Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.Thomas Alva Edison
The world is changing faster than we imagine. Think about the year 2020! Did anyone of us know that this year will be a watershed moment for all of us? Everyone was affected by the pace of change that came in this year.
The older ways of doing stuff no more works. We need to be relevant to today and for the days ahead. How do you do that?
It takes effort and focus. And in this episode of Success 10X Podcast, we have tried to bring you the best of strategies from Hanane Benkhallouk on how to remain relevant in an ever changing world.
You will specifically learn from Hanan about:
#Skills required for the new age
#4Cs in the Future
About Hanane Benkhallouk
Hanane Benkhallouk is an award-winning entrepreneur and senior consultant. She has been involved in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for over 15 years, counting. Among her corporate experience, she served at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, where she was in charge of innovation and entrepreneurship programs across the Arab world.
Today Hanane runs her boutique consultancy Sustain Leadership, supporting SMEs, large corporations as well as government institutions, cultivate innovation culture, and corporate entrepreneurship.
She is also a co-founder of gigthree, an upcoming tech-platform redefining gig work in the MENA region. Hanane serves as a board member, advisor, and mentor to a number of NGOs and entrepreneurship spaces, such as Intelak, Smart City Accelerator, the mind cloud academy, emirates foundation, to name a few.
She is also a certified innovation coach, a global speaker, a published author, and a contributor to leading publications such as Harvard Business Review and Forbes.
Hanane’s mission is to contribute to the move of the Arab region to an innovation and knowledge-based economy.
Hanane is an accomplished author and her upcoming book that will be launched in February 2021, Seeds of Change, building human-centric organizations, in the new normal. She is launching also an initiative called: Tawazoun, which means Balance in Arabic, I d like to invite everyone to engage in creating a balanced world, and check tawazoun.com which will be ready in few days. I have also co-authored a book that was published in April called Your dose of motivation, and another one that is being launched this month (January 2021) called women who inspire.
Road Less Travelled by Scott Perky
Good to Great by Jim Collins
Deepak Machado 0:00
Hello there, this is Deepak Machado and in today's episode I spoke with Hanane Benkhallouk, a phenomenal entrepreneur based in Dubai. I was amazed at her clarity of thought, and I'm sure you will gain loads of knowledge and inspiration from this conversation. So, without much delay, let's get into the conversation with HHanane Benkhallouk.
Hello, and welcome to Success 10X Podcast. My name is Deepak Machado. I'm a writer and a risk management professional. I'm also a bitcoin enthusiast. In each episode of this podcast, we bring you an inspiring person, or a topic, help you amplify your success 10 X. This podcast is dedicated to you if you're serious about your personal growth, career growth, financial growth, and business growth. I hope this podcast will create a spark and ignite your desires to achieve higher success. Thank you for spending time with us today. And let the journey to success 10X begin.
Thomas Alva Edison said this: "Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
In today's episode of success 10 X Podcast we will be talking about "How to remain relevant in an ever changing world." And to discuss this we have Hanane Benkhallouk.
Just to give a background of about Hanane....Hanane is an award winning entrepreneur and senior consultant. She has been involved in entrepreneurship ecosystem for over 15 years and counting. Among her corporate experience, she served at Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, where she was in charge of innovation and entrepreneurship programs across the Arab world. These days, Hanane runs her boutique consultancy called sustain leadership, supporting SMEs, large corporations, as well as government Institutes cultivate innovation culture and corporate entrepreneurship. She's also founder of Gig Three, an upcoming tech platform. She serves as board member, advisor and mentor to a number of NGOs, which include Intelak, Smart City accelerator, the mind cloud Academy, Emirates Foundation, to name a few. She's also a certified innovation coach, a global speaker, a published author, and contributor to publications such as Harvard Business Review, and Forbes. Hannane's mission is to contribute to move the Arab region to an innovation and knowledge based economy. Hanane also is an author, and we will talk about her book later during the episode. Hanane I welcome you to this episode of success 10 X podcast.
Hanane Benkhallouk 3:16
Thank you very much.
Deepak Machado 3:18
I would like to first start off by digging something in lines of where you developed your interest in things that you do, which are so many things I was.... my mind was blown. When I read I read your background, your, your profile. So where it all started.
