By Thomas Shambler
For FMS Tech CEO Bassam Alkasser, leadership is about taking care of your team and controlling your ego
What's the story behind your business?
It started when I was providing ICT services to one of the leading Oil and Gas companies 15 years ago. One of the projects I was involved in was a reflection on 'how to change driver behaviour' using technologies like in-vehicle monitoring systems. I loved this idea and started focusing on developing applications specifically for road safety. There is nothing more meaningful for me than developing solutions to stop injuries, violations or fatalities due to reckless or bad driving habits.
If all goes well, where do you see it going in the next five years? The next decade?
Within five years: We expect our company value to grow up to US$50+ million and to get more than 200,000 vehicles in our cloud. The company will expand to cover all verticals across different parts of the world as we are developing region-specific solutions for European and Asian Markets. For the next decade, we intend to go public and get our company listed on the stock markets.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your organisation?
We continually empower our staff and are open to any new ideas and suggestions. Our thought process is ongoing, and we do not set any limitations to what our team can or cannot implement or introduce.
If you were to explain your job to an 8-year-old in three sentences, what would you say?
My job is like coaching a soccer team. It involves building the team (sometimes from a very young age), training them; and then looking for opportunities in the field with them. Hopefully, I lead them to success.
[Image: Getty Images]
What is the most important/biggest decision you've ever had to make for your company?
Separation from my previous partners and restructuring the organisation to focus on a single business/technology.
What's one mistake that leaders make more frequently than others?
Overconfidence. Not listening to others and being distant from reality.
What's your greatest fear in business?
The big fish. The multinational organisations that go into regional markets and present intense competition. We always consider these competitors, and it helps us stay on top of our game.
What is your most prized possession?
Quote to live your life by?
There is always someone who is bigger and stronger than you, don’t let your ego separate you from reality and real life.
If you could give an old boss one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t let your ego drive your decision making and to value your team’s contributions to your success.
[Image: Getty Images]
If something were to happen to your business, what would be your backup plan?
Become a management/leadership skills consultant.
What did you want to be growing up?
A pilot, it’s never too late to realise this dream!
How do you manage a large company and still find time for things like family?
It is a difficult question. I am not a routine-driven person. I tend to give my full energy to the one thing that needs my attention most. Usually, that's the company.
How do you relax and switch off from the office?
I try my best to spend time with my kids, which is what helps me to relax the most.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Wake at around 6:30 am, exercise for half an hour, have a light breakfast, and go to work for 8-10 hours. Then it's time to come back home for dinner with my family, sit with my kids and potentially go out to meet some friends – if I have any time left, that is.
Do you have any daily rituals that help prepare you for the day?
I start each day with five-ten minutes of silence to collect my thoughts.
If you were to step outside the office and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning a million dirhams, what would you do?
Ii will give 30 percent to needy family members and others, 10 percent to our R&D department, 10 percent would go towards a brand new car. Then I would take the remaining 50 percent and put it towards my kids' education.
Finish this sentence, "the world would be a better place if only…."
We put our differences on the side and focus on our common values that we share!