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7 Questions on Leadership with Mahmood Hussein

Name: Mahmood Hussein

Title: Founder and CEO

Organisation: Global Drone Solutions

Mahmood Hussein, Founder and CEO of Global Drone Solutions and Global Robotics Academy, is an award-winning trailblazer in the tech sector. Recognized as the "2022 Pearcey Entrepreneur of the Year", Mahmood's visionary leadership has steered Global Drone Solutions to win the prestigious title of "Tech Company of the Year". With a rich history as a Senior Vice President and General Manager for leading multinationals in mining and power generation, Mahmood founded Global Drone Solutions in 2016, rapidly transforming it into a beacon of excellence in the robotics training sphere.

Passionately dedicated to leveraging drone technology, Global Drone Solutions not only addresses societal and business challenges but also unveils novel business avenues. Their bespoke drone training and consultancy services cater to a diverse range of industries, reducing costs, improving operational efficiency, minimising risks, and enhancing safety.

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

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


Jonno White

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

In my leadership journey, one of the most challenging aspects has been striking the right balance between immediate business objectives and the broader vision of forging a lasting legacy. The tug-of-war between short-term gains and the long-term imperative to protect our planet and ensure a sustainable future for the next generations requires deep introspection, forward-thinking, and sometimes tough decisions. It's a challenge to communicate and instill these values across the organization, ensuring that every stakeholder understands and resonates with this dual mission. But I believe that true leadership lies in navigating these complexities and ensuring that our actions today don't compromise the world of tomorrow.

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

Growing up, I was deeply influenced by stories from my community, tales that emphasized the importance of leaving a legacy and protecting our planet. This instilled in me an early understanding of the responsibility each one of us has towards our environment and future generations. As I entered the professional world, I noticed gaps in how businesses approached long-term sustainability and community engagement. Recognizing these challenges, I took the initiative to drive change from within my organization.

I began by advocating for projects that aligned with sustainable practices and emphasized the empowerment of indigenous communities. Over time, I earned the trust and respect of my colleagues through consistent efforts and results. My ascent into leadership wasn't just about climbing the corporate ladder; it was about championing a cause. My commitment to forging a legacy and ensuring a better future became the beacon that guided my leadership journey. In essence, my leadership was born out of a deep-rooted sense of purpose and an unwavering commitment to make a difference"

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


5:30 am: Wake up and begin my day with a 20-minute meditation. This helps me to center myself and set a positive intention for the day ahead.

6:00 am: Engage in a 30-minute physical workout. Whether it's a brisk walk, yoga, or a session at the gym, staying physically active helps me maintain clarity and energy throughout the day.

7:00 am: Breakfast with family. It's a non-negotiable part of my day, ensuring I have quality time with my loved ones before the day's hustle begins.

8:00 am: Review my calendar, emails, and task list for the day. This helps me prioritize urgent issues, delegate tasks, and set a clear roadmap for the day.


12:00 pm: Lunch. I make it a point to step away from work and enjoy a wholesome meal, often catching up with colleagues informally during this time.

1:00 pm: Dedicate time for strategic planning, brainstorming, and larger projects. This is when my cognitive function is at its peak, so I reserve this time for tasks that require deep thought.

3:00 pm: Check-in meetings with teams or individual members. This is the time I utilize to understand the progress of ongoing projects, address concerns, and offer support.


6:00 pm: Wind down work-related tasks. I review the day's achievements, set tasks for the next day, and ensure any urgent communications are addressed.

7:00 pm: Dinner with family. Another chance to connect, share stories, and strengthen bonds.

8:00 pm: Personal time. This might include reading, watching a movie, or pursuing a hobby. It’s essential for me to have this downtime to relax and recharge.

9:30 pm: Light stretching or another short meditation session to calm my mind and prepare for sleep.

10:00 pm: Sleep. A good night's rest is crucial for maintaining balance, ensuring I'm refreshed and ready for the challenges of the next day.

