Name: Hisham Nagi
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Organisation: Meeting Point Egypt
Born in Cairo, Egypt 1974 & a proud father of a young boy & two girls. Raised, educated and built my career in multiple countries. I am currently holding the position of CEO Meeting Point Egypt. My job is to lead Meeting Point Egypt through its transformation and insure the wellbeing of the company talents and interests of all stakeholders. My mission is to provide meticulous levels of communication between all functions and to resolve any challenges that may come across the company’s business path to ensure proper profitability, sustainable growth & performance that reflects the company values and vision towards its future development.
Since starting my career, I have been dedicated to tourism, earning my merits primarily in Egypt, but
also, in the Middle East. Throughout my career I have gained a broad expertise in the development of
operational strategies. Through my previous jobs with multinational organizations. My professional curriculum combines touristic knowledge with a wider view of the industry and beyond. In my current position, I'm responsible for consolidating and growing Meeting Point Egypt's core
business from the Mediterranean coast to the Red Sea region.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Hisham's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
There are several challenges that face anyone who is in the position to become or is already a leader. Either to a small group or a large organization. The biggest challenge is how does your leadership personality evolve and becomes quite developed to embark on the journey of influencing people's lives. Your personality plays an immense role on how you navigate through your career towards the goals you set for yourself as a leader. Taking "trust" as one of several challenges. Having the trust of your team and your organizations stakeholders is invaluable & is a game changer in your career. Developing trust across a matrix of multiple cultures, mindsets and ethnic backgrounds is not an easy practice. It only comes through hard work, taking responsibility, transparency, resilience and balance. You must walk the talk, manage by example and become a role model who inspires others to grow and succeed in their lives. You will be in need to work hard on developing your personal skills to have people trust your leadership.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I have set my holistic goals of my early career stages to become an eager learner and grab all opportunities to educate myself within the industry. I always had to find a senior mentor who will help me develop my skills and broaden my view of how to reshape my path towards leadership. Being diverse in learning different methodologies and industries is another key that helped my development. I went completely out of the box and tapped on multiple resources to expand my skillset and experimenting it along my job capacities. I had to understand and practice lots of details as well for different jobs in multiple industries like hotels with its multiple functions, resorts, travel industry, museums, leisure facilities, commercial projects, sports facilities, project management & real-estate construction projects. I have been training myself to be knowledgeable & to become an expert in understanding the business and the people working within it, how do they preform and what are their daily challenges and how to become an effective team player as well as an individual who takes stock to have the job done.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
On my workdays I wake up early, do my morning routine, make sure that all family members are set for the day & take off to work. I usually have a casual pleasant morning conversation with colleagues in the office over coffee. Then I start my day with management briefings and following up on pre & post tasks with the board. I check the overall performance of running projects and business cases & align with global heads. I make sure that communications and response times are moving with the intended pace. Attending to any urgent cases that requires my intervention & monitoring the wellbeing of the department employees and their daily performances. As the workday concludes I attend to my family needs, enjoy my evening with friends and family or just relax and do some reading before I go to bed.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Now this might sound a bit common however, I am that kind of person who is so analytical and one who notices the minute details. Speaking of a lesson for leadership; nature is quite super to provide the average human with numerous lessons about leadership. Picture the scene of a pack of African wild dogs & another pack of Grey Wolves. Both have leaders who lead their packs when hunting or moving from a territory to another. The Wild Dog's came across a river and started panicking as their leader decided to cross the river swimming and fighting the strong current to the other side while his pack was in complete denial and fear to follow. The wild dog leader insisted and jumped into the river forcing his pack to follow him. On the other hand, not that far away, the grey wolves seemed to reach the same point as the Wild dogs and wanted to cross the river too to continue their journey. The leader of the wolf pack stopped and took some time to delegate scouting tasks alongside the riverbank to his scouting wolves who found a safe path of rocks that can help the pack cross the river to the other side safely and they did. While the wild dogs pack was completely diminished and never reached the other side including their leader by the jaws of the alligators. This genuine lesson given by nature gives leaders pointers on how to effectively lead and mitigate risks towards your team and your goals. You stop, analyze, organize, consult your team, evaluate risks, delegate tasks, trust your team capabilities, extract information, take the decisions & take responsibility.
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 7 habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey. This is a fantastic book and provides a clear and direct approach for leaders who want to have a positive impact on their organizations. I would consider one of the habits within the 7 as the most effective one, which is understanding the needs of others. If you understand the needs of others and even the needs behind the needs if you fancy diving deeper and learning more about different perspectives; you will be able to find the right path to influence people and to help them achieve their goals and simultaneously achieve your own goals. This is a great habit that leaders should keep in their minds since it directly triggers the right motivation that moves the organization towards creating a stable and progressive work environment.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be persistent, believe in your values they will guide you to make the right decisions. Have great amounts of patience & take time to analyze your progression to know where you stand and where are you going. Embrace the fact that change is inevitably a continuous routine to improve lives.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Depressed work environments and stuck-up behaviors of leaders are the complete opposite of a successful leadership model. I was appointed to lead an organization that had over 500 employees. The previous managements of the organization with its unexplained behaviors towards the business had the best talents flee to competitors and amusingly business as well. Due to the fact that the previous management did not embrace communication within the organization properly which generated a huge amount of distrust, individuality & suppression. The teamwork and general aspiration were rock bottom. I was baffled by the fact that people do not communicate with each other except over email although their offices where in the same building; steps away. So, I had to change all this, and I wouldn't have been able to change it without having a plan, strategy and supporters to do so. Taking into consideration the extended time and efforts to change a situation that has been revolving for years inside the organization. I had to facilitate and normalize the communication between people & departments. It took several townhall events, management by example, team buildings, training & development and even work group outings to dissolve the barriers between people and to generate a healthy work environment. The employment turnover rates have decreased dramatically, the environment gradually changed to become a very pleasant work environment that was set to achieve its purposes.