There was excitement in the packed auditorium as the audience awaited the arrival of Syed Wamiq Bokhari, Managing Director and CEO Pakistan Petroleum. A self made man who rose from humble beginnings, Mr. Bokhari visited the Lahore Univeristy of Management Sciences (LUMS) on October 12, 2017 as the inaugural speaker for the first ‘Leaders at LUMS’ session.
The event was hosted by the LUMS Office of Development Team and moderated by Adeel Hashmi, popular media personality who took the stage along with Syed Wamiq Bokhari, asking him an interesting set of questions, answers to which proved very beneficial to the students. In this question and answer format, Mr. Hashmi asked Mr. Bokhari about his daily routine. Mr. Bokhari answered that if it were up to him, he would prefer to not to have ‘cold communication’ like e-mails as it takes away the primary aspect of communication, which is not only to understand and respond but also to empathise.
Mr. Bokhari stressed on the aspect of empathy, primarily stated that a lack of empathy is not beneficial in anyway, as it hinders personal growth and development. “To build on a business, to build on an identity, one needs to develop and grow; that is the secret of success,” said Mr. Bokhari.
When asked about how he deals with a casual work ethic, Mr. Bokhari lamented not on the attitude of the workforce but the lack of maturity in general. He stated, “I am very particular about timing, I myself arrive at work earlier than expected and that is not something I take lightly; integrity is an important aspect of my personality. In the USA, no one cares about timing, all they care about is if the productivity of a given business is being maintained, but they have had years to develop this sort of mind-set in the west. Our society has not matured to that level and at times people do take advantage of a relaxed environment.” He added that one can not blame any one individual; he mentioned that the education system kills the spark of intrigue and curiosity that many in the west possess.
When asked about LUMS in particular, Mr. Bokhari greatly applauded the hard work and resolve taken to make LUMS an institution that is at par with international standards.
The session took an interesting turn when Mr. Bokhari indulged the audience with his experiences and everything that led him to where he is today. The audience was taken aback when Mr. Bokhari urged them to fail and keep failing, to trip and fall, to make decisions that are foolish, that are against the norm because the fear of making a wrong decision is what keeps us hindered. “Fear should not hinder your personal and professional growth. The human spirit, if faced with an obstacle, if willing, is bound to find a way.”
He further went on to say that dedication to fail and to learn from that failure is what eventually makes one a leader, a leader who people will choose to follow, a leader who will gain trust and will lead his troops to places unheard of.
Speaking about the event, Ali Safdar Raja, Head of Development LUMS said, “The event was extremely important to LUMS considering it strives to give students and faculty an opportunity to interact closely with renowned business leaders and discuss issues related to personal and professional growth. The session was also an opportunity to drive a healthy discussion around the idea of leadership.”