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Q&A with Amr Kandil, Middle East & Africa Business Development Expert @ Schneider Electric

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Amr Kandil, Middle East & Africa Business Development Expert @ Schneider Electric

How could you describe your career path in a few words ?

I will describe my career path as a mixture of experiences driven by passion on the technical side, financial correlation, and people management, motivation & upskilling.

A passionate electrical engineer who started to develop himself in different engineering majors and built a solid electromechanical experience and always thinking about the feasibility of each technical solution that I am proposing and this drive me to study finance and keep both the technical and financial aspects moving in parallel to ensure the feasibility,

Then my passion for sustainability and energy management and how to spread the knowledge was another drive to be certified as energy manager “ from the American association of energy engineer, ISO50001 Auditor ) and proceed in providing consultancy audits in Schneider electric in different segments and different countries from energy, digitization & Electrical network assessment point of view.

Then it was the time to have a broader view and think how to utilize the knowledge I gained in exploring new innovative business opportunities that are aligned with the company strategy and start to set the right approach to achieve the strategic objective, Widening the circle of stakeholders and work with a verticalized approach that offers a different space to innovate.

During each step of my career I was trying to be a global advisor in my field through participating as speaker in many international events to share knowledge and experiences in different countries and at the same time learn from interacting with experts in their fields.

What was your most challenging experience and it has changed your mindset ?

During my professional journey I have been to many challenging experiences that really affected me in a positive way Its starts when I was working as maintenance engineer in one of the well-known resorts and due to some circumstances I found myself leading a big team for a transition time and I have to take some important decision in a very young age and it puts a high pressure on me at the beginning, I had to work a lot and to learn a lot of things in a very tight time , I would say I took it as an opportunity to enrich my skills and scale up my career and the good thing is the trust I gained from the local and international management team and this transition time has been extended to almost 2 years and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn how to be a leader with impact in a difficult time and with agility in this young age and at the same time the technical experience I got during this period in all sorts of engineering from electrical & Mechanical to Architecture & civil was like a real backbone for the all the next career adventures , Then I got the opportunity to work in a company that is actually like my home since I was studying in the university and working in a field where I have all my passion which is energy management and sustainability supporting many customers in different segments in utilizing their energy in an efficient way and being certified as energy manager from the American association of energy engineers helped me a lot to innovate and integrate the digital technologies and facing a lot of challenges in how to solve a real customer pains the good thing of this job is that it’s totally nonstandard type of job it’s not systematic it depends on your level of innovation and how to act against the challenge and convert it to opportunity and since I was working regionally in different countries understanding the regulation of energy management in each country and building the solution that fits the county is one of the challenges that improved my way of thinking and the ability to generate ideas that fits the market, then another challenge came when I decided to scale up my career form being a technical expert with a leadership capabilities and financial knowledge to regional business development who is building strategic plans and following strategic actions that will affect the company business and working as an entrepreneur inside a multinational company to develop new business models and this was not easy but again passion always put you on track in a fast way and it was a transformation that I am totally proud of with all its challenges that build an agile character with diversified experiences, ability to lead and positively impact and an everyday learner.

When you get surprised by unusual or uncertain context, what do you think ?

The good thing is that all the positions that I have been working in since I have been graduated were the nonstandard unsystematic type of positions with a wide area to innovate and this have enhanced my decision-making capabilities and my agility in managing the change so I think when I get surprised by any unusual or uncertain context I start to think about the opportunity and the risk.

I’ve been on both sides of a surprise. I’ve had to tell my management some surprising news a few times in my career. And I’ve done my own share of being surprised. As I reflect on those experiences, I thought of some things I avoid doing when I get surprised

  • Get surprises out in the open as soon as I can . That way you move beyond shock, I focus on action, and work to get closure.

  • My past experience is like a playbook and guidance for me so no need to start from scratch each time I got surprised and this help me in being more prepared for the surprise as explained in the beginning.

What’s the most important key success factor for you based on your experience ?

  • My passion for being impactful in my professional journey is, People often give the advice to “follow your passion”. Typically, this advice is about personal fulfillment, but passion also provides a gigantic competitive advantage.

  • The long-term vision of my career development and how it's aligned with all the steps I am taking.

  • Wiliness to share experiences and acting in an open and direct way believing that the more you give out knowledge and experiences the more you gain.

  • Always asking for feedback and converting it to a development action plan

  • Respecting the team capabilities and encouraging cooperation and coordination within the work unit

  • Influence using techniques that appeal to reason, values, or emotion to generate enthusiasm, or commitment.

What would be the major pitfall that may undermine the success of a leader ?

I think being a leader is putting a lot of responsibility that if not fulfilled will undermine your success I am not going to mention all the pitfalls, but these could be the critical ones

  • Leaders must give proper credit as when employees feel that they are the last to be cared for, it’s very difficult for them to give their very best.

  • Unclear vision and losing the team passion: Provide clear vision to your team and lighten up their minds about how important their contribution is to the company and how their function in affecting the company plan.

  • Lack of trust could be one of the factors: Having trust within a team means individuals are demonstrating consistency with their verbal and nonverbal communication, caring about one another’s welfare and interests, and respecting and valuing one another’s skills and knowledge that are being brought to the team.

  • Thinking you know everything: Regardless of how smart you may think you are, nobody wants to be led by someone who comes across as an “I know it all “ Strong leaders know there is always more to learn, and they actively seek out new things to learn each day.

  • When you forgot you’re being watched even when you’re not being watched as a leader are always under the microscope so being one person while leading and a different person at other times is really danger

  • If you did not realize that the most important thing is what happens when you’re not present and this requires developing people who do the right thing, regardless of whether you are around.

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