Hanane Benkhallouk 3:39
Thank you very much. Well, let's start by my journey that had three major stops. I was born in Casablanca, Morocco. And I was born and raised there and started my essential education. And then I moved to New York City to pursue my higher education. And over there, the diversity and you know, it's one of the global financial capitals, and it's one of the toughest cities. So I learned a lot through that experience and living in a, in a big city in a cosmopolitan city. So I started my career over there. And it was a diversified career. So I did my MBA over there in finance and marketing. And after that, I started to work in in the financial industry. But I always had that soft spot for working on entrepreneurship. And it just happened that I was involved in community building in New York City working with some Arab individuals and people will just move though needed help sometimes had difficulties even with the language. And to that I was privileged to even when I was still a student, to have to support one individual that was kind of lost and We had we in the community, but I was kind of leading that effort to see how we can help that lady find her way. And then I found myself trying to help somebody who did not finish university who came just with her husband. And as I was digging deeper, I found out that she had a talent when she was a teenager, making handmade jewelry, and designing jewelry. And to make a long story short with that, I did not know that I was coaching because I was, you know, in my early 20s, myself, I then I found myself coaching her how to convert that talent into money making opportunities. So she started selling in what we call the flea markets in New York, New York City, and I would be spending weekends with her to teach her how to deal with customers, how to take their data, and so she can start sending them offers in you know, in holidays, such as Christmas, or New Year's or all the national and international holidays. So that was my first experience that I'm really so proud of, of coaching an entrepreneur or helping someone converted talent into money making opportunity. And it was so successful, that a lot of people started coming to me for advice that I was doing just to help just to give back to the community. And, and that developed in my mind without me knowing. So that was in parallel with my corporate experience. And so after I came to Dubai, which was again, just another coincidence, I worked in a large diversified group as an operations director. So I'm one of the marketing sales and business development, background as background, but I had a lot of interest. And I said, I was lucky that I jumped from career to another working from the financial industry into the retail hospitality. And then I worked in the government, where the executive office which became later on the foundation of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Al Maktoum, and over there, that position of having to work on creating an infrastructure for entrepreneurship and ecosystem for entrepreneurship so that we can develop generations that can create value in the Arab world and become more innovative nations. I was exposed to study, among other things that I did in that position study that was conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, around the Arab human capital challenge. And so that study, identify the gaps that were between the skills that are taught in our schools, and the competencies that are needed at the workplace. So being exposed to that firsthand since I was, you know, a charge of that study on behalf of the foundation. That's when the call of what I'm doing today was reinforced. So it started a little bit on an official basis or informal basis since I was student, because I just was always done. I think I learned that from my late father, who was always involved with the community. And then it developed into becoming a calling that I thought, Okay, do I really want to continue the rest of my life working on corporations and making a good salary and helping organizations become a profitable Oh, do I really want to do something that I feel called for.
Hanane Benkhallouk 8:22
And that's how sustained leadership came to life, that to really carry that vision of the foundation on a smaller scale, but it's still there, helping individuals, small businesses, and even the government to create that conducive environment to create that mindset, that helps them be, you know, be conducive to innovation, and also be value driven so that we can have people that are passionate about what they do. And when people are passionate about what they do they don't only benefit themselves, they benefit organizations, they work with the benefit the communities, they benefit the societies and also so that's an in a nutshell, how that journey led me to what I'm doing today. And I feel really lucky and blessed that I identify what I want to do for the rest of my life at an age that I still can give for for a few decades, God willing.
Deepak Machado 9:16
Such an inspiring background, Hanane, and I really appreciate you sharing this with us. Now the more I read about your more I read about you online, I was just trying to research. The more I read about you, the more I was inspired, then I was thinking where this could have come from. So how was in brief, could you tell us about your childhood and how that affected your outlook in life?
Hanane Benkhallouk 9:39
Sure. Well, I grew up in a big family where were seven siblings, four boys and three girls and I grew up in a house where my father was an entrepreneur himself. He was he was a farmer and and he always cared about whatever he did. He had to engage the community with him. So Whatever he did, he always taught us that we shouldn't live for ourselves. It's good to have a good living, but it's always good. It's also good to engage others and it's always, he always inculcated this giving back, giving back and not in charity. He always said that we should not be given people fish, like they say, but teach them how to fish. And I think that that value was instilled in me about always living with others and for others, not just for ourselves. And yeah, living in a big city like as a Blanca, I think when people tell me, where are you from, I find it really hard to say I said, Do we really have to have one home because I feel that I have three homes, a great city, like as a Blanca, then I moved to another greatest city, like New York, and then now I'm living in an amazing city, which is device, I just feel that I was privileged to have that. And each of them, each of these stops, had enriched me with the experience, and the challenges that I had to go through because it wasn't all smooth. Obviously, we don't grow, you know, to smooth living we grow to difficulties and challenges. And and I think that that journey that I had, from my childhood till today, really shaped me, that's fine. introduce myself. And I think you would see that in my social media, I will say, I was made in Casablanca, because that's what I was born, I was shaped in New York City, and I am thriving in Dubai today.
Deepak Machado 11:29
Great Hanane. So coming back to our topic for today, how to remain relevant in an ever changing world. So being relevant, you know, that is the main topic that we are tackling You, me and everyone else, we have to be relevant to where we live, where we work. And the world, as you and I know, has changed forever. I believe in the last one year, the world, as you know, you and I know has changed forever. Because of the developments that happened in the past year. I think we have accelerated 10 years ahead of time. Because of the events that happened, how or in fact, why do you believe this trend will continue moving ahead? Do you have any thoughts on those lines?
