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7 Questions on Leadership with Sannan Tariq

Name: Sannan Tariq

Title: Head of Supply Chain

Organisation: Entelar Group

A proven leader with 20 years experience in leading supply chain operations, logistics, procurement, and project management initiatives for diversified start-ups, growth businesses and large international corporations. Currently serving as Head of Supply Chain at Entelar Group, New Zealand’s total connection company.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Leading change can be extremely difficult. Getting support from stakeholders is always tougher than the execution of the plan. Acknowledging concerns of people and clearly expressing your vision through effectively story telling can help with bringing people onboard.

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

I have always been ambitious but I never got lost in my ambitions and made sure I performed well in the role I was in. Over the years, I worked with great leaders who were generous with their time and involved me in exciting projects that gave the opportunity to learn from their experience and showcase my abilities.

I have always been open to undertake new exciting opportunities. I made sure that I had a great support system around me who believed in my abilities even more than me. I had support of my family and mentors who told me I will be fine when I doubted my abilities. Performance and patience have served me well.

From my attitude, energy, focus, and performance, I made sure I was the person my bosses turned to when an opportunity arose. I started my career as a warehouse team member, and I gradually worked my way up the ladder over my 20 plus years career.

I currently work as Head of Supply Chain. I have been lucky enough to work across all disciplines of supply chain whether that is procurement, operations, logistics, planning, systems, or production, I have done it all.

Because of my unique ability to relate to both people on the ground level and people in executive team, I am able to come up with solutions that are usually acceptable by everyone across the business. I kept on solving problems and more opportunities kept on coming my way.

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

I wake up quite early to allow myself enough time to meditate and have breakfast. I catch up on local and international news while on public transport to work. At work, I am busy in meetings with internal and external stakeholders but I make a conscious effort to allocate some focus time to work on important strategic and operational plans. I use the evenings to wind down by spending time with family. Before heading to bed, I check my schedule for next day and make sure I am prepared for the day ahead.

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

Value ability more than experience and put people in roles that pushes them creatively in a way they did not know was possible. An intelligent person with the right attitude will be able to survive in challenging and unique environment with right support and guidance.

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 Ride of a Lifetime” by Robert Iger. I found the ideas and stories shared by Robert were quite practical and relevant. The book reinforced the message that I very firmly believe in, which is treating everyone with fairness and empathy. This does not mean that you lower your expectations or convey the message that mistakes don’t matter. It means that you create an environment where people know you will hear them out, that you are emotionally consistent and fair minded, and that they will be given chances for honest mistakes.

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

As a leader, if you don’t do the work, the people around you are going to know, and you will lose their respect fast. You have to be attentive and often attend meetings that, if given the choice, you might not have willingly attended. You have to listen to problems and help find solutions.

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

Treating others with respect is underrated when it comes to negotiating a deal. A little respect goes a long way and the absence of it can be very costly. Whether it is a price discount or credit from a vendor or a major acquisition all deals should be handled with respect. Many times in my career I have been able to get deals done following this principle when others struggled to get it over the line.

A particular example of this is when we were working on an acquisition and we were dealing directly with the owner who had built the business from nothing so the deal was very personal to him. The owner did not appreciate our initial approach and found it disrespectful and aggressive as it was focusing only on financials. I met him at a restaurant for dinner without legal and commercial teams so he was not defensive and we were able to have a candid conversation.

In that meeting, I found out that his concerns were around culture and the brand of the business which he had built over the years, and he wanted to protect these. We were able to include these in the agreement and got the deal done.

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