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7 Questions with Karim Sekkat
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7 Questions with Karim Sekkat
Name: Karim Sekkat
Current title: Chairman & CEO
Current organization: Oxford Engineering Group
Karim started his first venture while at business school, followed a path in investment banking and held various board positions of private and public companies in Europe before going at it alone. Karim has pursued a buy & build strategy. He is the recipient of multiple regional and national runner up awards, and a seasoned speaker at major business schools and for business and manufacturing magazines. His vision led to its company being the only subcontract manufacturer in the United Kingdom awarded the investor in People Gold standard. Karim also races in the Ginetta GT5 Challenge in Europe.
1. What have you found most challenging as a board member?
Building the Executive Team to deliver on the Vision.
2. How did you become a board member? Can you please briefly tell the story?
In the early years I was invited to join the Board by redesigning the business strategy of the companies I was advising. The Boards invited me to join them to ensure the new challenge was met.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I choose my top 3 priorities for the next day from my Importance/Impact quadrant. Once these are performed I ensure I get to my Inbox 0 and follow my Getting Things Done process. After that it really depends how I feel as I need to retain a balance between short term performance and the creativity needed for long term evolution.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
35% of the jobs of the future do not exist yet. We need people who can embrace change, be creative yet remain structured. With that in mind: Character is more important than Degrees.
5. What are some of the keys to doing governance well in an organisation?
Understand the risks and opportunities of the business. Define a process that is directly linked to the inputs rather than having KPI's on the outputs. Derive a set of scorecards to measure your progress.
6. How do you differentiate between the role of board member and the roles of CEO or executive team member of an organisation?
A board member is responsible for setting the vision, inspiring & motivating the troops. He sets the mission and re-calibrates the destination.
The CEO ensures proper management of resources to achieve short term results.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a board member so far?
A few years ago I proposed a radical idea to overhaul our production. Unfortunately the board and executive team were not keen on the idea. They were unable to logically explain why, reiterating that it had never been done in our industry. I set out to hijack the monthly meetings over the next 6 months and turned up each time with different games such as Legos, paper and pen, catapults...to prove my point. Even though my results were always better I was unable to change their minds. We made changes to the board, invited consultants and pushed forward with the changes. That year we proudly received Excellence and Innovation awards from our main global customer.