5 Projects and 5 Stories – Let’s Learn

Hi, Yup that’s me up there in my how are you doing, what’s up pose.

Maybe you are having a hard day at work and want a diversion, let me dial you in with some fun; today I read that it usually takes 10 – 15 minutes for people to go through the articles on Linkedin so one should limit the length of the writeup so I will be brief.

I thought of sharing some seriously interesting adventures I’ve had and sort of been having for the past 18 months. The industry I so romantically adore seemed to go nowhere fo the time being. I love mobile phones and the technology that accompanies it but somehow “Humpty Dumpty is about to have a great fall” and I have no idea what would I do when the that happens.

Anyway, I took the route of Dr. Frankestein and have been experimenting with consulting and boy this has been fun. I became a butterfly from a cocoon hanging on a branch as I had been an introvert for too long.

So I guess 3 minutes of reading are over and let me get to the point. During the course of the past 18 months, I have had several consulting projects but specifically, I learned 5 valuable leadership lessons in situations where there have been clear leadership failures. Here are a list and a short description of the fun rides I had and would love to receive your feedback if anything I mention resonates with your experiences.

A note of caution please, the owners of all these companies that I had consulted had categorically committed to their absolute love and respect for me at the onset and me being me had accepted that; once in the role, the dominoes started to trip. Consulting is a dangerous game if you are not associated with one of the big firms; you might know your stuff very well but without a cushion of a strong Firm behind you, once is always exposed to the elements. So here you go:

  1. Ghost Town: I was tasked to restructure a struggling gaming company and the initial briefing had been enthusiastic, to say the least. Then the “Big Boss” disappeared throwing the whole project in a quandary and getting me to pick up the pieces through his team members who were equally lost. The boss gentleman did appear finally and showed his annoyance to his steam members but by then the project had already gone to dogs, the company ended up in bankruptcy. Lesson: If a leader has been tasked to lead then he should take up the responsibility and see the progress relentlessly. A disappearing act is not in the benefit of anyone.
  2. Now You See Me Now You Don’t: A once upon a time great logistic company trying to recreate the glory of yester years. The owner loved throwing smoke bombs by creating confusion across the board. He used to agree on projects and the next minute would negate his own words. He also loved creating bad blood among his own team members and would enjoy the scene from the sidelines, all the time comforting both parties that he is on their side. He wouldn’t sign or agree on any timelines and would blame everyone in the team for his failures. Lesson: Create clarity in your mind only then the team would follow suit; also the smoke bombs are more of an impediment for your organization than for the poor team members you are trying to confuse.
  3. Long Distance Romance: A Regional I.T Organization with an intention to diversify into Mobility and Gaming. The owner would spend a few days in Dubai and the rest of his time in his home country. He also had serious thoughts at a time to abandon his whole business and start a new online stream. He would shuttle between thoughts and strategies finally abandoning all the new plans and laying off most of his staff in the process. His staff at both locations ended up paying the price of his indecision.Lesson: As Jac Ma of Ali Baba said, if you have 6 rabbits concentrate on catching just one. It’s better to focus on a single target than to go after two moving ones, in the end, a lot of people suffered.
  4. Maniac Inc: Seriously, the gentleman had serious psychological issues where he thought that the world was out there to get him. He would doubt every intention of his employees, his customers, his suppliers and even his family members. His state had resulted from a traumatic experience a few years ago where he was confined to a “strange” country for a few years. It was quite scary towards the end dealing with this individual and thank God I was able to escape without any issues. He would blatantly insult people and then deny having done so. Lesson: Be careful what you select as a project and your due diligence process should be water tight. As for people in the situation, it’s better for them to get a complete treatment before getting into the business.
  5. Mr. Know it All: A Major distributor of gaming products controlling a chunk of the Middle East Market; my task was to modernize the business and establish an outlook matching the needs of today’s requirements. This was an old school gentleman who had even refused the fact that the days of CD’s are coming to a closure and he should move towards digital. His team members dared not negate any of his statement and were in total awe in his presence. His orders were an ordinance written on stone and he loved throwing diatribes towards his competitors with regular poisonous overtones in the presence of his whole team. Lesson: You cannot teach someone who refuses to learn. It was obvious that this gentleman was driving his company straight to the wall and in no time his established company would be thrown in the dustbin of history but no one dared speak up. If you want to win you must be willing to listen.

Any resemblance to a situation or individual reading this post is completely incidental. Anyhow, if you are serious about consulting then get a contract done by a lawyer that is valid in a court of law. Do not and I repeat “DO NOT START A PROJECT WITHOUT SIGNING THE CONTRACT”.

Take Care, you are more than welcome to be in touch with me for any suggestions or advice. I would love to receive your feedback as well.

Kazi Najib Ashraf is a Telecoms and Management Blogger. He can be contacted at kazi,najib@playtorium.com. He also contributes regularly at www.handelot.com, a top mobility trading website, and marketplace.



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