Who: Dr B S Dana
What: Chairman and managing Director of Dana Group
How do you typically start your workday?
I have always been a morning person, so I’m usually up at the crack of dawn, catching up on daily news. It’s very important to stay on top of all the socio-economic changes happening in the world, particularly when you run a business. Then, I go for a walk by the Dubai Creek, which helps me reflect on my plans for the Dana Group and get ready for the day ahead.
Describe your work in a sentence.
I like to believe that most of my work involves inspiring my team to make every day count, and, in the process, help them become much better people.
What is your #1 personal principle/success mantra at work?
True success comes to those who have good work ethics, and balance their time between work and family. I also believe in being completely transparent and candid with both my team and my clients as it lets you get the right buy-in from people and also helps them give you the right feedback to help you succeed further.
In your workday, what is the one thing you cannot do without?
I can’t do without two things, actually – my morning walk and my BlackBerry. Even though I no longer interfere in the day-to-day affairs of the company, I love to catch up on news about our various business segments – steel, oil, retail and healthcare. The Dana Group is highly diversified, so I need to keep myself abreast of all current affairs.
What has been your most challenging project to date?
The most challenging project for me was to enter business, with no family or educational background in the subject. I am a general surgeon by qualification and used to be the head of department of general surgery at the University Hospital in Libya. The kind of respect that came along with that profession was priceless; however, to leave it all behind and take a very risky plunge into business required a lot of willpower. When I moved to Dubai in 1991, I was very naïve; I knew neither the local language nor had the business acumen, and I used to trust people blindly, just like I used to trust my patients. My patients never lied to me as they wanted me to understand their illness; however, in business it’s completely different – everybody you come across is incredibly smart and has a hidden agenda. So, it was really hard for me to understand it all. But with the support of my family and my team, I was able to build the Dana brand across many industries in the UAE.
Who’s your role model as the perfect professional?
Nobody is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn the positives from various professionals. I stand by this quote by Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
Your favourite indulgence when you need a break from work?
My favourite indulgence outside of work would have to be a leisurely walk around the Creek or a long drive with my wife, Dr Sudesh Yadav. She has always been my pillar of strength.
What is your greatest dream, professionally?
Recently, I was featured on the Forbes Middle East list of Top Indian Leaders in the Arab World 2015. The recognition I get from such rankings motivates me to work even harder, and keep my staff and team upbeat as well.