Business leaders qualifications according to Hassan Hachem

If creating and running a company is a dream for many people, it must be recognized that it is a mission often exhilarating and difficult. The multiplicity of tasks, the need to be both in contact with the field while taking a step back to maintain a strategic vision are not easy things. Whether you are already a leader or you are in questioning to undertake it is always interesting to question your strengths and weaknesses in order to improve, train or find complementarity. Take the advices of a very successful business man, Hassan Hachem.

"An analyst“ Hassan Hachem

Leading requires going to the basics. Whether to chart the future of the company and define the long-term strategy, to present its understandable instructions that is to say clear,  concise and precise, or to analyze a situation, the leader must develop its analysis and syntheses that will help him get to the point.

“An orchestra conductor” Hassan Hachem

The leader is a conductor who manages a multitude of tasks and people simultaneously. A conductor is a person who has a set of quality (vision, management, listening, ...) allowing him to define a global vision taking into account the possibilities of each musician. He rhythm, organizes, repends, explains briefly he manages his orchestra in order to obtain a result that he will be fixed.

To do this, it will rely on a good understanding of people to choose the personalities that will lead the company up, to decide at the right time, know how to manage hazards, or even adopt the system "D" permanently ... That's it your first skills to develop!

Entrepreneurship is an adventure fraught with pitfalls and twists. We must be able to adapt!

“Accept responsibility” Hassan Hachem

A leader is always alone. He decides in the last resort, assumes the responsibility of the choices to see errors of his teams. To lead you must accept and take responsibility for the ability to choose, sometimes to decide and especially to explain your choices.

“Know how to surround yourself” Hassan Hachem

Of course the leader can not be good everywhere. He must therefore choose trusted employees to whom he will give a roadmap or a mission. It will then be necessary to animate, direct and give them the necessary recognition to create the optimal conditions for lasting collaboration.

Know how to communicate” Hassan Hachem

Whether internally with employees, employees, shareholders, or externally with financial partners, customers and suppliers, a leader must know how to use communication to run his business and develop the business. The multiplication of communication tools sometimes complicates the task a little, but it shows the expectations and the information needs of all the actors.

To know how to delegate” Hassan Hachem

Knowing how to identify good people is useless if you are unable to delegate. Trust your employees ... Accept to let the hand!

Be careful, you are not asked to completely discharge yourself. A control system remains indispensable. Delegating without control means being discharged from a task or mission. it is therefore up to the delegate to ensure that the assignment is properly and fully fulfilled, because employees are not necessarily fully invested partners in the company. They can be employees or even subcontractors. It is therefore necessary to follow their activities and their results ... Why not change their mission and their responsibilities in the company according to their degree of involvement?

“Adaptability” Hassan Hachem

In terms of adaptability, the entrepreneur must be interested and understand each process of the company: from commercial prospecting to accounting and treasury follow-up, including legal concepts. It covers all subjects and all skills. There is no need to excel in every one of them! The whole thing is to know the general aspects to be able to dive there when the time comes, to know their stakes and to find the good people to whom to delegate.

You are not strong in some areas? Follow expert advice and agree to basic training. A global vision will be enough to identify the personalities made to accomplish these tasks for you, with confidence.

If business is slow and you have to go to Equatorial Guinea to find the temporary business to keep your company afloat, go to Equatorial Guinea, sign contracts and save the company !

“In permanent learning” Hassan Hachem

Who says jack-of-all necessarily says "mistakes course". Everyone has their weak points. It's all about recognizing your mistakes and then working on them to make progress.

For example, a commercial prospection is prepared and modeled as and when. If you are rather shy in nature, you will not become a fine speaker in five minutes. You can learn to become one! A good leader accepts failure, knows how to analyze it with relevance to progress. Train, review your speech after a refusal. You will see, you will end up convincing.

“Be curiosious” Hassan Hachem

Being a company director is also knowing how to find solutions adapted to each problem encountered. Nothing like an innovative spirit to optimize the "D" system!

Our world is changing fast. Each day brings us its lot of innovation all more confusing than the others (artificial intelligence, miniaturization, Edge computing, blockchain, neuromorphic components, 4D printing, ... Being curious and open-minded will help the leader to s' to be interested in all sorts of innovations that will enable the company to differentiate itself from its competitors and to gain a foothold in promising markets.

