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7 Questions with Raza Ahmed
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7 Questions with Raza Ahmed
Name: Raza Ahmed
Current title: Partner, VP Finance
Current organisation: Currently Looking
Finance leader with broad-based international experience (North America, Asia & Europe) with Fortune/Global 500 Corporations (and big four in practice) in diverse industries. Strong mix of finance, accounting, controllership, and business development experience (including mergers & acquisitions). Developed accounting and financial infrastructure for startups (including accounting systems, staffing and compliance) as well as improved procedures, processes and upgraded staff at established Companies. Successful career to date shows leadership qualities, communication skills, ability to build relationships, flexibility, adaptability, and business acumen.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
Effective communication within a large organization, and building a team which is execution oriented.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was hired by Abbott Laboratories in Pakistan (where it is a publicly listed company) as Controller to be the successor to the Country CFO who was to retire in a few years. In 2002 near the near the transition time Abbott Offered me the role country CFO for Abbott Indonesia as an expatriate executive country CFO.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
The next day starts at the end of the previous day where before leaving work, I review what is on my plate for tomorrow. I start the day by looking at my Email, and my to do list, and then priorities what needs to be done, what I need to do myself, what can be delegated etc. I then ensure that my calendar is booked according to the time that I will need to complete what needs to be done, and try, if possible to leave some slots for something unexpected that might occur.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Success belongs to the team. As the leader I need to step up and take responsibility for the failures.
You cannot take effective communication for granted, you have to double check that what people understand is what you are trying to communicate.
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?
Execution. Big lesson from that book. If it is important enough, you personally need to ensure that you are on top of it, to get it done, which means constant follow up.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Discuss what is required with the team, get feedback, decide on what needs to be done. Explain why a particular path has been chosen and its merits Vs. other options, and ensure that everyone does what they are required to do.
Ensure that an execution culture is built. that people understand what needs to be done and do it, rather than looking for reasons not to do their work.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
Technical skills can be taught and developed. What cannot be taught or developed is ethics and integrity. Where I have had staff reporting to me who have made mistakes (some of which have caused losses for the organization) which they found themselves, and come to me and confessed, I have developed processes to ensure that the problem does not reoccur and taken responsibility for the mistake and have fought for my staff. Where such mistakes have been made and the person has tried to cover up, hide or tried to shift the blame, I have dismissed the individual.