a project when she knows really well that this has nothing to do with his field of work. 

The day before the very last of the project, Jane flew in from the UK to take part in one of the last workshops taking place in Abu Dhabi. During breakfast, Sami finally popped the question and asked Jane what made her think of him to take part in such a project, and why would she think that he would be a good candidate for such a role. 

Jane's answer struck him by surprise when she said: "Sami, I still remember, when we worked together on that massive project 4 years ago, how you were always able to keep a smile on your face, through all the s**t we were going through, while working with such a tough and overly demanding client." And then she goes on and says: "When I saw your photo on Facebook, that's when I thought that if there's anyone who can help us facilitate such workshops, it would surely be you" and no other. Obviously, Sami was so flattered, but he still could not believe that she would remember such a smile, 4 years later! 

Once the project was all over with, Sami and I got together one day and he shared that wonderful story with me. As he was proudly going on and on with his story, I was not surprised at all that he would be picked for such a role. I was able to relate his personality trait to a very simple concept that we train on when it comes to "Personal Success". That concept is called the "KSA Performance Model."


"KSA" here, simply stands for Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude! And, although it is imperative to be knowledgeable and skillful in your line of work, the main secret ingredient for success is to have that right attitude. And that's exactly what landed Sami such an opportunity!

But why is "Attitude" the most critical ingredient for success in this model?

In my view, Knowledge is easily attained for the most part. All we have to do is learn about whatever topic we want to learn about. We just need to open a book on whatever topic we are interested in, read about it, research it, and get to master it. The information is out there at our fingertips. So, it's quite easy to become knowledgeable about anything you might think of if you just have an interest in it.

Skills fall into the same category as well. To be skillful at something, all we need to do is go through the techniques, some training and coaching maybe, practice, practice, and practice more...and voilĂ ! With time, we have the tendency to become experts at certain skills only if we practice enough and apply those skills properly. 

Attitude, on the other hand, is a different story. Attitude is not something we can learn and apply overnight. A positive attitude needs a completely different mindset. Attitude is a lifetime journey. Attitude is a mixture of feelings, beliefs, behaviors, reflections, perceptions, interpretations, acceptance of other opinions, reactions to things beyond our control, listening versus hearing, dealing with others, carrying ourselves, and the list can go on and on indefinitely. Imagine putting all those into a juicer and mixing it up to come up with some special juice. That juice is 'attitude'. It can be sour or it can be sweet. It can be negative or it can be positive. It's all up to you of course and the choice is always yours.

In Sami's case, it was simple. That positive attitude he had always adopted was surely reflected by his genuine smile he kept on his face, and of course the memories and feelings he left in peoples' minds. He touched people's hearts most of the time and he left an impact in a lot of people's lives.

Well, to sum it all up, this only reminds me of a quote by Zig Ziglar when he said: "It's your attitude, not your aptitude that will determine your altitude."

Samir Roger Makarem

J&R Business Consultancy

Scroll to Top