Lessons from Leaders: By driving his company to generate $500m in net sales in less than three years Tajawal.com's founder and CEO Muhammad Chbib is at the heart of the online travel booking revolution
What do you enjoy the most about working at your company?
What I most enjoy is the fact that the people I work with are the very people that fit our high performance and trust-based culture. We do not need to “get along” with people who for instance have worked with large organisations, but don’t essentially have any input or value to contribute, or simply put, have personalities that do not fit our culture. In my opinion, it is a big luxury to be able to work in an environment where you define the culture alongside the people you have hired. Just remember, we spend the majority of our non-sleep time at work, so we better make it a worthy and productive place.
What would you say to a new employee about the culture of your organisation?
Our company culture is based on our core values as well as the principle of being entirely performance-driven. We stand for the four core values: be honest, succeed together, be outstanding, and take ownership. Any new employee will be able to strive and grow within our organisation if they live by these values and are eager to learn, grow and be self-motivated.
What are three characteristics that you believe every leader should possess?
The most important thing, I’d say, is that you need to have a very sharp eye for identifying talent. Next would be the ability to process enormously large amounts of information very quickly. And the third is being able to decide when to dive deep into details and when to force yourself to maintain a bird’s eye perspective.
What advice would you give to someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Do not actively try to be a leader and do not think that as a leader you need to make every possible statement or make every conceivable decision. Listen to and learn from others, process, and then define what you believe in and where you want to head to. Be flexible about the ‘how’ and firm about the ‘what’.
What inspires you?
What actually inspires me most is watching people who have been working with me for a while and how they have developed over time. It is an absolute joy and privilege to have been able to influence some of my colleagues’ careers and put them on a higher trajectory. In some cases, I have helped young professionals surface their passion for entrepreneurship. In others, I have pushed people to believe in themselves more.