Luminary: Please share your Professional background as for how it all started?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: I started off my career in professional management which was construction related. It then very quickly turned into a trading and manufacturing business, which took me outside of Pakistan. It was a huge learning curve for me. I was managing, manufacturing and trading across three completely different environments within the North, South American, and the Asian sphere. So, after about eight or nine years, I returned to Pakistan in the early 90’s and decided to go back to study. I eventually got engaged into multiple consultative arrangements with people and ended up managing a very large textile manufacturing company in Pakistan. In the mid of the year 2004, the government of Pakistan decided to lower the customs tariffs on vehicles which sparked a casual conversation between friends and led to a serious proposal which has brought me up to this point.
Luminary: What other CEOs do you admire? Can you name a person who had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Nobody in general. I have gained a lot from different people. learned mostly from their failings and what they could’ve done better. The reason for which I pursued consulting was that I was actually learning by teaching people.
Luminary: How do you balance the long term versus the short term when thinking about innovation?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Innovation, while developing a product or a service plays a very important role in the company, however, innovation needs to be balanced because depending on the nature of the business there is potentially a threat that you can over innovate yourself outside of the market. When you’re building a product or a service, you need innovation. Once you have got your product or service done, you need people to catch up to that innovation, you need for that market to mature up. You have to take the basic premise of innovation to the full maturity of the business idea or full maturity of the marketplace.
Luminary: How you ensure your organization and its activities are aligned with your “core values”?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: The activities of the organization should be aligned to the core values that are necessary for the company to succeed. Those core values need to be clearly identified, clearly communicated to the organization team members and should be implemented in a way that ensures that the core values are the basis of the product or services of the company. At our company, we have communicated those core values to the people and given them the appropriate training. We have also set up a consistent and immutable evaluation system which measures them on those core values.
Luminary: As an organization gets larger there can be a tendency for the “institution” to dampen the Inspiration. How do you keep this from happening?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: As the organization goes larger the senior management which carries the initial inspiration becomes more distant. There are multiple ways to keep the institution inspired by those initial aspirations by keeping a broader contact with the team. One, you can actually build processes within the company which instills that same inspiration, down streaming it so that the wider body of the larger organization continues to remain affected with the same inspiration. You can additionally have activities, processes and even, at times departments which ensure that the co-inspiration remains alive.
Luminary: How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: In our company, we have a guiding principle where discipline and innovation based initiative is valued over, ability and loyalty. As it is a part of our evaluation process, it makes virtually impossible for any employee within the company to thrive without it.
Luminary: Where do the great ideas come from in your organization?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Great ideas come from members of the entire company. The organization must have the ears to process and debate those ideas and then implement them.
Luminary: What dierentiates your company from others in the industry?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Primarily, our focus is not on selling more cars. Our focus is to constantly enhance our value of service, accepting of our failings and to turn them. This, of course, is supplemented in a great deal by the company that we represent, which is the leader in high-performance cars and that makes our job much easier to do.
Luminary: How important is sustainability in the company’s strategy?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: There are two ways; one is to build on the strength and the another way is to conserve that strength. I prefer the former over the latter.
Luminary: What are your company long-term environmental goals?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Porsche Intelligent Performance” is more than a slogan. It is nothing less than Porsche keeping pace with the modern automotive landscape and the company’s need to dramatically lower emissions, get greener and save fuel.
Porsche has succeeded in reducing the fuel consumption in its new cars, and thereby also CO2 emissions. Porsche is the first and only company, as of 2016, to offer three plug-in hybrid models: The 918 Spyder, Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Panamera S E-Hybrid. From development to after-sale service, it is a key objective of Porsche to minimize resource consumption and keep the impact on the earth as low as possible.
Porsche Pakistan is making a special effort to promote these energy efficient vehicles. Our policy is to develop our new facilities with the lowest possible carbon footprint.
Luminary: What are the company’s biggest achievements to date?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: We, as Porsche Pakistan, have succeeded in creating a 700% plus growth rate in the last three to four years. We are also currently in the process of expanding our current infrastructure by developing a flagship showroom in Lahore and another state of the art facilities in all the major cities across Pakistan. Keeping in mind the socio-economic obstacles faced by the country at large, we feel we have achieved a great part in establishing ourselves as a leader in the performance automotive industry and have managed to create a wider demand for our product.
Luminary: How do you manage conflicts in the workplace and to model solutions for complex multidimensional
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: If ever there is a conflict, there are multiple forums for people to express their grievances and to record their complaints. Additionally, we have a mentorship program which allows people to be represented by our senior managers on the event when they feel that their voice is not being heard properly. These round table committees have very clear guidelines in a manner that each conflict should come to its rational
Luminary: What’s the toughest decision you ever made? What did you learn from that one?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: There are multiple decisions that I have made in my life. No single one stands out. Each of those decisions, whether the outcome was right or wrong has made me a stronger person.
Luminary: What are the biggest challenges facing leaders today?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: The biggest challenge facing corporate and political leaders today are aspects of integrity. One sees and experiences that due to changing global trends, there is generally a serious erosion of standards in the aspects of integrity which need to be reversed. If this does not happen, global trade and capitalism may be viewed in history as a failed system.
Luminary: What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Leaders make a mistake when they do not take ownership of their faults and failings and when they do not accept their bad decisions. If they will not embrace them or move away from them positively then it would lead them to a negative spiral, not allowing themselves or the companies to, move forward from those mistakes.
Luminary: What is the one behavior or traits that you have seen derail most leaders’ careers?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: In a word, arrogance.
Luminary: What do you do for fun?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: I have a serious weakness for ‑fine art and architecture. Creative indulgences in that direction are the most fulfilling for me.
Luminary: What is one unique or quirky habit that you have?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: I do not like to have a conventional approach towards life. I follow my whims wherever they take me.
Luminary: What was your biggest missed opportunity?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: My biggest missed opportunity would possibly be something in the future and not in the past.
Luminary: What do you do to live a balanced life?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: I don’t have a balanced life.
Luminary: What is the best advice you ever received?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: I have a historical tendency to disregard on good advice and possibly that has helped me more than it has damaged me.
Luminary: How do you manage your anger and stress?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: I always project the futility of carrying anger or stress forward. It helps in diffusing it. Sometimes I do hold on to anger, in cases where a certain amount of sustained competition is required, for instance in terms of individuals or companies which might be held back upon a negative competition and you keep that anger alive inside of you. It then becomes a constructive useful emotion to keep the edge in meeting them with/in reality.
Luminary: What are the most important strategic decisions you have made to contribute towards the success of the company? Why so successful?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: One of the most strategic decisions was when the global economy took a major downturn in 2008-2009. We dealt with the challenges and continued with the expanded infrastructure which could have possibly cost the life of the company.
Luminary: What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Build a great team.
Luminary: What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time, to the younger generation of CEOs, managers, startups, entrepreneurs and business leaders?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Follow your heart.
Luminary: What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: By making new friends.
Luminary: What are your company ambitions for the future?
Mr. Abuzar Bokhari: Our future ambitions would be to allow the company to grow to its full potential in the marketplace.