Hanane Benkhallouk 12:16
Yeah, absolutely. I think before before the last year, I've been always talking about how we are living in times where we call it 4.0, or the fourth technological. And they call it for fourth industrial revolution. Because in history, we had four of those that actually, we refer to it more as the technological revolution. And the difference between this one I mean, we've been always moving from, from, you know, being every time we had some kind of new invention, the whole life chart change, from steam engine, to automation, to Internet, and then today to the Internet of Things, and AI and all of those advances in technology. But the difference between what was happening before and today is that things are moving at unprecedented speed. And they are covering scopes that they haven't covered before. So we used to have changes every 20 years, every 15 years, maybe. But now just look at this is what I tell everyone look at your software, and your phone every for all the apps, every now and then it just asked you to update. So if sometimes every month, sometimes a few weeks, you need to always update. That's how things are changing how fast things are changing. So what happened last year just accelerated the validation of that it validated it and it accelerated some of the transformations that were coming anyway. So today is no longer about I am the leader of what I do, whether as a company, for example, and I think history has shown and will keep showing us how many companies who are sitting on the throne were given giants and pioneers in industries, they no longer here. And I'm sure everybody who's listening to us can name at least one or two of those companies. So what did this company do wrong? They were probably they invented whatever they were really Legion, I mean the product or the service, they were the pioneer. And they were the global leaders. What they did is that they just thought, okay, since we are the leaders, we're just going to continue to do that they have not updated themselves, or they have not followed the changes that are happening in the consumer behavior holding their markets, or globally. So definitely this trend will continue because the changes will continue to be fast. The developments will continue to be there. They'll live I mean that the landscape that we are operating in will continue to be uncertain because I think one thing that we learn is that uncertainty and ambiguity is there. We don't know we cannot predict anymore. So we cannot base our decisions like before. They predicted this is what we did when we had this issue. So let's do the same thing. So the cause I want to send everyone it is not just about, yes, updating is needed. But it's not just about learning new things. The toughest thing to do is to unlearn the old ways. As as one philosopher that I really admire Alvin Toffler said, The illiterate of the 21st century will not be the person who cannot read or write, but would be the person who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. So the skill that really is needed today is how do we unlearn those old ways? How do we let go of the way we used to do things because we cannot just keep learning new things, you cannot keep filling an overflowing cup. So we have to really empty it, and then to be able to fill it again. So unlearning is what I really call for. And that's the toughest thing to do. Being able to say, Okay, well, what got me here won't get me there. So let me forget about what I learned. Even if I'm the PhD, and I am the expert, and I have 30 years of experience, a 15 year old kid could know how to solve the problem better than I do. Because these are new times with new skills with new ways of doing things. So remaining relevant is about knowing what I need to let go off first. And when I knew how I need to relearn the things that I used to do without having that fixed mindset, and that ego that I've been doing this for so long, I've been the you know, the experts have so many certifications when maybe they're obsolete today, no matter what you had, you have to start fresh. So this this is mainly how I talk about being relevant when I work with business leaders when I work with individuals, even for their companies, or does your company or your organization structure has the processes, the culture that it means that is relevant to today's world? Do you treat your employees with the new ways of treating employees, attracting them, retaining them growing them? So it's really about brushing almost that reset button? And that update button the same way we do with our phones, when it stops working?
Deepak Machado 17:08
Yeah, having worked with so many companies? I mean, have you felt that you hit a wall... that this management of this company's not ready to change? I mean, have you often felt that or are companies ready to change themselves? Because I've, I've come across certain companies, they want to work the older way. But the older ways may not work in the future or present in the present. So how do you convince these companies?
Hanane Benkhallouk 17:34
Well, you see, I was asked this question, what if we don't change? I mean, I throw it so much when I'm working with business leaders, and we are working on a change management program, and everybody is just complaining about how the new change, will you will probably make their life harder, or they used to work in this way. And and it's working, why should we change? And then I just asked the question, What if we don't change. And then the minute that ever, that psychology, they start thinking, and I feel that a lot of people are seeing 2020 as a, you know, as a challenge, which was I mean, it brought a lot of diversity. But in the same way, I see it as a blessing somehow, because it kind of forced everyone to see that if you don't change, you become obsolete. So that's why I said it really accelerated, that need for change. Because I'll give you an example. For example, from from five, six years, being calling for is flexible, working, for example, and I've talked to so many business leaders, why don't you integrate flexible work and remote work. And since not all functions have to be in office all the time, at least do two days home three days in office, and they can still work, they will be happier, they will be more engaged, the productivity will be high, because they will appreciate that they are working from home. And and I get this resistance of No way. If I don't see my employees here, I don't think they'd be productive. Well, everybody in the whole world had to do that last year, what happened? Nothing change. So sometimes we need that sense of urgency to understand the need for change. So what we do in our work is to help business leaders create that sense of urgency, even before we had copies. So somehow we work with them with our own tools to create the sense of urgency in the minds of the people that are resistant. And once you create that sense of urgency, and as I said, it was just proven by the last year people are more willing to change because they feel that fear of what if we don't change and then things go wrong. So so this is this is how I work on that. And and thankfully, it's it's working at a higher rate, not 100%, obviously, but it's working at a higher rate.