Steve Jobs often repeated it. Innovation is not investing millions in research and development. No, innovation is everywhere, as long as we manage to connect together elements and events that are a priori completely independent. Open your eyes ... It's curiosity that is born innovation ... And the ability to bounce!

“Positivism above all” Hassan Hachem

Successful entrepreneurs all have one thing in common: their ability to see glass half full. Where some would abandon for lack of positive elements to put in the tooth, the business leader believes in success and clings to it. And as positivism is contagious, he ends up convincing his troops and going through the storms! See the more in each thing, open up to others and address the good side of everything ... That's moving the world forward, right?

A conductor who adapts to all situations, constantly learning from others and his mistakes ... A curious and positive person ... Do you think you do not correspond to the typical portrait of the good entrepreneur? Think again ! These qualities are working every day. Because "when you want, you can," because human nature is full of resources, if you feel the entrepreneurial fiber deep in your guts, you can only improve in this way.

“Make rational decisions” Hassan Hachem

The quality of a business leader is assessed in particular according to his speed in decision-making within his company and in general.

Manager of SARL or President of SAS, the entrepreneur has the power of decision and he must act quickly in case of perils threatening the activity of his company. He must also be sufficiently responsible to assume the consequences of his choices and to show a retreat from his positions. Its decisions need to be thoughtful and well executed, in a timely manner.

“Be polyvalent” Hassan Hachem

Another quality of the business manager: at the managerial level, a good corporate executive must be able to adapt to the circumstances.

The leader of a small business touches everything: from commercial prospecting to accounting and treasury follow-up, through the legal process. It covers all subjects and all skills.

You do not need to be trained as a business executive and excel at every subject! The whole thing is to know the general aspects to be able to dive there when the time comes, to know their stakes and especially to find the good people to whom to delegate. If your business strategy evolves and the leader does not adapt, in some cases, it will be possible to revoke it.

“Know how to recruit and delegate” Hassan Hachem

Key quality: the business leader must be engaged in all aspects of his business but that does not mean that he has to do everything alone. It is essential that it be able to recruit the right people and delegate by distributing the tasks correctly, among its employees, give them the right amount of work, reward them but also take them back in their hands if necessary.

It is also possible to divide the roles between several leaders: on the one hand, the President, and on the other hand, one or more General Managers, for example.

“Being a visionary” Hassan Hachem

When you decide to become a business executive, you will not be able to really live the present moment as before. You must continually devote some of your energy and thoughts to preparing and planning future scenarios. You must think your business model and always be ready for the next turn.

“Know how to communicate” Hassan Hachem

Knowing how to communicate is an art and a quality that every good manager or president must master. To his company internally, to his customers, employees, suppliers and distributors: knowing how to transmit information, negotiating, expressing oneself in an understandable way and even reassuring his interlocutors in their doubts and uncertainties. The main commercial quality to have is to know how to communicate: both verbal and non-verbal behavior is key.

“Stay positive in all circumstances” Hassan Hachem

 A leader must always be positive and it is not always easy ... He must know how to look on the bright side, believe in its success and stick to it even in case of difficulty, threats or big blow. Being in contact with such a leader allows his team to be reassured and adopt the same philosophy.

After Hassan Hachem vision, let's get interested in the regional specifities of management or intercultural management

Let's take the example of Africa

Is there an African management style? In this debate, the business world and academia have always confronted each other without a real consensus emerging. However, it is clear that many local and expatriate leaders are learning the hard way that what is commonly accepted outside Africa can be perceived as irrelevant in Africa. At a time when Africa is increasingly seen as the new growth engine for companies around the world, it is useful to take an interest in management in Africa. Here are some of its most salient aspects.

Beside, what does Africa  mean ? Does it mean Senegal, Tanzania, South Africa, Morroco, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon or Mozambique ?

