CEO Middle-East Interview
Daousser Chennoufi, CEO & Principal of Draw Link Group
What’s the story behind your business?
My business is simply reflecting my vision in life, I invested everything into it it’s a mix between personal and professional satisfaction, it tells a story of having an honourable and fascinated goal in life, the sense of the possible, the sense of the steps, the perseverance, the spirit of the risks, the correct calculations and the distant views. My business is my passion.
If all goes well, where do you see it going in the next five years? The next decade?
Expanding the business, raising its profile and building a formidable reputation of Draw Link in Africa and Europe.
What’s the single biggest challenge facing your industry today?
Accommodating a suitable budget to fulfil a client’s needs.
Where do great ideas come from in your organisation?
Team synergy and creativity.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your organisation?
At Draw Link we focus on teamwork and creative brainstorming. Team members are also encouraged to keep themselves updated on industry news and trends.
What is the most important in your company – its mission, core values or vision?
The Vision, and I would add the alignment because that’s what make the vision come true, all the team have to be aligned with the company vision
What’s your decision-making process?
We follow a very stringent process. We identify the problem, do research and collect information, plan and then choose a solution. Once the solution has been implemented, we measure results and prepare feedback, if any.
Do you believe social networking has impacted your organisation or yourself, personally? How has it done so?
Yes 100%, social networking helps us in many ways, we are able to gain valuable customer insight, increase our brand awareness, loyalty and also generate leads. I believe it’s a good way to communicate and promote the brand name.
What do you enjoy the most about working at your company?
The absence of a daily routine since every project is different, each with its own set of challenges that push us to move forward and learn.
Can you name a person who has had an impact on you as a leader? Perhaps someone who has been a mentor to you? Why/how did this person impact your life?
Habib Bourguiba, first president of Tunisia and who played a major role in obtaining the independence from France in 1956, he was a great leader, a visionary and a person who stayed focused despite the obstacles he faced.
What is the most important/biggest decision you’ve ever had to make for your company?
I consider each decision is important and big.
What would you say to a new employee about the culture of your organisation?
Team work is the key of our success, we care about our employees and invest a lot to keep the positive energy at work. We have regular team building activities and trainings.
When faced with two equally qualified job candidates, how do you determine whom to hire?
I would assess their motivation levels of joining Draw link, learn about their personal attitude and see how well they fit into the team.
What are three characteristics that you believe every leader should possess?
Lead by example, Good listener and positive attitude.
What advice would you give to someone going into a leadership position for the first time?
Lead by setting example and develop your team with the expertise that you carry, remain humble and be open to learn from others.
What’s your greatest fear in business?
There is no fear, I don’t think about it because fear is the first step toward failure.
What’s the best way to prepare for uncertainty (which is increasingly relevant in today’s market)?
Have a solid Business plan, evaluate properly the risk analysis and plan a mitigation strategy, reviewing and updating of the business plan according to the market demands. Always build and maintain good relationships with all stakeholders.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
Something that most of people don’t know about me is my passion for the high speed driving specially that in my daily routine I have a driver and don’t drive, most of people might think I hate it however I have a passion for driving.
What’s one productivity tip you wish everyone else knew?
The courage to do things, the focus and the perseverance.
Courage, focus and determination.
What is your most prized possession?
What is the biggest luxury in your life?
To be surrounded with people I trust and I love.
What makes you get out of bed each day?
Life is full of challenge and opportunities and that’s what give me energy every days to wake up and discover what’s next is waiting for me.
Quote to live your life by?
Learn to learn: mistakes are part of our life, it’s a life lesson to move forward and learn, Failures and mistakes happens to everyone the most important is to be open to learn from what happened, move forward and never give u.
If you could give an old boss one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never overestimate your own worth and underestimate others.
If something were to happen to your business, what would be your backup plan?
The backup plan is not to have a backup plan, we prepare for uncertainty by always developing and updating our business plan according to the market demand.
What do you work toward in your free time?
In my free time I love travelling and learning about new cultures.
What did you want to be growing up?
I’ve wanted to be an architect for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was fascinated by innovative and unique designs and colours.
How do you manage a large company and still find time for things like family?
It’s very hard to manage both equally however no matter how busy we are we should always find time for our family.
It is very hard to manage, however I believe in prioritizing and keeping a work: life balance. No matter how busy I make it a point to spend quality time with the family.
How do you relax and switch off from the office?
Meeting friends, playing sports mainly squash, I enjoy swimming and travelling.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Busy, long and productive, I spend my day between meetings and site visiting when projects are under execution stage, I also meet existing client to touch base with them and meeting new clients, I also attend important conference and exhibition.
Do you have any daily rituals that help prepare you for the day?
Not really, I wake up early in the morning, have a good healthy breakfast while catching up on the daily news. I then hit the gym before heading to work – this keeps me fresh and gives me energy for the rest of the day.