I took the helm of AL WADI INTERNATIONAL exactly 3 and half years ago from this date and I feel so privileged and humbled for the role I have had to play. I have faced many challenges over the years, but with the support and inspiration from family, colleagues, I have crossed them and learned many valuable lessons along the way.
It is not possible to write the story that I have carved and to name all the lessons learned, but I would like to highlight a few which was very important for me to run a company like this. These lessons are not only restricted to this role, but can be an inspiration to all and I hope this could be useful.
EVERYONE NEEDS A VISION
I truly think everyone needs vision for their life! What I have learned is “A vision defines where you are going and who you are becoming”. Having a vision, keeps you focused and this in turn can help you make the tough decisions.
Where there is no vision, the people perish, and the same can be said of any institution. When I took up the role, I believed that I needed to bring a sense of meaning to work I did every day. I knew that if we have to grow on a daily basis and be successful in this competitive world, we need to adapt to the changing expectations. We need to be proactive and responsive to the needs of the industry.
Hence I learnt that I had to “Come up with a vision that not only reflects the direction of a company, but moves people, inspires people to make it a reality.”
Time :- The lesson is to think hard about your time and what values you can add. I was made to think about how important it is to balance short-term and long-term interests.
By focusing on Performance with a purpose, I was focusing not just on the short term but long term, not just in the sense of duration of time but most importantly on the duration of returns. If we focus on the level of returns alone, even if it seems high in the short-run, it might not be sustainable.
Hence, my strategy was one to balance on both the time and duration of returns. As a result, we have been able to grow consistently with good returns over the period of time.
Change Management – Making Change Happen, and sticking to it.
The next focus was on the importance of persuasion. It was necessary that the team and others in the company also adopt the performance with purpose.
It is not that I did not face resistance. Not all efforts were successful too in the beginning. But I stuck with it. Today Performance with purpose has been ingrained into our day to day chores.
Listening is an important aspect. There are always lot of people with ideas for how we can do things differently. There may be ideas we don’t want to hear. But what I have learnt is when I am willing to listen, I have been better for it.
We get feedback from our clients, employees, colleagues, and I have also found that some of the best advice has come in moments I least expected it.
There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. We should do more listening than talking. We should lead but we should also learn to follow, if needed. We should listen to the wisdom all around us.
Willing to Learn
I have always been a very good student throughout my school and college life. I love to keep studying. Even in my working career too, I have always done some studying and managed to earn some accreditations.
It is important to be a lifelong student, as we are living in a world where new trends, technologies are transforming our industry and world.
A COO today requires more than just academic qualifications. It requires closely observing things. I am constantly trying to consume as much information as I can from many sources, so as to better each day and pass on the knowledge to my team. I can’t afford to stop learning.
People are everything
The success of an organization can be attributed to not one person or one thing but to the entire TEAM. Things have changed from the past, where if you wanted to the best talent it was all about job. But in the current era, you have to appeal not only to your employees’ heads, but also to their hearts.
A written appreciation, a pat on the back goes a long way to motivate. I always believe in this aspect and implement them as and when and wherever I can.
The impact of these letters has led to some of the most meaningful experiences. The reactions you get will move you more than you can know.
I’m learning new lessons every day. But these are the few critical lessons I wanted to share with you. These seven lessons translate into the characteristics of a great leader: Vision. Persistence. Persuasion. Listening. Learning. Collaborating. Humility. Probably no single person embodies all these virtues. But anyone who can do these seven things, who possesses these seven qualities, will be a formidable leader.