Ahmad Farrakh Manzoor is Head of Siemens Smart Infrastructure - Regional Solutions and Services, for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. He is a long-time veteran of the company, with almost 20 years’ experience, which has informed his approach to his current role.
“I started with Siemens in 2001 as a field engineer,” says Manzoor. “It was an experience that gave me an insight into how value is created for customers - with the twist of a screwdriver. It’s in the field that real value is added for our customers. From there I became a project manager and then I went into sales before heading into business unit management. I came into my current department around 2009 and now I'm Head of Siemens Smart Infrastructure - Regional Solutions and Services, for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.”
In the ongoing pandemic, having in place the right culture is even more essential, Manzoor explains. “These challenging times are putting a lot of pressure on leaders and on team members. There needs to be a bigger focus on the emotional wellbeing of people who are locked down in their areas. How do you keep people productive in situations where they have limited freedom? This is an immense change of landscape and an urgent subject to tackle in terms of running a business. The pandemic has had a big impact on how I approach leadership.”
“I like to keep it very informal,” says Manzoor of the culture he promotes. “We have a good mix of professionalism and having fun in the evenings. We treat it like a family - I always tell my team members that I spend more time with them than with my actual family! That’s how I treat them and how I like them to treat each other. That’s the culture I like to inculcate in my team, but we do also have that in the wider company as well.”
Manzoor’s family approach again informs how he deals with issues of morale at the current time. “You have to empathise, you have to understand what they’re going through - because you’re also going through the same thing. This culture of togetherness and empathy helps a lot in this environment, and that’s why we as a company are better equipped to adapt to this new world.“
Manzoor believes his team is in a good place as the new normal beds in. “Since we are a very large company, we were already digitally enabled and having plenty of remote meetings, even before COVID-19. We’re pretty used to that - it’s just a question of extending it into people’s homes - so it does not affect us too much. That applies to a lot of our customers as well, and as the situation changes, we're keeping it together. I think we'll come out of this stronger.”