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Article: The Big Lie of Strategic Planning

The financial crisis of 2008 posed many challenges in front of the top management of
UAE exchange, as the expatriates in Dubai were losing job thereby directly affecting
the remittance business of the company. In this tough time, it was very important to
formulate a strategy for the organization, which will bail it out of the crisis. Mr.
Pramoth Mangath (VP, Global Operations) along with his team discussed ways and
found that the company frontline is the most important tool to combat in the scenario.
In tough times, the challenge from the competitors raised to the next level as more
than 120 companies were battling for the shrinking customer base. UAE exchange
decided a strategy of not to lay off its employees; rather it hired more employees who
had been laid off by other competing companies which led to higher motivation
among employees. The company executes formulated a strategy to start a two days
sports and arts event REFLEX- Resonating Emotions to Form Lasting Impressions,
which the team itself was uncertain whether it would result in positive business and
would affect the day to day working of the employees.

Many executives are mistaken when they assume that if they have made plans for a
strategy, it will be successful which does not happen in the real world.
Cost based thinking: In the planning of future activities, executives
excessively reflect on the costs incurred by the company and ways to control
it. However, UAE exchange did just the opposite. It did not layoff its
employees, hiring more number of employees. It started two days sports and
art event for all the employees: REFLEX- Resonating Emotions to Form
Lasting Impressions, in which company did not think about the cost
concerning money as well as the employee hours lost while practicing and
participating in the events.

Strategic Planning: With strategy comes a plan, which has three major components:
1. Vision/mission statement of UAE Exchange:
Vision: To be an ever-dependable friend, the link that emotionally connects
people across the globe through technology-driven, professional, dedicated
and timely services delivered with a personal touch.
Mission: To stay ahead of the times in providing customer-friendly, value-
added services with warmth; fulfill the aspirations of the employees; create
sustained growth in revenue and profitability; serve the society and flourish in
an environment of mutual trust and transparency.

2. List of initiatives taken:

o Al Rehla: To support Emirati nations
o Taleem: Training UAE nationals as interns
o Speak Up, Go Green Initiative, etc.

3. Conversion of above-stated initiatives into financials:

The company achieved 134.17 billion AED in revenue, an attrition rate of
8.01%, customer retention rate of 92% and 136 branches in 2014.

UAE executives kept the strategy simple by clearly defining where to play and how to
win to achieve results, which finally led to success for the company.