Mindset Tuned on Customer Understanding

As I joined Ensto 2,5 years ago, I was ready and prepared for very exciting challenges as the Export Sales Director. I was looking for a new position because there was a lot of restructuring in the company I worked for that time. After I had met Ensto people in job interviews, I became convinced that I would have a lot to offer for the company.

Ensto and Me: An Attractive Challenge

Ensto Novexia’s goal was to access international export markets. What attracted me to join the company was that I felt the interesting challenge of building and developing an international business with many new products and solutions. Thanks to my technical background, and wide experience on international sales, market trends understanding, customer needs analysis, and international marketing I was ready to rise to the challenge.

I started with reassigning geographical zones by commercially redesigning the way we manage the countries. The goal for each commercial is to have a full view on each country. This provided the keys to define priorities based on the needs of the new markets, which gave me all input to study the roadmap with the Product Development and Marketing department.

My second task was to go deep into the quality process to understand how we work. I tried to rematch the processes with our reality and believe that our processes are now on track for embracing our future developments. As I had earlier experience in leading a multiethnic team, I knew I had to convince the people of the common objectives. As much as I believe in our ambitions, sometimes the main challenge is to have people coping with that belief.

Gaining Expertise on All Fields of Electricity

I was born and raised in Lebanon. I graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering. After receiving the diploma, I left my country in 1996 to work for Alstom (today General Electric) in the Middle East. At my first job in Alstom, I learned everything I master today. During the 20+ years, I gained knowhow on all fields of electricity: generation, transmission, distribution, automation, and reached a strong technical expertise.

In 1998, I moved to France, re-joined Alstom, and stayed 17 years with the company before I joined Ensto. I oversaw various technical positions where I strengthened my knowledge in network automation, network calculation and dimensioning. In 2003, I was appointed a Commercial Engineer and succeeded in this task since I had accumulated enough technical knowledge to lead a commercial negotiation. Finally, I became the Commercial Director.

Instructing Myself as Much as Possible

I could barely speak French when I arrived in France. As a foreigner, I needed to close the gaps between having the capacity to understand electrical products, and to transfer the knowledge to a multicultural team. Therefore, I read plenty of books about sales, management, leadership, decision making etc.

My target was to develop the spirit to fit a more demanding position with further responsibilities. Becoming the Sales Director was in many ways exciting and becoming a boss for your peers was a huge change. The team consisted of members from seven different nationalities and the cultural differences were quite considerable. One of the difficult tasks in managing a team is to bring together people from different backgrounds and generations around a common project. We were a winning team, and all this experience has made me the expert I am today – and for the best of Ensto and our customers.

Aiming at Better Life

Why did I get interested in the electrification industry? Well, that is directly related to my origin, as until today Lebanon is suffering from the lack of electricity. That is something not everyone thinks about, as most of us are so used to having electricity all the time and everywhere. In my childhood and youth, the absence of electricity was part of our life. Back in the 80's, we studied by candlelight and took care of our everyday activities without electricity. Therefore, the need for improving things was very tangible and I wanted to make life better for all of us. Today, electricity is my passion.

Capacity to Put Myself in the Shoes of Others

My main asset is the capacity to think for others. When I am in a negotiation, I can put myself in the shoes of the other person to analyze his or her situation. Wherever the discussion goes, I always thoroughly think about the customer’s context and position, build a scenario, and make the best possible decision. The capacity to anticipate what will happen next allows me to better understand the feelings the customer has. This has proven to be very important and for mutual benefit.

Bassam Dhaiby

The writer of this blog works as Head of Sales in Network Automation / Ensto Novexia business at Ensto and is based in France.