As part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became a C-Suite Executive” I had the pleasure of interviewing Safdar Badami, Managing Director, Al Muqarram Group.
Safdar Badami, is a multitalented and well-qualiﬁed entrepreneur, who is the Managing Director of Al Muqarram Group since 2000. Mr. Badami is the Group Director and is associated with the company since its inception. He is the Trusted Board advisor, conceptualizing and creating revenue opportunities by leveraging champion for signiﬁcant expansion of new branches. He emcees as a key member of the executive team charged with formulating strategic direction and devising business development initiatives consistent with overall structure.
Mr. Badami has received various awards for his entrepreneurship. He is also a speaker and a contributor in various Fora. Besides this Mr. Badami is an eminent individual and is a part of various National and International Bodies. He has strongly built relationships and networks with the industry associations and business groups. In the past, he has worked for globally renowned companies in senior executive roles and is also a veteran of the automobile industry.
He spearheads the organization’s continued growth and contributes his experience in the automotive and construction industries. During his career, Mr. Badami has also worked across various functions to understand the inner workings of the sector.
He has strategically managed revenue generation endeavors, including the developments of the forecasts, divisional pipeline strategies, built and managed a business development team to enhance and reﬁne customer relationships and satisfaction, and met demand for new products successfully with additional resources despite intense competition from large companies. He is strongly focused on environmentally friendly products.
Mr. Safdar Badami has played a major role in strengthening AMG’s position globally. His vision is to potentially connect the developments of these technologies. He is a well-faceted and ambitious leader in the trade and believes in the incessant advancements by providing excellence innovation to the industry.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Al Muqarram Group is a family owned business. Our family has been in business for generations. So coming from an entrepreneurial family inspired me to be a part of it as well. I have been involved with the business since the inception of our company in 1999.
I grew up and studied in Dubai and later moved to the US for further studies. After graduating from the Easter Connecticut State University in 1999, I worked in the US for a decade. I came back to Dubai in 2010 and joined the family business full time.
I had a very successful career in the US. I was involved in multiple tasks and was a director of business intelligence for a company in the US and also had my own side businesses going. In 2010 my father called me to join the business full time. As part of the culture and as part of the ethics I grew up with, when the call comes in from the family member you have to take it. I knew Dubai was a great place for my kids to grow up. The city is a business hub and gives you the opportunity to make money if you are smart and know what needs to be done. Considering all my options at the time, I decided to take the plunge and come back. I was bringing a lot of experience with me from the West. I was able to use that experience in our business and really take it to the next level by bringing the right attitude and policies that seasoned entrepreneurs are not able to bring to the business.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
It has been an interesting journey throughout, so it is a little difficult for me to pick any one incident. Every day there is something new that you learn and something new you achieve. This is an ongoing journey and the responsibility of building a legacy is very important for me which keeps me going!
One of the most important things I was taught was to work hard. My father is a very successful entrepreneur but he started with very humble beginnings and always guided us on the importance of earning your own money in life.
So when I was studying in the US, I took up a job working in the university cafeteria. I earned about $200 a week, working almost 40 hours a week. My studies were always there, but I was taught to earn my own living and I had to work for it.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
“Hard work betrays none.” — Hachiman Hikigaya
I was always taught to be persistent in what I want to achieve and the importance of working hard. This is one of the many life lesson quotes that I always follow.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Being in this region, I have always felt that innovation is something that is lacking in the manufacturing space. People are more dependent on looking outside the location when it come to new technology. This is where Al Muqarram comes into play. We ensure that we are always on an innovative path, bringing in new technology and new systems to better enhance and improve development of the products and internal systems.
In my opinion, the other point that makes us different is our foresight to develop products that have disrupted the market such as the entry of our line of Sealants and Adhesives with an engineered formulation and production facility in Sharjah, UAE, embedded with the latest technology manufacturing machinery
The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?
