What made you initially pursue a career in consulting?
There were many reasons for me pursuing a career within consultancy, but mainly:
- Organizations spend a lot of money on consultants to help them resolve critical challenges, which they are not able to resolve themselves. Hence, for me to understand typical organizational challenges and learn how consultants facilitate problem solving, identify improvement ideas and implement the same along with the client was a driver.
- Throughout my childhood, school years and career, I have always been curious about solving any kind of problems I was facing. I believe that curiosity made me also pursue a career in consulting, to get exposed to problems and trying to resolve them in order to make things better.
- To constantly experiencing above and new challenges in different organizations, industries and geographical locations.
What attracted you to your current role with Mashreq Bank?
Until I joined Mashreq, the majority of my career had been as an external consultant. I wanted to move into a role as an internal employee, where I not only study the status quo, make recommendations and (sometimes) implement the future state – but also to sustain it and realize the impact on the business.
Also, Mashreq was mature in their Lean journey and had just embarked on the new journey of Digital Transformation to basically digitize all the processes in the bank. This was a new and interesting challenge for me to take on. Although my current role is as an Agile Coach Lead, the Lean principles will always be in the back of my mind and they marry well with the Agile ways of working.
What was your experience transitioning from consulting into an internal role when you left Four Principles (FP)?
The transition went quite smoothly, and I was quickly able to adapt, as my role was more or less like an “internal consultant”.
The advantage I had was the mindset to always challenge the status quo and never accept that “this is how we’ve always been doing this and hence we are doing it like that”. Moreover, a great asset I got from FP which helped me in my new role was the ability to quantify the problems identified and how it was impacting the processes, people and business outcomes. This helps when trying to support your case and convince leaders that a change is needed.
Do you have a favorite FP memory — a case team experience, breakthrough with a client, or story from the office?
There are so many amazing memories during my time with FP – some of them that I shouldn’t mention here! One thing that I will never forget is the bonding and connection we had among ourselves as colleagues. We truly became like a family who were always there for each other, backing each other during difficult times, supporting when needed – at work but also outside of work.
If I were to recall a specific FP memory, then I would definitely mention our trip to Japan. The fact that we got the opportunity to visit a Toyota factory and experience the Lean ways of working from the founder of it was amazing. In terms of client projects, I would mention my last project with FP at ALJ Body & Paint Workshop. The success of this project laid the foundation for the JV and many more projects within ALJ.
What advice would you give to aspiring consultants?
I would give two main pieces of advice:
- Always engage and involve the “doers” in your work and try to experience the problems by being on the shop-floor. The most successful consultants are the ones who are able to facilitate problem-solving and implementation of improvements, by involving and collaborating with the client so that they feel part of the change.
- Be as data-driven as possible when making your conclusions and recommendations (both quantitative and qualitative). I found that is always the best approach to use when justifying your statements and make a case for a change.