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Insights / 11 Sep 2020Corporate Governance in Family Business: Leading in Wicked Times

Corporate Governance in Family Business: Leading in Wicked Times

In the words of Winston Churchill – “Never let a good crisis go to waste” He said it in the late 1940s as the world was approaching the end of World War 2 and started creating opportunities in the midst of a crisis.

To say that COVID-19 has inflicted inestimable social, economic and structural damage that wars from earlier years could not would be an understatement of the century. However, similar to the sentiment shared by Mr. Churchill, the idea is simple - in times of crisis or chaos, there is always an opportunity for great leaders to rise to the occasion in distinctive ways.

As a group, AMG has a set of values and virtues that always enables us to act instinctively and in unison. Engrained in our DNA since our humble beginnings, my father, Sheikh Abdulkadir Al Muhaidib lived by values such as integrity, leadership, unity and agility. Over seventy-five years later, we still live by that testament.

The owner’s mindset is also something we’ve adopted from our many years in the industry – we have learned that empowering our management team and aligning our decisions has encouraged them to treat the companies as their own personal projects.

Having that sense of ownership, puts the business first and promotes a sense of accountability, trust and open communication – giving employees a stake in the outcome. Once that happens, it pushes forward other strong suits in leaders such as grit, agility, decisiveness, empathy and openness. In turbulent times such as these, it is vital for these qualities to be present in our management team to first, eliminate bureaucracy and disregard ranks when it comes to new ideas and crisis management – ultimately building an open line of communication, and to second, lead by example and make weighted cut-throat decisions when need be for the vitality of the business.

As the famous saying goes – “actions speak louder than words” which is exactly why we practice what we preach. During COVID-19, both my brothers and I made sure to lead by example and encouraged our team members. Naturally, we faced challenges and difficulties, but the positive outcomes resulted in transformative solutions such as companies launching their e-commerce platforms, optimizing supply-chain operations, managing budgets, crisis management planning, innovating products and services, and diversifying investments.

We are proud of our accomplishments, but we have yet to completely overcome this crisis, nor can we prevent others from standing in the way of our success. For the future, we plan to move forward with caution and confidence – building for a better future and a better Saudi Arabia.

Sulaiman A.K. Al Muhaidib for INSEAD