Who says you can’t have dreams in today’s business environment? To not have vision is to not have ambition. To not have ambition is to not have regard for yourself and others around you.
It is sad to know there are people who can’t see over the horizon. They walk towards it but when they reach it, they stop and don’t know whether to go left or right. So they stay where they are, lacking challenges and bogging further down into their own personal mire.
When people ask ‘why?’, the answer should be, ‘why not?’. The word ‘can’t’ doesn’t exist in the dictionaries of visionaries, captains of industry nor business owner’s dictionary. They say the word ‘CAN’T’ doesn’t exist because in every situation, whatever the hurdles ahead, ‘YOU CAN’.
Lack of experience or self-confidence should not prevent anyone from trying nor taking up opportunities. Look at some of the recognised world leaders: John F Kennedy for example – he refused to believe there is any other alternative to CAN. The CEOs of global conglomerates such as P&G, IBM and their ilk refuse to take ”CAN’T’ on the chin. These are leaders of men. Take Dany Bahar, CEO of Group Lotus, for example. He has actually proven this in both his personal and professional life; the word ‘can’t’ is obsolete. Undoubtedly, this attitude has led people to question his motives, but not his achievements.
When in the past, people have told him he can’t do something or, more maddeningly, that ‘it is not possible’, he got annoyed. Such is his determination of character and natural instinct that he has taken negative comments and turned them into positives actions. In fact, in every instance, he has gone out of his way to prove his disbelievers wrong, such is his nature.
There is a deep-rooted ambition inside people like Bahar – a motivation to achieve something extraordinary, something that goes beyond the norm, which propels them on. By focusing on the negativity of individuals, he believes that situations can be turned around to a positive energy. This has led to several conflicts in the past but only with those who lack vision. Although this approach has led to some individuals thinking him arrogant, this has never been his emotion nor intention.
He comes from very humble beginnings: his mother was originally a hotel cleaner and his father an electrician, but they both eventually aspired and achieved greater things. This gave him the inspiration to aspire to greater things and to accept opportunities when he was lucky to have been given them.
People like Bahar have never been attracted by so-called ‘normality’. They have never followed ‘the crowd’ as they say. They are people of their own convictions. They don’t want to walk in other people’s footsteps – they’d rather walk in their own.
They strive to achieve something different and the Dany Bahars of the world embrace things which are different. When he was given the opportunity join Group Lotus he embraced it. He had to put up with his cynics – those who said they didn’t know the ‘real’ Bahar – who said he was an enigma. But people like this man shrug it all off and say ”Does it really matter?
They are who they are and that’s what really matters and that’s also what makes them want to drive their businesses forward. In Bahar’s case it is driving the Group Lotus brand and propelling it – against the odds, mind you – back to the glories of its past but with a futuristic frame of mind.
He’s only been in the driving seat for a little over 18 months and he wouldn’t have moved from Ferrari if he hadn’t believed in himself and knew that the Lotus brand, which he already knew so well from his formative years, was destined for greater things.
He took over the helm from a very much respected, accomplished and able CEO – Mike Kimberley. He had to follow in great footsteps. But he was also coming from a different direction and he wouldn’t have been true to himself if he hadn’t employed the principles of his experience from the past. Where Kimberley was first and foremost a brilliant engineer, Bahar comes from another discipline. This was probably why his appointment was viewed with a certain amount of cynicism from both the media and those in the industry.
But everyone brings their own talents to a job. He is proof that if you apply the ‘why not’ attitude then you can succeed.
His real start in business came in the ’90s when he saw a vacuum in the sponsorship marketplace. His ‘why not?’ attitude led him to approach Benetton, a major multinational, when he was promoting in-line skating in Switzerland.
He was young and inexperienced, but had the arrogance of youth and the vision to believe that he could achieve something with that project. It set the stage for the next level of his career and he’s not looked back. With this philosophy, he has instilled an inspiration into the Group Lotus workforce.
Bahar – and others like him say that everyone has the opportunity to be inspired and to aspire to greater things and so perhaps ‘why not?’ should become the mantra for everyone. It has certainly worked for Dany Bahar.