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7 Questions on Leadership with Adnan Khaleel

Name: Adnan Khaleel

Title: Sr Director, Business and Technology Strategy

Organisation: Intel Corp

I'm total engineering nerd at heart, and love getting my hands dirty doing things, making mistakes and learning along the way. I'm an computer hardware engineer by training and have worked on almost every aspect of a super computer, hardware, software, networking - you name it. I'm currently at Intel leading their Business and Technology strategy for Arm and Risc-V processor technologies.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Adnan's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Balancing - there's no easy way to say it, but much easier to extreme. Balancing work life balance for instance. And not just for me but also for the folks that I lead. And every person has a different definition of balance and that too can change over time. I think a good leader is always trying to balance many things at one time, and ultimately my job is to ensure that I facilitate successful outcomes for the people that depend on me.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was good at what I did and this didn't go unnoticed by the top brass. I was looking to grow, and I was given a task that several senior leaders had failed to deliver on. I'm not sure till today, if I was assigned that difficult project with the expectation that I would fail, or if failure for the project was inconsequential and hence it was given to me. Either way, I succeed in getting the project done with several enhancements along the way.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

I'm a creature of habit both in my professional and personal lives.

My professional life is mostly dictated by my calendar and if nots in my calendar, it doesn't get done. So I'm a big fan of calendaring everything, even my DnD times as well as tasks. I also use a few tools like Mind Maps to give me a structured view of how complex tasks can be executed along with pitfalls and mitigations ... as much as I can.

For my personal goals, I like to create routines that I follow on a regular basis. To that extent, I create a process that ensures that I can follow and incorporate into my daily life. This could be things like working out, learning a new language or practicing piano and guitar.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

That successful people often forget what made them successful in the first place and often get lazy and lose that drive.

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?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It's a story about how you should follow your dreams. I think all to often we get caught up in the rat race and forget why we are in it. Work isn't your life, but you can make it a meaningful part of your life, especially if you can find ways to help other and give back to the community.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Never be rude or dismissive of your subordinates ... they could your boss one day. And mentoring is best way you can you ensure your own success.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

Often times I think many leaders are all too happy to take the credit for a success and pass the blame onto others for a leader. "Humbleness can be an incredible attribute for a person in a leadership role.

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