Exploring the joys of leadershipFriday, September 17, 2021
Jacqueline Coke Lloyd
William Mahfood has been widely recognised as an impactful leader in the business sector. He has served the Wisynco Group extensively, holding the position of managing director from 1994-2013, then chairman as of January 2014. Additionally, he was appointed chairman of the board of Jamaica National Money Services Limited in April of 2019. His tenure on the board of Jamaica National Building Society began in 2006, prior to which, he served as a director of JN Small Business Loans Ltd.
This exemplary leader is one who believes in the power of service, which he demonstrates through the various outreach programmes in which he participates within the Spanish Town community. He is also an active member on the board of several local non-profit organisations.
The Wisynco board chairman believes that the successes he has enjoyed in his leadership positions are not solely dependent on him. He is of the opinion that the competence and accomplishments of the organisation is a team effort. He credits the directors, executives, and others, with whom he works, as the driving factor behind the business. This speaks volumes as it relates to one's leadership abilities in any sector or any group, no matter the size.
It is most engaging and fulfilling when a leader, through his/her actions, can inspire change and best practices among employees. This unique, charismatic quality is what enables him to be impactful in his domain.
Compassion, humility, integrity, respect, and passion are the values William Mahfood identifies as the core values of his organisation and his leadership. He highlights humility as a main area of focus for him in his interactions with those around him. He reasons that leaders must be humble enough to listen to their employees, comprehend, and act accordingly. Being able to understand the needs of others, as well as the needs of the organisation, is a key part of any leader's successful endeavours. Therefore, for him, humility is one of the most important characteristics a leader can possess.
Challenges and obstacles are a part of every business, but Mahfood is able to maintain his composure in the face of adversities. He notes that he is always very focused on positive outcomes; therefore, when the biggest challenges arise, he looks at the best outcome possible. He is able to remain optimistic and also keeps his team brave enough to endure the hurdles they face.
Change is a constant in life, and this is something that the chairman embraces within his organisation. He believes that his leadership has been able to incite a process of evolution among those with whom he works. This is not just limited to his organisational space, but also includes his family and those within his community. He is also quick to highlight that this transformation process goes both ways as he was influenced by those around him as well — be it his mentors, workers, or anyone who added value to his life. This combination, he believes, is what constitutes the very essence and success of his career.
“I was fortunate to have had the opportunity, very early in life, to have started in a business that I became very passionate about, and I think passion is critical…in any business or field that you're in…” he recounts.
Although he had an early exposure to business, he highlights that it was really his passion that drove him to excel. He revelled in the opportunity to help to develop businesses in a range of sectors, especially in distribution and consumer goods. He notes how important it was for him to learn lessons at every stage of his career, as the lessons became a core part of the building blocks of his organisation's growth, strength, and competency.
Mahfood recalls his journey as a magnificent and most rewarding one. It is one of his greatest joys to be able to say that he is the chairman of a company that ranks among one of the finest in the Caribbean. He is also immensely proud of the advancements his team members have made, and how efficiently they have played their part, having technological advances at the forefront of their development and instituting best practices right across the organisation.
Amidst all the pride and joy, the Wisynco board chairman points out that he practises what is called cautious discontent, in that, while there may be a lot to celebrate, he is careful to move forward, trying to find more ways to improve. It is important, he believes, to keep striving for greater no matter how far one believes he or she has come.
His dream is to continue expanding the organisation over the next few years and continuously find ways to help to improve the organisation and, by extension, the quality of life in Jamaica.
To the younger generation of leaders, Mahfood had this to say: “Work hard, focus on getting things done in the right way…Never look for loopholes. Never look for the easy way out. Always do things with values of compassion, humility, integrity, and passion. Be very passionate about what you know, what it is that you're going to do, and work towards setting objectives and follow those guidelines and you'll get very far.”
Jacqueline Coke Lloyd is founder and managing director of Make Your Mark Consultants. She is a transformational leader, coach, organisation and people development specialist, and national productivity ambassador. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or email@example.com.