Leadership for economic impact

November 27, 2022

Good leadership determines the future of a company

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akistan needs its leaders to shine. I mean those positively impacting businesses in Pakistan and enabling foreign investments for the country’s progress, thus creating employment opportunities for many. They are enablers of prosperity and ambassadors of the country on international platforms. How their leadership is a catalyst for so much good and betterment in Pakistan is the only question that needs answering. For better understanding we will cruise through a very interesting conversation with such a leader.

Leadership: the very term has been overhauled in the last couple of years, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Isolated islands of excellence were challenged and geographical boundaries became meaningless. The workforce became skill-strong and attendance got translated into online accessibility. Deliverables were quantifiable through profit margins and achievement of specific goals rather than work hours spent. Appraisals had to be reframed. This translated to adjustments of portfolios and privileges.

The world is, at present, going through a recalibration, and to be honest, we do not know which paradigm will be the most successful one. Pakistan will need the very best leaders who can uplift, enhance and drive the industry in an increasingly competitive world. These will be the ‘Avengers‘, the leaders who will place Pakistan prominently on the global economic map with pride and resilience.

Digitisation and technology, of course, will be pivotal in all fields and technical prowess a decisive advantage. Therefore, my first choice was to meet up with Saquib Ahmad, the country managing director at SAP-Pakistan, and hear him talk about his vision and scope of not only the company but also the essential Vision Pakistan.

Saquib Ahmad joined SAP-Pakistan in 2017. Before joining the SAP, he was the sales and business development director at Oracle-Pakistan and Afghanistan. Previously, he was the country director for Pakistan and Afghanistan for Comptel. He began his career with Nokia-Siemens, where he had a variety of roles, including as sales director for Middle East.

Saquib Ahmed is a graduate from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, where he majored in telecommunications and electronics.

The world is, at present, going through a recalibration, and to be honest, we do not know which paradigm will be the most successful one. Pakistan will need the very best leaders who can uplift, enhance and drive the industry in an increasingly competitive world.

He brought along intelligent networks and introduced those to the telecommunications industry. Recruits were quickly set in, and the company was ready to roll out. Training recruits for the job was a part of the package. Soon he was in charge of professional development for his team. Cohort after cohort were trained, with 50 percent of them leaving for greener pastures.

Saquib Ahmed believes in testing himself endlessly. He soon felt that the company was ready for new leadership. He believes that a good leader ensures perfect momentum for the company by grooming the right successor model. The company must come before personal interest and ego. The hallmark of leadership is not to have the company collapse by a change but to keep growing.

Saquib Ahmed‘s reason for selecting the SAP was their tagline; Empowering People to Transform Their Lives; it kind of mirrored his personal philosophy. He says loyalty to a brand should not be confused with loyalty to a project. He feels that growth has to remain integral and that what one does today must be meaningful to many in the future. Does he consider old ideas per se to be a challenge? He says, “We cannot always be up against old ideas; but yes, our willingness to accommodate and mentor the new is a defining strength. The wisdom is no longer in our heads; it’s mostly transferred to the machines, and yes, the new generation is better at technology.”

Technology, he says has dignified many new areas of work that were incomprehensible for the previous generation, like culinary or anime. Digitisation has ensured independence for senior citizens and home-bound natives with online facilities and processes. Now, everyone who has a screen is a customer.

He also elaborates on Pakistan’s strengths. Pakistan may not have oil or the latest technology, but it does have a young population that is smart and willing to learn. Pakistan’s youth, he believes, are its biggest asset. Given the right training and grooming and a strong Vision Pakistan, they will become an expanding resource for welfare and produce a bigger landscape of opportunities in a rapidly shrinking world.

He strongly believes that commitment to one’s country needs to be the defining feature of one’s character.

Saquib Ahmed‘s commitment to work is commendable. He has great clarity of thought and a strong commitment to his motherland. He is striving to give back and make a difference in the lives of many young businessmen, entrepreneurs and future leaders.

The author is a writer and publicist based in Karachi. Email: kzk1972gmail.com Twitter: KhurramZiaKhan

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