Deepak Machado 19:48
Yeah, great points. Even I felt that, you know, human ingenuity is such that you know, innovation takes you know, leaps it goes beyond leaps and bounds during times of crisis. That's why you will see companies I mean , if I want to take some names companies like Tesla, companies like I'm in, there are some unheard of companies called like TSMC, Taiwan semiconductors. So this is these these are the companies which have reinvented. They're reinventing themselves. So my next Yeah, so my next coming to the our topic of reinventing yourself or even reinventing oneself, most of us are naive to change, you know, even I felt that why should I change? I mean, we like our comfort zone, don't we? So out of university and college, we don't upskill ourselves or no, we don't learn actively. So what suggestions do you have for employees as well as employers to be ahead of the curve or be two steps ahead? And to come out of their comfort zone? Have you, do you have any potent suggestions, recommendations for companies and employees to leave their comfort zone come out of there be two steps ahead and succeed in life and business?
Hanane Benkhallouk 21:00
Sure, absolutely. And as I said, I think it's COVID-19 has made the job easier for us because it created that awareness that we need to always change and there is uncertainty. The main thing I always talk about is to not link what we do to an industry, or to a role, for example for talking about employee. And I'll give you an example that's that's relevant about companies that reinvented themselves and I always use I don't know about you, but I am at generation that I can still remember Fujifilm. Do you remember a company called Fuji film? Yes. films were using the camera, because a lot of youth don't remember that. Because they you know, as soon as they grew up, we had the smart cameras. So Fujifilm, which was producing the camera films, obviously, that that doesn't exist anymore. It's obsolete, nobody's using those films. And you can research done, everybody who's listening can research that. So Fujifilm found out that their technology could be used and other products that are relevant, and Fujifilm are producing cosmetics today. So complete shift from what they do, because they want it to remain relevant to what the market is consuming still and use their capacities to do so. So that's what I always call employees and also companies do not link what you do to the industry do not say I am in tourism industry, I am in, in construction industry, I'm in retail industry, link it to who you are serving? Who is your target audience and look at the changing behaviors they consume the consumer behaviors, how are they changing? What are their desires? What are these people complain about? What did they wish for to see. And from there, you will see how you can iterate or pivot your business model to serve that audience. That's why when I work with startups, entrepreneurs, I never tell them to pitch the idea to me, I tell them to pitch the problem they're solving. Because when you understand the problem that you're solving, you will find it's easier to find a solution easier to change the solution because it's about linking Why am I doing what I'm doing? Which is what is that big vision or is that big, objective and mission that I'm that I'm solving for the world. So by helping people side by by you, for example, if I am creating an app for employees, or for gig work lab, what we are doing, for example, if I'm doing that, then I am helping individuals have a lifestyle career. So they can work on a project basis. So for me, it's that lifestyle career, it's helping people have a lot of balanced life. I don't say I'm having a high tech technology that will connect to employees and employers. Those are the details that says that's the how, but I have to always answer that question. How am I serving a bigger purpose with what I'm doing? And everybody can do that. As Einstein said, If I had 55, if I had one hour sorry to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes understanding the problem, and only five minutes to design the solution. So this is how I could summarize it. It's really about understanding what is it that I am solving? or What is the need that I am serving? And then once I understand that what I engage with my target audience, whether it's internal customers or external customers, once I empathize with them, and understand very well what is it that they are complaining about right now, I can keep myself relevant, because I will always change modify myself my solutions when I say solution, a solution could be a product, a physical product, could be service, could be a tech platform could be a law. So because these These elements are also valid for governments, governments now moving towards a lot of changes to serve the citizens because they found a lot of issues. For example, the health system, when when when COVID 19 hits. So it's, it's, this methodology helps everyone when we ask how can we remain relevant to the needs of today. And we can only know that if we are engaged with the people that we are serving, so. So that's, that's the first start, we have to ask ourselves, connect what we do to purpose, rather than to a role or to physical products or tangible service.
Deepak Machado 25:39
Great points there, Hanane. So what, according to you are some of the most in demand skills that will be relevant, let's say five years, or decade from now, from a perspective of an employee or a corporate professional? Where can they equip these? Do you have any platforms? Or that you may recommend for this kind of to build on these skills?
