Name: Fadi Serhal
Title: Executive Director
Fadi Serhal is the executive director of Yogi. With more than 20 years in the industry, he is a seasoned hospitality professional, with experience that has seen him work across different segments – from luxury hotels to casual dining and QSR.
Serhal is an operations strategist with a solid record in leading complex initiatives. Throughout his industry, he is known for applying solid technical, research and analytical abilities.
Serhal’s reputation for achieving corporate growth objectives is proven by his ability to increase organisational efficiencies and sustain revenue while reducing costs.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Fadi's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Leaders are the ones you look at when the ship is sinking, while seeking acknowledgement that everything will be sorted out.
The most challenging thing as a leader, is to keep your posture irrespective of the obstacles that are around you, as your team will always react based on how you act.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
It took a lot and I am still honing my skills until today.
There is always a saying that one is born a leader; i don't believe in that; I believe one is shaped into a leader through other leaders he met.
Mothers and fathers are the very first leaders—that one teacher that impacted you, your very first manager who put that leadership into yourself, and the very moment your team looked at you and acknowledged you as the leader.
All of these combined are what made me a leader today, and i still consider myself in need for a lot more, to become the one i strive to be.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am not a morning person, and there is no shame to that, yet having a newborn changed all of that.
My day usually starts at 6 in the morning, with a cup of coffee, while checking out last night's performance of all of our restaurants, while going through important emails.
The news nowadays are a must-read, especially in a changing socio-economic time.
I'm at the office by 9, and i stay off my laptop for at least 2 hours, where i have a 1-on-1 with all heads of departments. Talking with your team helps a lot, we often forget ourselves in the digital spectrum, but we need to turn it off sometimes, and sit have a good old chat.
The day continues with a visit to a restaurant or two if the time permits, followed by exploring new initiatives and a few meetings until 5pm, where is time to head back home.
Family time is sacred to me, i often have less than 2 hours at night to see our son before bed time, then some relaxed time with the Mrs. and usually bed time by 10pm.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
One of the most important lessons that i always remind myself of, is (Never promise when happy, nor punish when upset), and this quote goes around a lot of things.
I found myself recently being reminded that despite if a challenge occurs, and it might seem as someone's problem, sit and talk to this someone, understand their point, and you might discover that the challenge lies externally at the hands of someone else.
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 Toyota Way to Lean Leadership is a book that everyone must have in my opinion, it provides detailed insight into Toyota's lean success, including its production systems, product development and leadership development, and how internally, Toyota focuses on developing its existing employees as leaders
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
We often get stuck at the spur of the moment, and act irrationally, or react impulsively.
It's ok, we are humans and it is in our genes to be emotional towards challenges, yet when you breath, and take 5 seconds to recoup, your reaction will be different, and you will switch from being impulsive to rational, which will lead to a better outcome.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One time we had to open a restaurant way earlier than it's set date, and our operations manager had a medical emergency.
We had 2 options, either sit and wait for him to recover, or just jump on board and get the ball rolling, and that is what happened. Within 3 hours, i had gathered a team of 7 team members, borrowed equipment from other outlets, installed the software needed and got the store up and running within less than 3 hours.
The sight of the team and the store being open was a reminder that no matter how much you grow on the Org chart, you should always have your sights on the business, and roll your sleeves if ever needed.
That was a one deserved piece of cake i had as we celebrated the opening.