Ali Foughi is an experienced Silicon Valley executive who has adeptly served in various executive management roles. He shares his personal observations and experiences in this 5-part series.
1. Know the Difference Between Managing vs. Leading – Mr. Foughi believes managers “control” while leaders “inspire.” Inspiration brings out the full potential of people. Teams and employees are most innovative, productive, happy, and tend to stay with a company longer when they work in a motivated and inspirational environment—and effective leaders enable such environments.
2. Recruit Great People – To assemble a world class and winning team, one must be able to attract great talent. Experts create innovative solutions and build highly differentiated businesses. In order to attract top-notch professionals, executives need to feel comfortable and surround themselves with great talent because quality attracts quality. Building quality teams takes time, vision, passion, and is critical in the highly competitive and innovative high tech industry. The collective IQ of a team is always greater than that of a single individual, no matter the talent.
3. Domain Knowledge – Ali Foughi believes it is very important for leaders to have, maintain, and develop domain knowledge. As an example, the head of a hospital’s surgery department needs to have a keen understanding of the intricacies of surgical procedures to have the credibility that allows him/her to lead a highly skilled team of surgeons. The same principle applies to leading high technology professionals. It is rather difficult to be a visionary leader if one does not have domain knowledge and vision is like a magnet. It helps to attract, retain, and lead the kind of talent that is required to build a successful enterprise with steady growth.
Currently Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at InvenSense, Ali Foughi is an accomplished executive with over 28 years of experience. Mr. Foughi shares his ideas and observations in this 5-part series.
10. Put Employees First – Great employees create disruptive solutions, which in turn generate shareholder value. There is an argument to be made that if you wish to take care of your shareholders, start with your employees first. Innovative and experienced employees create great solutions. Great solutions help secure new business & customers which in turn generates revenue growth. Shareholders want to see revenue growth with healthy margins over time. So taking care of employees is aligned with the ultimate goal of taking care of shareholders.
11. Have a Steady Approach – Commitment to ‘quality’ and ‘customer satisfaction’ is crucial in the evolution of successful companies with exceptional results over time. This requires a steady approach to growing the business. It may not be a good practice to make opportunistic moves to gain unsustainable market share. If it hurts quality and customer satisfaction, or if it is not sustainable, then it is counterproductive to long term growth. Using a baseball analogy, the odds of getting RBIs (Runs Batted In) are much higher than swinging for the fences. I believe in steady and sustainable growth.
12. Present a United Front – Collaboration must start at the top and be a way of life. It is futile to be preaching unity if the executives are divided. CEOs that cannot get their direct reports to collaborate will have a very difficult time getting thousands of employees, in different divisions, to collaborate. Leading by example and setting the right culture is essential and can’t be replaced by a set of polished slides. Mr. Foughi believes it is important for executives to welcome and encourage opposing views before making key decisions. People open up when they know their views and ideas are heard and genuinely considered.