Stepping outside the comfort zone

Ammar Askari, one of the winners of NTI BizPro Awards for the year 2016, is a dynamic young executive exuding an abundance of energy and a natural thirst for knowledge
High achievers have never been contented with themselves, as they are busy pushing back frontiers of their knowledge and charting new routes to success. They believe in delayed gratification, always preferring long-term value to short-term gains and would never take their eyes off their visions, dreams and goals.
This holds true of Ammar Askari, one of the winners of NTI BizPro Awards for the year 2016, a dynamic young executive with an abundance of energy and a natural thirst for knowledge. He exudes a strong eagerness to learn and develop his career. In addition to youthful energy and enthusiasm, Ammar accords top priority to refresh and replenish his knowledge and adapt himself to new challenges. He considers listening to others, learning from one’s own mistakes and constantly updating oneself as essential factors contributing to one’s success in life and profession.
He calls for constantly challenging oneself and warns against being stuck in one’s comfort zone. “As young people, we tend to be more enthusiastic but we have to be very careful,” he says. “First of all we need to be active listeners and learners.”
Asked about the strengths that enabled him to do so well at a young age, Ammar strikes a humble note, “Acknowledging (your) own shortcomings is a very important way to overcome them, (as it enables you) to always challenge yourself and strive for success.”
Ammar has more than 10 years of experience in the banking industry specifically in strategic and tactical planning area, change management, project management and operations excellence. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Luton and MBA from Strathclyde University. He started his career in Bank Muscat and worked there for a decade. He then joined the National Bank of Oman (NBO) at the peak time of the bank’s transformation and worked closely with the management to perform a few strategic initiatives. Referring to how his over a decade long stint in the banking industry gave a new dimension to his career and honed his leadership skills, Ammar says, “I have had a wonderful time being a banker. In my career of around 11 years, I have learned a lot of things: to be good leaders we have to commit ourselves to organisations’ vision and values; it is very important to evaluate ourselves and seek honest feedback from our colleagues and superiors to overcome our flaws; change is rapid and we should always be ready to adopt changes; communication is key to success; always have open communications with your subordinates and your superiors and display high transparency; it is very important to develop and motivate others in the team because their success is your success.”
Ammar continues to explore new avenue of growth and expand his areas of expertise. He recently left NBO and joined BankDhofar where he started his new role as executive manager, project governance office.
Ammar always draws inspiration from his senior colleagues and management team. People who climbed up their career ladder with dedication, hard work and determination and scaled new heights in their profession and life motivated him. He has always tried to model himself after them, and has never hesitated to take his cue from any successful person. It means he opts for people he knows and works with as his role models rather than celebrities. “As a person, I have been influenced by many,” he says. “I have seen leaders and CEOs who started their career at the lowest grades in the hierarchy. When I think about them, it pushes me to work harder. I have had a few role models as I grew up the hierarchy. I always looked up to the top management team members in the organisation as my role models and always tried to be like them and think like them.”
Ammar is all prize for the evaluation process at BizPro Awards 2016, saying it has helped him to match his skills against the leading young executives in the Sultanate. “It was a very interesting journey,” he explains. “I was very lucky to be nominated and selected to participate in this experience. Every stage in the process was very challenging especially when you are competing against Oman’s top young business professionals.”
No success without planning
Being a recipient of the NTI BizPro awards in 2016, what advice would he like to give young Omanis, who are looking to embark upon a career? In his reply, Ammar highlights the importance of planning well in advance, of spotting a mentor who can guide and advise them and of constantly equipping oneself with education and training. He says, “My advice to young Omanis who started their professional careers is to find a mentor in their organisation who can always guide them and tell them the right thing to do. You should also picture yourself achieving something impressive one day and then work towards reaching there and make your own five-year plan. The most important thing is to always educate yourself and try to get higher qualifications.”
For his part, Ammar is looking forward to studying further and getting a degree in Change Management which he believes can help him reach his five-year plan.
However, he managed to strike a better work-life balance and finds out sufficient time for his hobbies and passions outside the job. He loves to travel and explore the world and likes to do camping and trekking.

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