Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Arif Malik
Organisation: Liztek - Liz Solutions Inc.
Profile 20 years of technical leadership and managerial experience with a proven track record of leading, mentoring, and forging high-performance teams that deliver reliable, scalable, and maintainable data-intensive systems.
Data Strategy, Architecture and Engineering leader experienced in diverse cloud native data environments, processes, tools and technologies to implement data-intensive applications and big data platforms. Responsibilities included:
Evolving the Data Architecture & Engineering Practice, driving technical go-to-market for large scale projects Deliver tangible business outcomes through modern data architecture, engineering, cloud and advanced analytics.
Strong technical capabilities in Tableau and data analysis with effective strategic, analytical and communication skills, working with senior stakeholders to turn data into actionable insight and improve performance, manage change and drive growth within complex global organizations
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I have managed and delivered projects globally starting from small green field projects to complex and large projects at enterprise level.
Some key areas where leaders need to focus includes:
a) lack of change management strategy
b) integration of complex software and technology from business perspective
c) driving adoption of new tools and processes
d) continuous evolution of customer needs
e) managing employee expectations about remote work rather than hybrid. To summarize, key challenges faced by leaders include:
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My inspiration to become a leader was to make a significant impact by embracing change and delivering some complex initiatives for my clients, ensuring growth and development at personal level, and diligence in working and delivering to get recognition and accredited for my work.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
It is important for a leader to have a structured workday because it provides transparency, clarity, and efficiency. A structured workday allows everyone to know what they and their colleagues are working on, working hours are set in advance and resources are diverted to where they are most needed on a project.
Wake up at the same time every day:
Waking time is the anchor for your circadian sleep rhythm.
Resist the urge to inhale a cup of coffee first thing in the morning:
Wake yourself up with a shower and a light breakfast.
Send out emails that don’t require a response straight away:
Most people check emails first thing in the morning.
Get creative on your commute:
Research suggests that innovation and creativity peak whenever your alertness dips.
Drink coffee between 9:30 and 11:30am:
Your cortisol levels start to dip after 9am and don’t pick up until noon, so a caffeine boost is most effective during your first couple of hours at the office.
Review and Schedule the To-Do Lists:
Review your to-do list for today and create one for tomorrow.
Preplanning for tomorrow:
Once to-do-list has been created, go through all the action items you want to take for tomorrow and start understating the action plan for each activity.
Prioritization for tomorrow:
All activities planned for tomorrow need to be prioritized in terms of deliverables. This will help you to start the next day focusing on the most critical action items.
Identify any dependencies for your next day action items:
Identify your dependencies and assumptions for your planned action items and in case anything blocking you, make sure it is communication to stakeholders from business and technical.
Wrap Things Up:
Finish tasks that will take no more than five minutes.
Clutter-Free Your Desk, Desktop, and Mind:
Tidy up your workspace.
End It with Positivity:
End your day on a positive note of completion.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Leaders need to be inspired by lessons because it helps them to continuously learn and grow. By being open to new ideas and approaches, leaders can improve their skills and abilities, and become more effective in their roles. To get impacted by lessons, leaders should approach them with an open mind and a willingness to learn. They should reflect on the lessons and consider how they can apply them in their own leadership practice. This can involve trying out new approaches, seeking feedback from team members, and continuously striving to improve.
Don’t rush to call yourself a leader:
Leadership is a skill that takes time to develop. It involves understanding your strengths and weaknesses, building relationships with your team members, and continuously learning and growing. Take the time to develop your skills and abilities before calling yourself a leader.
True leaders must be with people, not just near them:
Effective leadership involves actively engaging with your team members and building relationships with them. It’s not enough to simply be present; leaders must listen to their team members, understand their needs and concerns, and work collaboratively with them to achieve common goals.
Be a coach and receptive learner at the same time:
Effective leaders help their team members grow while also being open to learning from them. Leaders should provide guidance and support to their team members while also being willing to listen to their ideas and feedback. This approach fosters a culture of continuous learning and growth for both the leader and the team.
Appreciate everything that is given to you:
Effective leaders show gratitude for the opportunities and resources provided to them. This includes recognizing the contributions of their team members, expressing thanks for support from colleagues and superiors, and being mindful of the resources available to them. Showing appreciation can help build positive relationships and foster a culture of mutual respect and collaboration.
Leadership is not a dictatorship:
Effective leaders do not simply dictate orders to their team members. Instead, they lead by example and empower their team members to take ownership of their work. This involves providing guidance and support while also giving team members the autonomy to make decisions and contribute their own ideas. This approach fosters a culture of collaboration and innovation.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
There are many books on leadership that have had a profound impact on leaders. Some popular titles include “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, and “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. These books provide insights and strategies for effective leadership and have helped many leaders to improve their skills and abilities.
“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek is a book that explores why some organizations and individuals can inspire while others simply can’t. The book argues that inspirational leaders start with their “Why” - their reasons and beliefs - before figuring out the “What” and the “How”.
One of the key lessons from the book is the idea of The Golden Circle, which provides a framework for building organizations, leading movements, and inspiring people.
By starting with their “Why”, leaders can create a sense of purpose that inspires others to take actions.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
One key piece of advice for young and emerging leaders is ‘to build a network of successful people’. This can be achieved by joining an active organization and making your presence felt by making an outsized contribution to the cause. In time, members will take notice, and you will be able to make valuable business connections that will serve your burgeoning career. By building a strong network, young leaders can gain access to valuable advice and resources that can help them grow and develop their skills.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One leadership story from a successful business leader is that of Allison Bebo, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at Hologic. In a webcast with Gallup, Bebo discussed how Hologic’s leadership brought true workplace engagement to the organization through persistence over a period of years. This resulted in improved performance and greater overall satisfaction among employees. The leadership at Hologic demonstrated how organizations can build trust and stability among their employees, which can help them successfully navigate challenging times.