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7 Questions with Rashad Noah Ismayilov
7 Questions with Rashad Noah Ismayilov

Name: Rashad Noah Ismayilov

Current title: Commercial Finance Engineer

Current organisation: Kinetic Consulting

Experienced finance and business professional with 11 years of experience at International Strategic Consulting and Consumer Goods firms diverse experience at leading companies in Turkey, Central Asia and Caucasus markets. Holds Executive MBA degree from Koç University & CEIBS.

7 Questions with Rashad Noah Ismayilov

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?

I strongly believe true leaders are the ones that lead the organization with leadership by hearth rather than leadership by book. If you have such a character then the most challenging part is during the adaptation cycle. Because one one hand you try to behave like a fully open book person which frustrates the organization as they understand the capacity gap. When you put more effort on training and coaching you naturally start building trust. When organizations understand the trust starts at peak, they mostly solve the most challenging part.

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

I voluntarily left my expatriate role at Procter&Gamble as Corporate Finance Manager of Turkey and Caucasus Organization in 2015. I established a consulting company called after Nar&Co and started consulting SME organizations in Turkey and Caucasus markets. I convinced the Kinetic Consulting leadership team and became their partner in the Turkey and Caucasus region. We were doing pretty well but a military coup in Turkey and 100% devaluation in Azerbaijan squeezed the economy hard and all the projects we had put on hold and as a result I bankrupted. But the experience I got was priceless. After my son Mikael gave birth in Boston we were back home and I returned back to corporate. The entrepreneur experience and spirit I had let me become a leader of SME.

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

I am a very hard working person. I usually go to bed very late and a few hours of sleep is enough for me. I am used to that. I feel like I waste my time while sleeping. I start my day with a gym, drink a lot of water, eat less and get shower twice a day and play a minimum of 5 chess games before I go to sleep.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

Patience. This is very hard to manage when you are an energized person. Plus deadlines and organization capacity gap put extra stress while delivering the result as you want. What I have learned recently is that you need to forget perfectionism. This consumes energy and it's just a waste.

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?

Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. That book helped me to prioritize the big rocks in my life and helped me to understand the vulnerability of time.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?

Feedback, Coaching, Mentoring. If those 3 things do not become a work style that is very hard to implement.

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

When I was assigned as Finance Director of a big organization, I started to run one-to-one meetings with each single subordinate. I proudly built a very strong trustable and transparent relationship with the organization and naturally Scorpion`s song of "Wind of Change" became our anthem. Once a new hire lady came and declared that she got an offer and wanted to leave. The person that hired her was my groupmate from University. I tried to understand what is better for your career. After the short research we ran together I was also convinced that change is good for her and let her go. But HR did not let her go because she signed a paper committing to complete a minimum 2 years of service otherwise she was supposed to pay a fine of nearly one year salary. This was the regulation approved by the board and the board argument was providing two weeks of training. After talking with the legal department we witnessed that regulation was fully illegal and it is against the labor act as this limits human rights. After a big discussion the board did not reclaim the regulation and I covered the financial liability personally to defense rights of my subordinates. This means a lot to me.

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