This structure not only keeps me productive and focused on my leadership responsibilities but also emphasizes personal well-being and family, which are foundational to my approach to life and work.

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

A recent leadership lesson that's been reinforced for me revolves around the idea of adaptability and empathy in the face of unprecedented challenges. As the world grapples with rapid technological advancements, climate crises, and global shifts, I was reminded of how vital it is for leaders to remain agile, not just in strategy but in mindset.

During a project that aimed to integrate new technologies into our operations, I recognized that while our strategic adaptations were on point, the human aspect – the emotions, fears, and aspirations of our team members – was something that needed more attention. The introduction of new technology brought with it apprehensions about job security, adaptability, and concerns about obsolescence among some team members.

This scenario highlighted the importance of leading with empathy. I was reminded that before implementing change, it's crucial to understand and address the human side of that change. By creating an environment where team members felt safe to express their concerns, we were able to offer reassurances, training, and support that eased the transition.

In essence, the lesson was clear: As leaders aiming to forge a legacy, our strategies should be adaptable, but our approach must always be rooted in empathy. True leadership lies not just in navigating the ship through turbulent waters but in ensuring the well-being of every single person aboard.

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?

One book that has profoundly shaped my leadership journey is 'Dominating Your Niche.' by Stephen Wood. This book delves deep into the concept of niche mastery and the unparalleled advantage it offers in today's competitive market landscape.

When I first picked up the book, our organization was in a phase of expansion, trying to be a jack-of-all-trades. While we were making decent progress, the insights from the book helped me realize the potential of honing in on our unique strengths and core competencies. Instead of spreading ourselves too thin, the book emphasized the importance of becoming the absolute best in a specific niche.

It presented compelling arguments and actionable strategies about understanding our target audience better, tailoring our offerings to cater to their exact needs, and positioning ourselves as the undeniable experts in that domain. This not only simplifies decision-making but also enables more targeted and effective resource allocation.

Incorporating these lessons, I steered our team towards a more focused approach. We began to invest deeply in understanding our niche, its dynamics, and its unmet needs. Over time, this focus allowed us to establish ourselves as industry leaders in our specialized domain.

'Dominating Your Niche' wasn’t just a book for me; it was a paradigm shift. It taught me that leadership isn't about chasing every opportunity but about mastering and capitalizing on the right ones

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

If I were to distill my leadership experience into one piece of advice for an emerging leader, it would be this: Embrace action over hesitation. Procrastination can be the silent killer of ambition. Every moment you delay, opportunities may pass you by. Take calculated risks, trust in your vision, and most crucially, surround yourself with a formidable team. Your team is your strength, your sounding board, and your foundation. They will amplify your successes and support you through challenges. So, act decisively, take those leaps of faith, but always ensure you have the right people beside you on the journey.

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

One story that has left an indelible mark on my leadership journey occurred early in my tenure as a team leader. We were working on a project that was both challenging and vital for the company. The stakes were high, and the timeline was tight. As a young leader, I was eager to prove my capabilities and believed that by taking charge of the critical components myself, we would be more assured of success.

Midway through, it became evident that I had overextended myself, and the strain began to show, not only in my work but on the team's overall morale. I was hesitant to delegate crucial tasks, wrongly equating delegation with a lack of capability on my part.

It was during one late evening, with deadlines looming, when a senior member of my team approached me. She shared a story of her early days in leadership and how she too had grappled with the misconception that leadership meant doing it all. Her words resonated deeply: 'True leadership isn’t about holding tightly to every responsibility but trusting your team to carry the vision forward with you.'

I took her advice to heart. The next day, I called for a team meeting, acknowledged my oversight, and began to delegate essential roles, playing to each member's strengths. The transformation was immediate. Not only did our efficiency improve, but the team's overall spirit was uplifted, with everyone feeling invested and valued.

We successfully completed the project, but more importantly, I learned a lesson about the essence of leadership. It's not about individual prowess but about fostering an environment of collaboration, trust, and mutual respect. That experience, humbling and enlightening, has shaped my approach to leadership ever since.

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