Thoughts over a solitary cup of coffee in Cairo

9 September 2021

“You come home, make some coffee, sit down in your armchair and all around there’s silence. Everyone decides for themselves whether that is loneliness or freedom…Timur Ganiev”

Most of us spend a great deal of time of our day at work. Even nowadays, with remote working becoming popular, people still interact mostly with their colleagues, clients, attending virtual meetings, discussing and negotiating business etc…

Some of us carry management roles that dictate a respectable portion of the time in strategy, planning, delegating, supporting, coordinating as well as many other duties that come along with the managerial functions. Others represent the team members that carry out the tasks, plans and duties, whereby a higher degree of implementation, focus and execution are required. Both parties will undoubtedly be required to adopt a common set of skills to execute their tasks and responsibilities to the best possible level.

There are three skills that, when acquired and implemented, can differentiate individual performance and take one’s level of execution to optimal efficiency.

Prioritization, time management and focus are the three skills that, not only distinguish performance, but in fact are prerequisites for individuals who are, or would, take on leading roles and functions.


  1. Prioritization

We all think we have a lot to do and are always placing ourselves in that “squeezed”, “back-to-back” state of mind, when really the matter is a lot simpler than we think. Having a goal, responsibility or aim will naturally require a certain sequence of tasks that have to be performed to reach one’s desired outcome.

A quick question to ask yourself when embarking on a task: is it relevant to my goal and the responsibility bestowed upon myself? Will it have a direct impact on what it is that I’m out to fulfill?

Prioritization is key here. It’s allocating your “to-do” list in a form that will satisfy the objective. Keeping the difference in mind with regards to being productive vs being busy.


  1. Time Management

This will entail that each individual allocates sufficient and proper time to each and every task they have for the day. Referring back to their “to-do” list at all times to maintain prioritization and relevance, of what it is you are doing to ensure the tasks are completed and deadlines met.

Proper assessment of the task and the required time slot, whether duration or place in the day, are key.


  1. Focus

Once embarked on a task, focus is key. We all get overwhelmed with a variety of stuff around us. Be it news, emails, chatting, social media etc… This would deplete one’s energy and scatter concentration and effort into a meaningless space.

FOCUS on the task at hand and only that. Dedicate the time you have properly allocated to that task, based on its priority and relevance to perform it with diligence. Don’t worry, you will get to the other stuff at some part of the day allocated to those activities, as well as others.

This all looks good and will place certain individuals who adopt these skills way ahead of their peers. But, what really makes some individuals stand out and allows them to reach their potential and even rise above them versus others who stagnate whilst barely performing what is expected of them, is character.  Character and skills are complimentary.


Character traits that stand out:

Initiative, agility, persistence and resilience are four traits that genuinely mark the character of a leader.

There will always be those “individuals” out there who take performance and execution to a whole new level of being “passion-driven” and “goal oriented”, to say the least.

They have the courage and passion to “initiate” ideas, new perspectives, innovative ways of doing business etc… They even initiate support and guidance to their colleagues, peers and even their managers. They do not fear standing out and taking ownership. They are not waiting to be told what to do, they go out there and do it.

They are very adaptable. They absorb change and accommodate it. They have the emotional intelligence and business acumen to maneuver with change whilst maintaining the ultimate goal in sight.

Those individuals will also be the ones who never give up. Nothing breaks them down or places them in a state of hopelessness. They know what is expected of them, they know how they want to take that extra mile and contribute further to reach the ultimate goal. They turn challenges into opportunities. They will always make the best of what they have. They are both persistent and resilient.

I humbly believe that those individuals will probably be the ones who go back home at the end of the day, sit in their armchair, having their coffee, appreciating the silence after a long day, content with their efforts and  contributions, yet looking forward to a stronger and a more productive tomorrow. Those are the individuals who will be, physically, sitting alone at that moment, yet very much attached to their people, be it colleagues, family or friends. They will be the ones who feel “free” because it was simply “their” choice to walk that extra mile, never give up, contribute, support and flip the challenges to opportunities, that will further pave the road to the ultimate goal.

Now, you decide for yourselves, are these the qualities of a successful leader?

AIMS International can help you develop these critical skills, growing the leaders of tomorrow. Contact an AIMS Office near you to find out how we can help you to find and grow your leaders.

About the Author:

Khaled Khattab, Business Development Manager AIMS International Egypt

Khaled is an experienced Business Development professional, possessing a long track record in developing new markets, on both local & regional scales as well as hands on expertise in both Direct & Corporate Sales. He is also known for excellent interpersonal and communication skills.