Being at the helm of one of the largest real estate companies in the world, Mr. Alabbar takes inspiration from none other than his mentor: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of UAE (United Arab Emirates).
Mr. Alabbar is guided by Sheikh Mohammed’s call for dynamic leadership: “A leader should lead, and be able to lead his people by positioning himself in front of them and not behind them. A leader should take control and tell his people: ‘Here is our goal, follow me towards it, and not: “Go ahead, and we will be right behind you”.
Mr. Alabbar believes that His Highness is the prime driving force behind all-round transformation of Dubai from a ‘barren land’ into an ‘oasis of opportunities.’
“The fuel for growth”, said Mr. Alabbar, “is the support and direction provided by UAE Vice President & Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.”
“He understood that the time was right for Dubai — and this may be his most valuable example for those of us with large-scale ambitions,” he said. “He gave us the daring to dream and dream big.”
Mr. Alabbar is not a man of words but of actions. His lets his actions speak for themselves. It was primarily for this reason he received first-ever ‘The Lifetime Achievement Award’ at Arabian Business Media & Marketing Conference held in November 2007.
The Award recognized the “foresight” and “bold initiatives” of Mr Alabbar. Mr Andrew Neil, Chairman, ITP, the Middle East’s largest publisher of consumer and business magazines, including Arabian Business, termed Mr. Alabbar as a “role model for the entrepreneur community across the Arab world.”
“He sets an example of how far-sighted approach, innovative thinking and flawless execution can help achieve one’s goals and consistently better the success achieved,” he said.
Speaking at the conference Mr. Alabbar shared his futuristic vision and positive approach.
“Today, with such towering examples in human achievement as the Burj Dubai”, he thundered, “we proclaim to the world that nothing is impossible when human minds come together with clearly focused objectives.”
Alabbar-led Emaar Group is a leading real estate company in the Middle East and intends to grow globally in order to achieve “vision of 2010.” i.e. to become one of the most valuable companies in the world.
To attain vision 2010, Emaar has built distinctive management philosophy. “Emaar Culture” with the help of renowned management guru, Ram Charan. Emaar Culture simply means the company must be driven by objectives, measurable performance and monitoring.
To implement the same Emaar has successfully developed the culture of “Management By Objectives” (MBOs) and “Key Performance Indicators” (KPIs) among senior management. Emaar intends to percolate this philosophy at every level of the organization. To ensure continuity of Emaar culture company has also proceeded to put in place a management succession plan with Ram Charan.
Emaar’s global presence can be gauged from the fact that in 2006 alone it acquired three big companies: John Laing Homes, Hamptons International and Turner International Middle East.
Emaar’s track-record in revenue generation is excellent since it determines the health of a company. Emaar generated revenues of AED 14.006 billion and net profits of AED 6.371 billion in the financial year, 2006, increase of 68 per and 35 per cent, respectively, over the previous financial year.
Speaking on Emaar’s global ambition at the conference, Mr. Alabbar had said, “There comes a time when you out-grow the local market and feel the need to scale up and take that leap from local to global.”
Barely two months after making that statement, Emaar MGF (a joint venture) is making heading-turning moves in India: Asia’s most exciting real estate market. On January 4, it won a bid to construct 1,168 (number of flats) nine-storey residential flats, comprising a built-up area of 201,280 sq. mts, for the Commonwealth Games Village (will be held in New Delhi in 2010) at a price of 3.2 billion USD.
Emaar MGF plans to invest more than half a billion US dollars in real estate projects planned in prominent Indian cities. In 2006, Emaar launched pilot projects in India, Pakistan and Egypt. It has successfully completed the construction of seven offices, six sales centers and two “Street of Dreams” in international markets, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Morocco.
In such a scenario, Emaar intends to capitalize on ‘fortune at the bottom of pyramid’ theory. This theory is derived from renowned researcher and change leader, Professor C. K. Prahalad’s (of university of Michigan) book ‘Fortune at the Bottom of Pyramid.’ It means that there is purchasing power and demand at the lowest income levels of society and there is a fortune to be made if products are designed creatively at low cost and sold at low prices.
Mr. Alabbar was confident that Emaar will succeed in other markets as well because of the persistent requests by their clients to offer similar services in their home countries.
One of the primary reasons for Emaar’s success story, according to Mr. Alabbar, is their emphasis on ‘community living’ and ‘luxury lifestyle’ which is missing in most emerging economies in the region and Asia.
Mr. Alabbar believes in empowering people – which he considers as a part of larger theme – in order to transform their lives.
“Today, while we continue to focus on our core brand value of delivery”, he said, “our global ambitions have led us to larger themes of empowering people to live their lives fully, inspiring new generations to challenge the status quo and giving people hope for a better future.”
Emaar has been making waves on the corporate power list as well. It is the first and only real estate company in the region to be ranked in the Financial Times Global 500 list of the world’s top-notch organizations.
Mr. Alabbar too was ranked high in the Fortune 500. He was named 5th in Power Positions category.
A graduate of The Albers School of Business and Economics, Seattle University, Mr. Alabbar has spoken in a number of international forums including representing the UAE at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Just as Sheikh Mohammed has been an inspiration to Mr. Alabbar; Mr. Alabbar's own achievements has made him an inspiration for other leaders to come.