Name: Lamya Alaoui
Job / Title: Managing Director
Q: What is one piece of advice about navigating your career that you wish you knew earlier?
Lamya: Choose a work environment that is aligned with your values and where you live by them every day.
Q: What role has mentorship played in your career?
Lamya: I was fortunate to work with inspiring mentors along the way, they helped me gain perspective, develop new skills and expand my network. The most valuable part for me was being able to get feedback from a consistent source and guidance to grow in a way where my values were met.
Q: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Lamya: It is not really advice, but a quote that influenced my leadership approach and still influences my work with teams as a coach. It was my first job and I was facing challenges with one of my team’s member. Despite trying everything I could think of to diffuse the situation, I was not able to do so. I went to my mentor seeking advice and she told me: “Each block of stone has a statue in it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it”. She started explaining that sculpting a statue does not involve creation, as the statue is already in the block of stone, but it was more about having a vision and then eliminating all that is unnecessary so the statue can come to light. Then she said: “a leader is a sculptor; your job is to remove whatever prevents your team from unleashing their potential because it is in there regardless of the environment’s limitations”.
Q: What are the leadership traits that have led to your successes?
Lamya: Empathy and active listening. Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality, which cannot be done without a fully committed team. Leading for me is about supporting your team’s growth and maintaining intrinsic motivation, to do so we first need to listen and empathize.
Q: What advice do you have for other women just starting out in your profession?
Lamya: Be aware of bias blind spot or as I call it the Ultimate Bias (individuals see the existence and operation of cognitive and motivational biases much more in others than in themselves.) Set clear boundaries.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
Lamya: Drinking a lot of coffee! Joking aside, most of my day is dedicated to sessions/workshops and meetings, late afternoon for research and reading, evenings are for my family, friends or some me time.
Q: What are 3 words that describe best your work?
Lamya: Team Dynamics’ Alchemist
Q: What are the challenges teams are facing?
Lamya: As Patrick Lencioni said, teams are made of human beings with varied interests and frailties. When you put them together and leave them to their own devices, even the most well-intentioned people will usually deviate toward unproductive behavior and it is magnified under pressure.
Every team I worked with was encountering different challenges but there are patterns. Some examples are:
Q: What do you like to do to unwind?
Lamya: Cooking with my daughters and horseback riding.