Hanane Benkhallouk 26:04
Sure, absolutely. I mean, that's, that's what we do, and practicing what we preach, actually, we have also changed now, almost launching our online platform for learning to give bite sized learning and tips to everyone who wants to remain relevant, because at the end of the day, that's why we chose the name of our company. And that's seven years ago, Sustain Leadership. It's about sustaining your leadership, wherever you do, how can you sustain your leadership and remain relevant, that's really, even before this crisis happened, we knew that we live in uncertain times. So it's really about helping everyone sustained that leadership, because you could create something great, but it's not about creating or starting, it's about sustaining. And that's all we care for. So the skills that will be needed. They're called the 21st century skills. And as research shows that, for example, the World Economic Forum made the research and it made a report that shows that, for example, kids of today who under primary school will have jobs that don't exist today. They don't do so those jobs will just happen now. So if you have a kid who was still in a primary school, please do not. And I'm calling all parents are listening to me right now listening to us. Do not make them do not ask them that question that we were asked what you want to become tomorrow, don't make them link their future to specific role. rather ask them? What is the change you want to make in the world? What is the purpose? How do you want to make the world a better place, let them link their future can return objectives to a purpose to admission, because by then they will find the right way to solve it. But it's again, just like I said, it's about the why. So even with kids, we want to teach them to learn about not to link their career or their studies to certain thing, or certain role or an or an industry, but rather to what they want to talk. So problem solving is one of the skills that would be needed. agility, which means flexibility, I'm ready to change I'm not stuck on, I want to be a pilot, or I want to be a doctor, I want to I just want to improve the well being of the world, for example, or I want to build great things, I want to build great foundations. So then they will find out how to do it. So problem solving collaboration, because since we live in a world where we need to solve problems, one mind cannot solve problems. So you cannot get on days where we work in silos. So having that team skills, being able to work with different people, and collaborate is one creativity. I mean by creativity, you don't have to be genius. But really, just ask yourself, what if we try a different way? What if we try How about if we try to facilitate being able to wake up every day and say, there is always a different way to do things no matter what I'm doing. So that creativity is there as well. So they all start with see somehow it's complex problem solving, collaboration, and creativity and curiosity. Curiosity is very, very important because that's the start of being innovative. Always being curious research, what's happening, be always updated, what's happening around you don't let the change come to you. Don't let it ride the wave of change. It's very disruptive. It's like a wave, but learn how to surf with it, otherwise, you will you will drown. So, these are the main skills be curious, always ask what if we do things, be confident that you can create new things, collaborate, no work alone and make sure that you come with solutions that you have that problem solving rather than just executing what others tell you?
Deepak Machado 29:49
What thoughts do you have have about failures? Like in many cultures, if somebody has started something and failed, he is looked down upon you know, So what, what suggestions do you have for people who have tried and failed? And I also know people who failed and then sprung up out of nowhere, with creativity with you know collaboration. So what suggestions do you have for somebody who has tried fail and is feeling down right now?
Hanane Benkhallouk 30:19
Yeah, actually, this fear of failure is one of the biggest inhibitors of innovation, whether at work or for people. And yes, it is a cultural problem. We have all grown up in, in many cultures, and I'm one of them where we are afraid to fail, because we feel that if you fail, that means you're not a success, you don't have a chance to make it. So when we work on innovation, when we work with companies or with individuals on enhancing their innovation, that's the first thing that we tackle. For income when a company calls us and says, We want our people to be innovative. We want you know, innovation has become such a buzzword and everyone wants to become innovative, wants to have innovation as their culture. Then the first question we ask, do you have procedures and policies that enable failure, and then we have a silence. And we're like, what, that's where we have to start. Because innovation is about trying something new. When you try something new is 50% chance you fail, 50% chance that you succeed. So starting by accepting that failure is part of that process. And and that, like what Edison said, you know, Thomas Edison, who invented electricity, everybody knows him. Without him, we wouldn't be connected today. You know what he says? And that's my only advice, everybody is afraid of failure. He said, I have not failed, I have found 10,000 ways. No, he said, I have succeeded in finding 10,000 ways that do not work. How amazing is that? If he hasn't tried 10,000 times and failed. And still his mindset, he succeeded in identifying what didn't work. So we need to start just like Thomas Edison to think when I fail at something, I have found what doesn't work. And so I need to learn what doesn't work. So I avoided in my next trial. So it just by switching that mindset to thinking, I am succeeding at finding what doesn't work so I can find what works. That's what failure is, because if you don't fail means you're not trying something new. So you have to be proud of ourselves. And that's what we we do even in companies some we have encouraged some some companies to set an incentive for failure for new things, of course, not failing that what you're doing at work, because if somebody in the KPIs and the performance review, if they haven't failed at something, it won't be scored low, people who have failed at doing something new, they will be scored high. And that's how you motivate people to try things new. Because that means if you always tell me and never failed, I will tell you, Well, too bad. That means you've never tried something new. You've been always doing things the right way, or the way that is known. So that's it's really about switching, shifting that and affirming to oneself that just like what Thomas Edison did, and I think that works a lot on changing our mindset.
