Lahore School of Economics

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The Challenges of Leadership

Mr. Salim Ghauri, Founder and CEO of NetSol Technologies Ltd. paid a visit to the Lahore School on 3rd April 2018 to deliver a superb session to the MBA program on “The Challenges of Leadership”.


Salim, who has put NetSol on the global map, defined leadership in his own characteristic way by noting that the first thing a leader does was to back away in moments of glory, by giving it to his team, but taking responsibility in times of failure. Secondly, he said that a good leader delegated by disseminating power. He just could not be everywhere, every time. Thirdly, a good leader hired people who were smarter than himself and then got out of their way. He allowed them to try and for this he gave them leeway to take risk and fail. Fourth, a good leader learnt all the time. Salim said if an employee agreed with him three times, he (Salim) would be put off.

Salim said he learnt much at Citibank where on the first day he was given a thick folder which had systems and processes described in detail and he learnt it line by line. This experience, and then later experiences, came in very good stead when he started entrepreneurial projects especially NetSol.

But NetSol is still learning as is Salim. In the beginning there were some 10-15 people and then he heard someone had accepted money for promising another person a job. That person was fired but it forced Salim to think – he needed better systems and structure. The company grew to 40 people and then to 400 but that also meant he needed a very sophisticated HR system. Even after 22 years Salim was not satisfied with HR documentation and found newer loopholes as he covered older ones.

How did he hire people? CVs and profiles were important but far more important is the confidence reflected in their faces, the energy, the positivity, the walking style, the way they shook hands. In the beginning of his career he had to meet foreigners by the poolside. Salim said he was over-dressed but got the contract – not because of his dress but because of the energy and focus showed by him.

It was a fascinating session and Salim got a well-earned round of applause from grateful MBA candidates who hung on his words and felt proud of his services for Pakistan.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4/11/2018 11:28:00 AM,

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