On any given day of the week, I find myself dealing with a handful of instances where members of my team exhibit a certain measure of stubbornness, determination and offer persuasive arguments that lead to brilliant work being executed. It’s not an easy thing to be surrounded by strong-minded and independent thinkers, but when it comes to building a team that exemplifies excellence and resilience, this is the price one must pay. While some leaders have a preference for teammates who simply execute their vision with no questions asked, I’ve found that teams built with Omnipreneurship’s rule of “The Greatest Among You” in mind are far more likely to succeed than a group of ‘yes’ people. How important is this rule? It’s crucial. Again and again, throughout my years of leadership, I have learned that even one high-quality person in the right role can make a huge difference when it comes to crossing finish lines.
Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of watching certain members of my teams in our Earning and Giving activities as well as during my time in government, turnaround and transform their organisations through innovative thinking, diligence and positive energy that is always flowing in the direction of our collective goals and vision. When seeking the Greatest Among You, there are certain characteristics and traits that one must always be on the lookout for.
In my book Omnipreneurship, I define this rule by saying, “The greatest among you” is a phrase you can find in all Holy Books. It’s a golden rule that holds whether you are running a big organization or a country, or just making friends with people. You don’t want to surround yourself with people who simply flatter you, a danger that escalates as you achieve more in your life and work. Sooner or later in your career, you will probably have to lead a team. So how do you avoid people who bring you, “down and instead find the best talent? How do you make them want to join you, and manage them in a way that challenges them to be their most extraordinary selves? How do you help bring them into your cycle of giving, earning, and sustaining?”
When interviewing people, I look for individuals who exhibit the values of Omnipreneurship such as integrity, passion, respect, forward thinking, and teamwork. I try to identify not only knowledge and skills but also the underlying ethics and integrity of a potential teammate because without those qualities as a foundation, no amount of expertise can compensate for that. I use the lens of Omnipreneurship’s Ten Golden Rules to understand their willingness to collaborate, to think about the “Next Big Thing”, “Delight the Stakeholder” and take big calculated risks.
At Al-Dabbagh Group and Stars Foundation, we have developed a rigorous framework for unearthing those qualities to identify our future leaders; tools that are available for reference and use in the book. As a fervent believer in bringing on people who are smarter, stronger and more capable than my existing team and myself, I have found that this is one of the likeliest paths to success. As Robert G. Ingersoll once said, “We rise by lifting others.”
To the Greatest Among Us!
Amr Al-Dabbagh is CEO of the Al-Dabbagh Group, which operates 62 companies in 60 countries employing over 15,000 men and women around the world. Follow him on Twitter at @theomnipreneur. For more information on The Greatest Among You and the other components of Omnipreneurship, you can buy the book, Omnipreneurship, now available for Kindle and in hardback on Amazon.