Shortly after I began working at my new job, Jamal Akbar called an all-day meeting in our Islamabad office that involved twelve of the company's leading executives from various provinces of Pakistan. To my surprise, he also asked me to attend. I thought this was unusual, given that I was only a junior executive. The meeting involved an open discussion on issues related to Jamal's retiring. He wanted to hold a roundtable on how best to create a hierarchical management structure to keep the Pakistan operation strong after he left the company.
I was really worried about the meeting. I had zero experience in sales, marketing, or management. I would be among executives who were seasoned players.
The night before I departed for the meeting, I was browsing in a bookstore with my father, who had retired and moved back to Karachi. "When are you leaving for Islamabad?" he asked as we checked the books in the business section.
"I'm leaving tomorrow."
"Are you ready for the meeting?" he said.
"No! I have no idea what my role will be."
"Take a look at this book. It's an interesting read," he said.
He handed me a book, titled Iacocca: An Autobiography. I had never heard of him.
"This is a great book," he said.
"Who's Iacocca?" I said.
"He's the guy who completely turned Chrysler around. You can learn a lot from this book." He then bought the book for me.
I began reading that evening, and I found Iacocca's story so riveting that I nearly completed it the same night. I read ...