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Leadership Spotlight: Leadership is Learning

We’re excited to announce that after appearing on Episode #38 of the Elevate Business Podcast, Moncef has been selected for the Intuity Performance Leadership Spotlight series.

Moncef Lakouas leads the Boys and Girls Club of Moncton as Executive Director. Moncef has worked as the First Vice President and President-Elect of the New Brunswick Multicultural Council and acts as a board and community member of various not-for-profit organizations. He supports multicultural talent, entrepreneurship and aims to retain international students and immigrants by making communities more inclusive and welcoming.

Here are the top 3 insights he shared with the community.

1. Tell us a little more about your journey and how you came to where you are today?

So I didn't have a plan in my younger days, I was spending most of my time being good at what I did, which was studying, but I didn't have a plan.

Until my mother came to me one day and she was like, what is your plan?

I was like, what do you mean?

She asked again, what's your plan? What do you want to do? What do you want to become?

I was like well, I never thought of it. I'm just having a blast! That was at 18- 20 years old and it made me realize that you cannot live your life on a daily basis, you have to have a 10-year plan or a 20-year plan to get at it and make it even bigger.

So I sat down for the first time in my life and made a plan. I'm going to finish whatever I'm doing right now and I'm going to pursue my higher education. I sat down for a family meeting. Back then it was my father and my mother and myself. They asked me, OK, what do you want to do? We'll support anything that you choose.

I said I guess I'm going to Canada. Why do you want to go to Canada? Well, I guess I'm intrigued by winter, and I'd like to see it, how it feels to live in winter for six months at a time and I just heard so many good things about Canada. A country of peace and the country of fairness and the country of human decency and what you can achieve, your full potential.

And then there I was on a plane. I've never travelled outside my country my whole life, and I packed my bags with some tears and goodbyes and I got to a land where I did not know a single person, but it was a plan. The first one that I ever had was just to finish my B.A. That's it.

So my parents pretty much sold all they had to be able to help me afford my living conditions and to fulfill my dreams. My mother and my father invested a lot in my education, which was only enough to get me by for the first two years and I had to manage to find a way to pay for my tuition and my living expenses for the next two years.

So the plan was just to get by for the first four years and get a degree. Failure was not an option because there was no way on Earth that I'm going back to my mother and my father and I say I failed just because I couldn't be disciplined enough to really get at it and graduate with my first degree, which in the end I did.

It was phenomenal, but mostly I was doing it for them. The first one was mostly my gift to them. And then when you get to that level you have some kind of empowerment that if I can get this small one done, I can go after bigger plans. That was the journey that if I can get this one done with all the struggles that come with it, I can probably adjust and recycle that plan and make it way bigger!

2. What has been your biggest ah-ha moment stepping into the role of Executive Director?

Well, sure. In the business world where I come from, it was all about clients. If you drive the client value, they'll stay, and you survive kind of thing. So the most the big question of the day was what is the most important asset for an organization? And everybody had to answer “the client”. But when you lead a team without proper management of a team, there are no clients.

So who drives the value every single day for the clients?

It’s the team who drives, who wins the triangle of value from clients? I think it’s the team. Who excites the clients on a daily basis? The team. And who's there to improve and innovate and make sure that the client gets the best product and services based on what they need or sometimes solving the problems for clients? The team.

So there is a lot of things that lead in this organization that made me realize that you cannot drive the value for the clients without first driving team development. If the client is not perceiving the value of your team they probably decide to move on to a different organization, can provide them with the values and the services they deserve to have.

So I'll have to take a stand and will definitely go with the team first, client second. And that's really interesting. It seems like the pandemic has allowed a lot of businesses to pause and it feels like there's a shift from having the best infrastructure or I.T. to having the best teams.

3. What is a guiding principle that has an impact on your work?

My previous boss, Merv Simms, will say, perfect is the enemy of improvements. So if you have that perfect idea, you will never act because you'll just delay, delay, delay for things to become perfect.

Instead, just do it and be good at it. It's like almost the idea of building a plane while flying.

If you’re interested in learning more from our Spotlight Leadership, check out Tanya Priske share about Supporting Women Leaders in Business.


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