Leaders—be the impact!

Fahad Alsherehey, SABIC vice president for technology and innovation, receives a gift from the KAUST Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) team after his WEP keynote speech on campus.

- By Lulwah Shalhoub, KAUST News

Fahad Alsherehey, vice president for technology and innovation at the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), spoke recently as part of the 2018 Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) at KAUST. Alsherehey set his company as an example of how authentic leadership is the right foundation for successful establishments.

"40 years ago, [SABIC] was a dream that people did not take seriously. This wouldn't have happened without having authentic leaders at that time," Alsherehey said during his keynote entitled "Leaders—Be the Impact."

In 1976, a newspaper headline read: "Some dreamers want to establish petrochemicals in the middle of the desert" a day after a press conference that presented the idea behind SABIC.

"SABIC started with the dream and the idea of producing petrochemicals in the desert since 1976—and it happened," he added.

Fahad Alsherehey, SABIC vice president for technology and innovation, speaks on leadership at the KAUST 2018 Winter Enrichment Program (WEP).

SABIC has created and followed its own model of the four leadership priorities—to inspire, create, engage and deliver—which Alsherehey described as "the SABIC way for leadership."

"In our changing world, we are faced with challenges at many levels. We need authentic leaders to turn challenges into opportunities," he said.

Alsherehey said that in any business, there has to be strong leadership that can drive and direct that business. The key role of a leader is to have an impact "not any impact, [but] a positive impact."

"There is a difference between leadership and a leader. Leadership is about the process and the mechanism…The leader will pave the way and guide people, while a manager will just give orders to subordinates to get the job done. You need to listen to the voice of your people, your team, your peers, your customers," he added.

Related stories: