Name: Driss Mezghouti
Organisation: Geber Labs
It all began with a master's degree in Food Production Engineering—a foundation that would eventually feed my passion for serving customers. I started from the very bottom, as a humble sales representative in the food production industry. It was here that I learned the art of understanding and delighting customers, honing the basics, and cultivating an unyielding commitment to their satisfaction.
But the real adventure was yet to come. I secured a senior sales consultant contract that took me deep into the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Sudan, I provided consultation and marketed innovative solutions to food production businesses. These diverse markets exposed me to the complex tapestry of cultures and challenges that would later shape my expertise.
Then, I set my compass towards the enigmatic landscapes of North and South-Central Africa. Here, I honed the art of selling in multicultural environments, further deepening my understanding of the global marketplace.
As the years went by, I mastered the craft of sales management and leadership, allowing me to inspire and guide teams toward excellence. Seeking to expand my knowledge, I pursued further education in business administration, blending this newfound wisdom with my sales acumen.
Armed with this unique blend of experience, insight, and tenacity, I ventured to run and develop organizations that prioritize results and embrace a laser-like focus on numbers.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Driss's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, the most challenging part has been that many people I aim to mentor on their path to leadership are not open to learning and personal growth.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
During my engineering school years, I was exceedingly introverted. A passionate reader, I immersed myself in books, often feeling like a recluse. My reserved nature hindered my social life, and I grew weary of my solitude. Deep down, I recognized the need for change, to break free from my shell and gain popularity. I believed I had much to offer and eagerly wanted to help others.
Then came January 12, 1993, a day etched in my memory, marking a profound turning point.
Lying in bed, donning blue pajamas, and engrossed in "O Fortuna," I stumbled upon a passage that challenged me to speak in public to influence people with words.
Filled with enthusiasm, I ventured into a role as a student leader, inspiring and collaborating with a team. The joy of crafting a vision and working together to bring it to life is an unforgettable experience.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
4:30 AM: Wake Up
Writing my book
Handling Emails and Communications
1 PM: Lunch
Enjoy a Walk While Listening to an Audiobook
9:30 PM Dinner and Quality Family Time
Go to bed at 11 PM.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
The leader, and only the leader, is responsible for establishing and nurturing the culture of leadership within an organization.
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?
How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell
I once believed that a good leader is someone who is always taking action and actively involved in getting things done.
My perspective shifted one day while trying to help a client grasp the importance of replacing a manager due to his lack of leadership.
While reflecting on an example mentioned by John C. Maxwell in his book, it became obvious to me that the client's difficulty in understanding the situation originated from his deep involvement in the day-to-day operations of the business.
Since that day, I've made thinking a top priority on my journey to becoming a better leader.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
True leadership resides in authentic service to others.
By consistently serving and nurturing others, you are well on your path to becoming one of the world's most exceptional leaders.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Recently, I initiated a mentoring group for helping tech professionals build their personal brands and emerge as leaders within their industry.
What I discovered was that many of these tech experts, despite their extensive expertise, strongly believed that technical proficiency alone is sufficient for success, while they considered soft skills and leadership abilities as mere empty talk.
Consequently, they often avoided pursuing leadership roles. Once I knew this, I assisted them in changing their perspective, and the results were phenomenal.
As a result, one of my students has since become an influential figure in the IT industry, while another is now leading a community of tech professionals educating them about blockchain technology.
After this experience, I decided to make it my mission to raise awareness among companies and organizations in the MENA region about the meaning of leadership and its huge impact.