What CEOs Do In A Pandemic

The truth is in the journey, and mine has just begun…join me as I share my personal and professional story, uncut: <Step zero>

Welcome to the first of Dara’s Deliberations, where I, Arash Dara, give you my short 3–5-minute considerations, on top-of-mind items, that I observe in my day to day. That is, the day to day of a career long management consultant, turned CEO of a medium sized family conglomerate. Quite the transition, I know.

Lots of thoughts? Well some. Controversial? To some. Worth a read? Quite probably.

I spent over a decade as a strategic management consultant with Accenture, firstly out of the UK and then the UAE, followed by a short stint at McKinsey where I headed their organization solutions practice in the Middle East. I was having a wonderful time building a team and delivering interesting projects, when POW, literally out of nowhere I was approached to lead the Holding of a family owned conglomerate.

Enough of me telling managers, c-suites, ministers and the likes what they ought to do, time for me to give it a try myself and see how I could hold my own in the real world. 10 months in and I have to say it has been one heck of a journey so far.

Figuring out how to move from leading small teams of 5 to 15 to a group of almost 200 people, shifting from doing focused projects for clients to overseeing 6 fully owned subsidiaries and a number of affiliates, all in wildly differing industries. Moving away from leading practice, to well, not leading practice.

Step zero has been to look at what we have in place, and set us on the path to what we call ‘corporatization’, that is, how can we adopt governance, processes and ways of working to be a successful corporate with the right management, culture, measures, meritocracy and associated performance and rewards.

Add the extra spice that we are not about conserving our position, but want to grow, and grow rapidly (which is why in my 10 months here I have overseen the creation of a few new subsidiaries too).

And whilst we are at it, might as well add a global pandemic just to make sure the challenge is one worthy of writing about.

I do not by any means or stretch of the imagination claim victory or success, or in fact claim that I know what on earth I am doing. Which brings me back to the point of my blog.

I am here to share what I see, and to share how I am handling it. Think of it as partly me doing it for my own personal therapeutic reasons and getting things off my chest. Think of it as you the readers, and I the narrator, joining hands in a learning journey together. Perhaps you are on a similar journey or know of someone who is. Perhaps you are already a very well-established leader who knows what they are doing and are enjoying someone else’s struggle or success in figuring it out. Or maybe you are a management consultant and would find it interesting to see what a potential client (and ex colleague) is thinking. You could be an employee who is hereby getting never-been-given-before access to the mind of a leader.

You may be inspired, or you may be perpetually terrified that such a person is leading a group of companies. If the latter, do not worry, the one thing I DO KNOW for sure is I have a strong team around me, and if nothing else, they should be able to get us to where we need.

So, with that, I invite you to join me on this journey of learning and self-reflection. #StayTuned #DarasDeliberations #quickread #covid #CEOtalks

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The official handle for the current Group CEO of Lootah Holding Pvt Ltd. Dubai. | “Hold the vision, trust the process.”

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Arash Dara

Arash Dara

The official handle for the current Group CEO of Lootah Holding Pvt Ltd. Dubai. | “Hold the vision, trust the process.”

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