Deepak Machado 33:15
Superb thoughts, Hanane, you have got a couple of books. You are writing a book now called Seeds of Change. It's about to be launched in maybe February. Could you share with us what is the central theme of this book? And which part of the readers mind would you like to change or transform?
Hanane Benkhallouk 33:36
Sure, thank you. I think it summarizes everything that we've been speaking about, because that's what I'm really passionate about. Let me talk about the first book that I co authored. And that's already large, it's called Your Dose of Motivation because that could be really beneficial to a lot of individuals, especially now in this time zone, everybody's is low. And it's just stories, personal stories from so many people that are sharing how they overcome failures, how they overcome with a personal setbacks or professional setbacks and how they found their passion. And my my chapter is called the three P's that drove my journey. And I have a whole course about that. And the 3P's are Passion, Proactivity and Persistence. Because when I look back, at my journey, I felt that every time I had an issue, or because it wasn't all smooth, like I said many times, I felt like this is not working, you know, you start a small business, after you were working in the government with a high salary and all the benefits and all the timings and living in Dubai, you know, where the cost of living is not the cheapest in the world and, and you just take that leap of faith and say, I'm going to start on my own. It's not like you launch your business and you start going into companies and they're all like, Yeah, welcome take this proposal. Take that. No, it took a lot of time to build credibility. Because a lot of companies don't look at you as a person. They look at you where you're working, and if unfortunately, if you don't have a big brand, not many business leaders, or not many decision makers can take that, you know, that risk. So passion is what drove me because I kept thinking, What am I am passionate about this, I need to make it happen. But it wasn't enough. I found my passion and I said, I'm ready to start my business. Now I had to be proactive. I had to go knock doors. Okay, I found what I wanted to do, but things won't come to me. So when I started being proactive and knocking doors and contacting people, not every door I knocked opened, so I needed to be persistent. And when I told no, I don't just go back and say, Okay, well, I felt no, I keep persisting until they open door or another door opens. So those were the three P's. Now for four seeds of change, it really summarizes everything that we talked about. And seeds is a framework that I use to build to help companies build human centric organizations. And that's the trend, that's the business model of the future. And somehow it has been validated by last year, seeds mean sense, engage, empower, develop and sustain. But it's about planting the seed of change so that you can sustain and you can remain relevant in this ever changing world. So it's my favorite topic, it's I think, the need of the hour, whether we are individuals, small company, a large organization, or even a government, if we want to remain relevant, we need to plant seeds of change, which means we need to sense the changes, we need to engage with the people, we can't just keep doing this top down approach is not working anymore, we need to empower others to take decisions because when a crisis happens, we can keep waiting for that, you know, very vertical hierarchy for decisions to be made. Otherwise, it can be too late. And we need to continuously develop. And at the end of the day, the outcome will be sustained because we need to sustain whatever we do. And that's how the idea of seeds of change came to life.
Deepak Machado 36:52
Great. I look forward to reading your book Hanane. So also talk about something Talk, talk to me something about your another initiative called Tawazoun, and what are your plans for that? And what are we trying to achieve or what can be changed in the society?
Hanane Benkhallouk 37:07
Thank you so much, tell us all the word tell us and simply means Balance in Arabic. And and this idea came to mind a year ago on March 8, because one of the other things that I'm really advocate for, and a little bit known for in the community is my advocacy for gender balance. So the idea came from, we need to change the narrative from equality, to balance because since I was 14, I was sad. I don't believe in equality. And a lot of people looked at me as if I'm not, you know, I'm a weak female. Well, the opposite is the truth. But I always said, Why do I have to spy to only be equal on I can do better. So because I feel that we are two different genders, and we're not equal, we're never going to be equal. But what we strive to achieve is a balanced society, a balanced world. So the idea came when I wanted to just shift that narrative about gender balance. And I started, I launched it on March 8, and was supposed to launch the initiative. And then you know what happened after March 8, we all went to lockdown. And we went into a complete different world and a new normal, which added to the idea that what this is not just about achieving gender balance, and engaging men in the discussion, because to me, the idea was, we can no longer be in all these spaces. And I have created and pioneered a lot of spaces and initiatives to advance the female talent, you can look them up. One of them is the lean in, which is a global initiative that was launched by Sheryl Sandberg, who is number two in Facebook. She's the CEO of Facebook. And I'm part of the team who created the first lean in initiative and chapter in the GCC. So with all of these spaces, I felt, okay, we're all here gathering as women trying to solve an issue that is inherent to us. But the decision makers are still largely men. So we need it's about time to engagement in the discussion and stop talking as it's a gap. And it's a fight. And it's a cause, but rather a business case, and that we all need to create balanced workplaces. So that's why Victor was an idea came. But then I saw that we need balanced people first. Because we what happened, a lot of people are becoming depressed and the well being is gone. So I felt Okay, well, let's spread terrorism to more than just gender balance. Because at the end of the day, you need balance individuals who will understand the balance is important. So they can contribute to creating balanced work environments, balanced societies, so that we all strive for that balanced world. So our slogan is Tawazoun together for a balanced word. It's more of a movement. It's a platform, it will be launched very soon. And this month, and I would call everyone who really feels that we need to together work to create this balance was to join us because we are creating curating ideas. It's a think tank. We'd love to hear your ideas. We'd love to see how we can all work together to contribute to balance world.