My advice would be to keep a positive attitude, keep going for it! Life takes its turns but you need to keep your focus. Hard work always prevails! It is also important for them to adopt a service mindset. Being a C-suite executive basically includes service to stakeholders, employees and customers.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
I think the character traits that have been key to success for me are:
- Hard work
- Keeping a positive attitude
- Sincerity and a strong work ethic
I pride myself on working persistently toward our goals as a company and as a team. No matter the challenges any journey brings us, I wake up each morning with determination and get going again, full of confidence and positivity.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a C-Suite executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what a C-Level executive does that is different from the responsibilities of other leaders?
C-level executive is essentially the captain of the ship. He has to strategize and plan ahead and have the ability to foresee any challenges or issues that might come up for the company. We need to ensure that we have a long term perspective on things and making sure that the team has the right leader to make the business successful.
The most important characteristic a C-suite executive must have is a strategic mindset and critical thinking in order to drive business decisions. Being a C-suite executive requires risk taking and driving the company and its team members toward a vision and strategy while maximizing organizational effectiveness and performance. Their role also includes coordinating high-level relationships with other business partners.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive? Can you explain what you mean?
I think people do need to realize that the responsibility that lies with C-level executives is much higher than other managers in the company, which sometimes is not perceived that way. I think that is the most important.
Moreover, most people also believe that CEOs or C-level executives have all the answers. The reality is that they may not always have all the answers, but have the ability to find the answers through their experience, teams, networks, and research.
What are the most common leadership mistakes you have seen C-Suite leaders make when they start leading a new team? What can be done to avoid those errors?
- Risk & Farsightedness: Farsightedness is very important, which I think people sometimes lack. I think it is important for leaders to have the foresight that could be good for the business, and share their vision with their team in a compelling and inclusive way. Over risking themselves as well as the organization could be critical to the success or failure of the organization.
- Thinking Emotionally: A lot of emotional decisions are made by C-level managers. Emotions don’t work well with day to day operations. When you make decisions based on emotions, chances are that your team might not understand the rationale behind it resulting in confusion and uncertainty about the validity of decisions or future road-map plans over time.
- Poor Communication & Giving Feedback: Many leaders fail to inspire their team members or employees due to lack of communication. It is also very important to give feedback to your team members. They are the powerful tools which can help improve the overall company operations.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading From the C-Suite”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Don’t be afraid of failures or taking risks
Risk-taking is all about the courage to face the reality, think practically and act upon. What would happen if you fail? Failing would only help us learn further from our mistakes, and do things differently.
2. Get the right team around you
A leader is as good as his or her team. Getting the right people around you is critical in building a successful company. Moreover, it is important to ensure that the people you choose are not only competent but also share your vision.
3. Learn from others’ mistakes
Mistakes are a good thing. Whether you are the one making them or not. Always look at mistakes, especially from those who have succeeded in business, as important lessons. Analyze what they did wrong so as to learn how to overcome similar challenges if and when you encounter them.
4. Lead by example
Leading a team is all about mentoring. It is about being able to teach and lead your team into a better place.
5. Employee engagement is key
In today’s business world, leadership no longer means just conducting business within a community. The role also requires the creation of a workplace community, which motivates employees to come to work each day and perform to the best of their abilities for the organization they’re passionate to support. Employee engagement is critical to business success.
In your opinion, what are a few ways that executives can help to create a fantastic work culture? Can you share a story or an example?
- Show recognition and appreciation: They must recognize talent and give them the opportunity and the platform to grow and hone their skills. Genuine recognition for employees’ output, talents, and contributions are very important.
- Empower employees through building trust: Encouraging your employees or team members to own their decisions and be accountable for them. This will give them the freedom to learn, grow and act.
- Encourage collaboration and communication: Simple, straightforward, and honest communication helps a lot in building a team’s foundation. It also creates a sense of community within the organization that eventually helps contribute to the company’s success.
How can our readers further follow you online?
You can connect with me on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/safdarbadami/
To know more about Al Muqarram Group, you can visit our website https://muqarram.com/
Or our social media pages as below –