How I got here…

Re­gional man­ager and so­lu­tions ar­chi­tect, MEA & Turkey, Poly­com

Gulf Business - - CONTENTS -

Ahmed Sousa Re­gional man­ager and so­lu­tions ar­chi­tect, MEA & Turkey, Poly­com

Ed­u­ca­tion

Ed­u­ca­tion is a con­tin­u­ous jour­ney. Af­ter my bach­e­lor’s de­gree in elec­tron­ics and communications from Cairo Univer­sity in Egypt, I took my MBA in IT management from Capella Univer­sity in the US, which was a great way to ex­plore both the tech­ni­cal and busi­ness side of the in­dus­try. Through­out my ca­reer I have been able to gather lots of knowl­edge from var­i­ous train­ing pro­grammes in dif­fer­ent for­mats such as lec­tures, boot camps and work­shops. Those train­ings schemes were not only fo­cus­ing on de­vel­op­ing my tech­ni­cal skills but also my soft skills, which is equally im­por­tant for de­vel­op­ing my ca­reer.

ap­proacH

Lead­er­ship is an art and I love it. Through­out my ca­reer I have de­vel­oped a pos­i­tive ap­proach that mo­ti­vates my team mem­bers and drives them to al­ways be in­no­va­tive. That ap­proach shifts the at­ten­tion from the ‘prob­lem’ to the ‘solution’, which is al­ways re­quired for any suc­cess­ful or­gan­i­sa­tion. Lead­ing a team across a large ge­og­ra­phy in the Mid­dle East and Africa re­gion dur­ing my ca­reer is an en­rich­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and al­ways in­ter­est­ing with dif­fer­ent cul­tures. Spend­ing time to un­der­stand those cul­tures is the best way to re­move any bar­ri­ers.

My s tart

Some 20 years ago I started my ca­reer in the uni­fied com­mu­ni­ca­tion (UC) in­dus­try. At that time UC was just start­ing as an in­dus­try. My fo­cus was around voice, video and con­tent com­mu­ni­ca­tion and how that can boost work­force pro­duc­tiv­ity. It was es­sen­tial to learn skills in both net­work­ing and au­dio-vis­ual fields. Along the jour­ney there was a lot to learn and ex­pe­ri­ence. From the start, my ca­reer has been al­ways cus­tomer-cen­tric, with steps from sup­port to pre­sales to lead­ing an en­thu­si­as­tic solution ar­chi­tect team in my cur­rent role at Poly­com.

HigHs and lows

Highs and lows are part of any ca­reer jour­ney. I ex­pe­ri­enced lows when the re­sults didn’t come af­ter putting in all the right ef­fort. I re­alised later that ef­fort does pay off, but not al­ways right away. Pa­tience and con­fi­dence in what you are do­ing is im­por­tant to avoid the im­pact of those lows. I have ex­pe­ri­enced highs as well when my work is under con­trol. Dur­ing that time, I had the op­por­tu­nity to plan bet­ter and take more in­formed de­ci­sions. Time management helps to stay in con­trol and keep the highs go­ing.

dos and don’ts

Pro­gress­ing in a ca­reer comes through pa­tience and per­sis­tence. Through ex­pe­ri­ence, I learned that rush­ing to con­clu­sions could be a fa­tal mis­take. I do spend time un­der­stand­ing and analysing sit­u­a­tions, as it is key to mak­ing the right de­ci­sion. Also, time management skills are very im­por­tant to be suc­cess­ful. Do­ing what we like can be tempt­ing but equal­ity dan­ger­ous. I do give pri­or­ity to im­por­tant and crit­i­cal tasks and I ap­ply the 80/20 rule where 80 per cent of my out­comes come from 20 per cent of my in­puts. So fo­cus­ing on the 20 per cent is key for suc­cess.

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