Deepak Machado 40:06
a great initiative. And and I wish you all the best in that. I'd like to call this decade roaring 20s. You know, nnovation is happening around us. disruption is happening around us with technology, with life in every sphere of our lives. So what are you most excited about? And why?
Hanane Benkhallouk 40:25
Well, I'm excited about this era, because exactly, it's making us believe that change is happening all the time. So everyone is kind of like waking up to problem solve. It's also I think, we live in an era where we have unprecedented tools, we have technology that's allowing me to speak from my home. And wherever you are in the world, I could be speaking to you. So I think that's phenomenal. We are very blessed to have that. Which means we can touch more lives today, I used to speak in conferences only where I could travel. The past year, I've been speaking to people in everywhere from Australia to Africa. So that is enabling us to spread more knowledge to touch people's lives. So I'm excited about all these tools. I'm excited about this acceptance, and everyone is having to use remotes and use new tools, which means that if we really work together, we can make a lot of changes and leaps and bounds. So I'm excited about it tools. I'm excited about the change in mindset. And and I'm excited about that awakening that we all have that there are many things that matter in life than what we thought before.
Deepak Machado 41:35
Okay, great. So let me zoom out a little bit from professional matters to maybe matters that are close to your heart. So was there any point in your life that you were down, and you felt like giving up? So What kept you going at that time? Do you have any instances in your life such as these?
Hanane Benkhallouk 41:52
this? Absolutely, yes. When when I decided to go on my own and work as entrepreneur, as I said, and I was, you know, living alone at the time, which means I was responsible for, for my bread and butter and suddenly, just, you know, completely in the leap of faith, I'm starting something new. And they were I thought that because I was so passionate about it. And I knew that I was carrying forward that vision that I saw at the Foundation, I thought that whoever we were working with with those same projects that I was leading with welcomed me with open arms. And then I realized Well, no, because they were going after the name, not really the project, they wanted to have the PR they working with the foundation of a Ruler, the Ruler of Dubai. And suddenly I'm shocked with not not everybody's welcoming me. And month after month, I was knocking doors and nobody was giving me that credibility because we're just starting fresh as a business and everyone is just linked to brands. And many times they felt to why want to continue this or do I need to go get a job, so I can pay my bills. And every time I almost dropped the ball, as we say, I kept saying, but I didn't do this because I wanted to make a better living, I did this because I really want to contribute to that change. And if I go back, I'm just going to get again, you know, absorbed with that corporate world, and that purpose won't be served. So that always kept me going that I'm doing this. Because I want to measure the impact. I want to drive positive impact. If you go to leadership, our slogan is driving positive impact in in business and society. So keeping always myself thinking that I'm doing this for something that's bigger than myself, and always trying to evade seeing what is what are the points of resistance that these people I go to are having, and working on being more persuasive. I think that's what pushed me and I did have down moments I almost gave up. But that's why I always say when you have a strong purpose when you have a strong why it will always help you find ways of doing things better.
Deepak Machado 44:03
Yeah, thank you for sharing your personal experience. So So what is your morning routine? Do you have any special morning routine that that you can share with us? Or are you, I mean, many people say that I have some of my friends, I have to say I'm not a morning person. So are you a morning person? Or can you share with us your morning routine?
