Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » Q&A: Adnan Zaheer, FD, and

1. Rise early or work late?

My day starts at 6am by reading the world news. After morning meditation and some light exercise, I hit the road on my bicycle. My working day is flexible and I never know when my day will finish. 

2. Training preferences: on the job or formal?

I take personal development seriously and attend various events throughout the year. This allows me to learn new things and make new contacts.  

3. What’s your management style?

I believe in an authoritative management style, giving a clear direction to colleagues and then supporting them. I lead by example and believe in equipping staff with the correct training. I have been managing staff for years – I learned the art of working effectively with a team and believe that a manager’s job is to manage.

4. Does delegation come easy?

Delegation is tricky until you have a good team. I choose the best people for the job and provide support to them to get the work done. Building the right team is the key to running a department. Persuasiveness and the ability to influence people are vital for any leader in this modern age.

5. Who do you rely on most?

I am lucky that we have very good teams at Arena Group. I rely on the management accountant and the accountant to hold the operational finance fort. This gives me time to manage the expectations of the operational and strategic teams.

6. Boardroom or restaurant?

Boardroom and restaurant meetings both have their strengths. I use lunch meetings to build relationships, and boardroom meetings to make decisions. Formal discussions are more effective.

7. What technology would you never be without?

My iPhone, Fitbit and ZEPP Golf Swing Analyser.

8. Are you an FD for life?

I am a finance person who is commercially and strategically focused. I can see myself staying in such roles for a while before moving to CEO roles.

9. What keeps you awake at night?

The Arena Group is doing extremely well. The automated reports followed by senior management team meetings help me in taking action. I have implemented enough controls and processes to enable me to have a good night’s sleep.

10. Critical advice to aspiring FDs?

The role of a FD is evolving very fast. While it is crucial to understand the company, the readiness to step into the CEO’s shoes is also expected. Once the base is strong, a person can move to strategic roles and enjoy the perks and respect that those roles bring.