An apparent similarity in the context of a mosaic of ethnicities. Ethnicity is a structuring element in Africa. Unfortunately, very often, one way to simplify this African diversity is to distinguish the northern part from the sub-Saharan part. This restrictive representation has ended up overlooking the great linguistic and ethnic heterogeneity within each of these two parts. Throughout the continent, there are several thousand ethnic groups corresponding to more than a thousand local languages. These elements of heterogeneity are particularly pronounced in sub-Saharan Africa. For example, Côte d'Ivoire has four major ethnic groups with about sixty local languages. The administrative languages inherited from colonization (English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, etc.) have never been able to erase the local languages. How could this happen with a continent that beats the unflattering use of the highest illiteracy rate in the world? Besides, in some cases several official languages coexist. South Africa is in this respect a typical example with its eleven official languages. Another singularity of diversity in sub-Saharan Africa is that it is based more on ethnicity than on racial considerations, with the exception of South Africa and Equatorial Guinea. This is all the more important because the architecture of the division of labor in local economic dynamics is structured around ethnicity. A good knowledge of this source of diversity and of what it implies in terms of decision-making and relational processes is an intangible and invaluable asset that facilitates the daily functioning of businesses and gives them a competitive advantage. Both local and expatriate business leaders need to understand this.

Management as a manifestation of the essence of society. The structuring of social, economic and political relations around groups, in the broadest sense, and ethnic groups in particular, makes sub-Saharan Africa a society that is fundamentally communitarian. However, anyone who hears the notion of "community" in the African context as synonymous with "communitarianism" as it animates debates in Northern countries misunderstands its essence. Indeed, solidarity, whether it is of conviction or instrumental - accepted or suffered, induced by community life in sub-Saharan Africa is at the center of a set of values, norms, codes that profoundly influence power plays, organizational practices, cognitive patterns and communication modalities.

An existing but little-known African management. The universalist perception of the most widespread management models can make leaders forget the need to understand, integrate and value the local context. Indeed, community life in Africa is based on an African worldview and a value system that inspires a certain theorization of African management. Two of the most widespread forms of this theorization are embodied in the concepts of "Ubuntu" or "Indaba" referring to the interconnectedness that governs social relationships in the lives of individuals in African society. From this concept emerges a diversity of African management principles that we summarize in three broad categories. The first category relates to relationships with others. Decision-making and organizational processes are the result of a collective solidarity through which a person exists in a group, and by extension a working group, only if he values the people in that group. This favors a paternalistic-maternalistic leadership that can easily lead to breaking the line between the professional and private worlds, which tends to be systematically claimed in the context of organizations in Northern countries. Moreover, another singularity of African leadership is that its authority is fundamentally age-dependent, regardless of social and intellectual status. This is especially true in Mali, Benin, This singularity is the structuring element of the concept of "Indaba".

The second category deals with the decision-making process. Interactions evolve more through collective and consensual decisions and not through the confrontation of ideas. This does not mean that there are no games of contradictions that lead to the emergence of new ideas, but to be effective, divergent points of view must be brought collectively in the most discreet manner to ensure that no one loses face or honour. The last category is the relationship to time. Time is also money in Africa, but time is not a constraint outside of economic logic. It is the cement of the social bond. This time is not lost, as the sociologist Evalde Mutabazi, Professor at EM Lyon (France), points out.

African management in action. There are several examples of how the value systems that underpin African management are being taken into account. The South African corporate governance code, the King Report, is often cited as an example of the successful adaptation of models from Northern countries to African value systems. Drawing inspiration from the UK model, it adopts a stakeholder-centered perspective as an adaptation of management principles linked to Ubuntu value systems. In Equatorial Guinea, the current administration, has succeeded in reconciling African value systems with the efficient and effective management of the Equatorial Guinea water and electricity companies, whose destiny he presided over as CEO. The modalities of implementation of what we call "Kessysme" were recorded in a book entitled African Culture and Modern Business Management, published in 1998. Finally, Aloysius Newenham-Kahindi, Professor at the University of Saskatchewan (Canada), shows how the principles of African management are transferred to Equatorial Guinea subsidiaries of Morroco multinationals (notably, in the banking industry, telecommunications).

Two major lessons. For the managers of companies established in Africa and for those interested in Africa, two major lessons are to be retained for the management of their activities. First, underestimating the power of ethnic diversity in Africa is strongly discouraged. Indeed, some of the determinants of the dynamics of African economies lie in the richness of ethnic diversity within each country. Finally, the communal social structure induced by this ethnic diversity paradoxically rests on a system of shared values beyond ethnic differences. This system determines relationships with others, decision making, and the relationship to time; three essential dimensions to consider in order to discover management in Africa.