Hanane Benkhallouk 44:27
Oh, yeah, I'm a very morning person. I'm an early riser. And actually I can't I I cannot even be friends with people who are late sleepers. For example, somebody to me somebody who sleeps until 10, as I just cannot comprehend it I mean, I mean I want to be understanding and not judge, everyone, everyone is different. But to me, it's just not part of my value system because I feel that you know, as they say, early bird gets the worm, you know, so that's saying that for me. I need to seize the day. I believe in this Latin saying, Carpe Diem, which means seize the day. So, and I'm also I lead, to certain extent, a healthy lifestyle. So I make sure that every day, I somehow it doesn't happen all the time. But every day, and that's including the morning, I'm not going to talk about the morning routine, but I'm going to talk about the whole thing, how I how I work on my day, it's, there's a concept that we call the wheel of life or the wheel of balance, that I also, you know, talk about it on my developments, even to leaders we start, because we start with leading self first and leading self means we need to lead a balanced life. So that's for me, I divided into what is work, family health, and spirituality, the way I look at it is that we as human beings have four dimensions, we have the physical, so which is our body, and we have the mind, and we have the heart, and we have the soul. That's how I look at it. So I try to make sure that every day I do something that feeds in a balanced way, all of these four elements means I do something, I practice yoga, I'm a fan of yoga. So I wake up, I do some yoga, and I go to the gym as well. So I do something that will keep me healthy. Because to me, the body is what I host the soul in this mind. So it has to be healthy. So I eat well, and I do a physical activity. Then to feed the mind, I was read something new. So I read, I make sure that I'm always updated. And they're emotional, I make sure that I'm connected to my family and friends. And then the soul, I do something spiritual every day. I mean, I practice my prayers in my own religion. So this is how my routine is I look at it as I need to keep balance. It doesn't like I said, it doesn't always work. Sometimes we we focus a lot on the work. And then we forget the emotional, sometimes the frickin spiritual, sometimes we miss the physical, but being aware, to look at that balance even once a week or once a month and like okay, well, let me see physical spiritual mat work, which is financial work, which is related to the mind, which one I've been really focusing on which one I've been neglecting. Where let me make sure that this next week or this next day, or this next month, I kind of like steer towards the one that I'm neglecting. It works. I think happiness comes from that from living a balanced life. And so to me, that's, that's what I wake up and make sure that I do all of that. And that I strive for that balance.
Deepak Machado 47:35
Thank you for sharing that, man. Just to take this one step ahead. So what does your dream day look like? Do you have a definition of a dream? Do you take it as it comes?
Hanane Benkhallouk 47:47
And to be honest, I just you know, I wake up and I just go, I just make an affirmation that, you know, this is a great day, and it's going to have a lot of opportunities, let it unfold. I trust that it's going to unfold the thing. So this is what I need to work on. Because I always say, we cannot control what's going to happen. But we can control our reaction. So I work more on controlling how I want to react to everything. So things don't work. I say, well, maybe this is not the time for them. Or let me see what I can learn from this. And that's what keeps me going rather than wanting. Because if I think of a dream day, it's like I want to control the outcome. And to me, that's against my values. It's really about riding, like I said, riding that wave of disruption, and learning how to surf it and navigate it and just waking up and thinking it's going to be a great day. And if there are any setbacks, what is there for me to learn from?
Deepak Machado 48:46
Great. Thank you so much, Hanane. Can you share with us besides your own books? Do you have any favorite books that you read regularly? Are your all time favorite books?
Hanane Benkhallouk 48:58
Well, a my all time favorite book I'll talk about one on a personal growth and one on the business one. So the one that personal growth is the Road Less Traveled is my favorite book by which is named the writer, Scott perky, I think sorry. So the road less traveled is my favorite book. And because I think that's what I chose as well. I chose the road less travelled. So he talks about that journey when when you choose a career that is not coming when you choose a lifestyle that is unconventional. So I liked that book a lot inspire me a lot. And then the other book, the business book is by Jim Collins, and it's called Good to Great, From Good to Great. So there are a lot of companies that are good, but this is about how to move, to always strive to be great rather than just good enough. And it's it has a lot of case studies of companies that made it to being great and I think it inspired my work a lot because in my consulting work that's what I try to strive to help my clients do is to always strive to be leader in what they do, and to sustain that leadership, and to be a great company and not to really settle for being good. So these are my two favorite books. I mean, I read a lot. But these are my two favorites that helped me a lot and inspire me in whatever I do at work or the way I live my life.
Deepak Machado 50:17
Great. For the listeners, thank you so much for listening to this episode of Success 10X, where today we cracked on how to remain relevant in an ever changing world with Hanane Benkhallouk. And if you have any parting words for our listeners?
Hanane Benkhallouk 50:36
well, I just want to let them know that a first thing to do is to really stop wanting to control and predict because we're going to continue to live in an unpredictable world. So and I want to leave them with this equation. I mean, I just talked about it, but with this equation, that whatever happens in our life, so the equation goes like this E + R = O, where the E is only 10%. And the R is 90% of what O is meaning is the event. So whatever happens, the outcome of it is only 10% related to the event 90% related to the R, which is the reaction. So make sure that you choose your reaction, which will affect the outcome. Don't let the event affect what the outcome of your life or your day is.
Deepak Machado 51:32
Thank you so much Hanane. I wish you all the best in your endeavors, your entrepreneurship and your life. To get in touch with Hanane please visit HananeBenkhallouk.net. It will be in the show notes. Hannah, do you have any other medium for you to reach you?
Hanane Benkhallouk 51:48
I mean, I'm available on all social media. So just my thinking just google my full name as it's written and I'm on LinkedIn on Instagram and Facebook on so and then yeah, if they want to know more than please feel free to visit my website and if there's anything I can support anyone to grow, and to become better at who they are what they do, please feel free to contact me I'd be happy to.
Deepak Machado 52:19
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