The science of leadership

by Madelein
The science of leadership

Leadership is a process, not just a title and it requires commitment to values, hard work and stewardship, says CEO of Van Dyck Floors, Dr Mehran Zarrebini. It largely affects the organisational culture and defines the environment in which employees work. Employees are diverse so a leader has to incite action in others simply through mastering the skills of communication and motivation.

Van Dyck Floors has turned diversity into opportunity by using newfound knowledge of different cultures, education and backgrounds. The company has an open, collaborative atmosphere that seeks to take advantage of many different but complementary competencies.

“In business, there are many barriers. For instance, during the life cycle of a product, sales will eventually diminish as competitors release products into the market that have similar or better characteristics and features. In the manufacturing environment, this tends to suppress growth,” explains Dr Mehran.

According to Dr Mehran, overcoming these types of strategic challenges requires a different kind of thinking. Analytical and problem-solving skills are important when you are in the position of leadership, and you need to have the ability to listen critically.

“Some business people don’t do that enough. They are more comfortable dictating to their employees, while others prefer a more collaborative approach. It’s always a good idea to tap into the creativity of your staff as they can generate great ideas that will ultimately drive growth,” says Dr Mehran.

Commitment to service and making a difference is also an essential ingredient of leadership today, says Dr Mehran. The company’s latest investment in Hammarsdale is a majority black-owned tyre recycling facility that produces rubber crumb, with between 70% and 80% of its output going into the manufacturing of acoustic underlays for any kind of floorcovering (Vinyl, Laminates, Bamboo, Engineered Wood, Parquet, Carpets and even Ceramic & Porcelain Tiles). This has given Van Dyck Floors the opportunity to diversify their portfolio of products, with a strong emphasis on sustainability and community development.

“With South African businesses requiring environmental stewardship, it is interesting to note that Van Dyck Floors is amongst the most active and progressive companies addressing these issues, with annual greenhouse gas emission reduction exceeding 40% since 2012. This year we are committed to further reducing our carbon footprint,” says Dr Mehran.

New partnerships and developments
One of Van Dyck’s goals for 2017 is to build new relationships with other partners in the industry both locally and internationally. Partnerships across different fields of flooring allow the company to purchase what is required for distribution through their networks, resulting in a growing market share.

“New products are being introduced, new types of carpeting are being developed for specific uses and Van Dyck Floors will bring these innovative products to the South African market,” says Dr Mehran.

One of these products is Athena Woven Vinyl flooring which is manufactured from strips of vinyl that are produced in sheets and cut into tiles. This product gives flexibility of choice where a neutral base is brightened by a bright solid colour or pattern blocks to customise a flooring design. These woven vinyl tiles are hard wearing, washable and come in a wide range of colours, patterns and shapes (triangles, hexagonal, octagonal and wing-shape).

“Customers want something different, as well as a variety of options, and need their supplier to be flexible and able to supply quickly,” comments Dr Mehran.

Cultivating a growth mind-set
In order to achieve a growth mind-set, business owners must believe that their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, being humble and by having the ability to listen.

“While these requirements seem trivial, they are often a challenge for many business leaders. Power and influence will often inhibit a business leader from developing a growth mind-set. There is so much to learn from working with others, especially in a diverse environment like South Africa. If we can create and provide a collaborative and participatory approach to business within the organisation where we work, then employees feel empowered and committed, which ultimately drives growth,” concludes Dr Mehran.

About Van Dyck Floors CEO, Dr Mehran Zarrebini

CEO of Van Dyck Floors, Dr Mehran Zarrebini, holds a degree in chemical engineering, a PhD and an MBA and he has 15 years’ experience in start-up, buyout, turnaround and international sales. He has worked in the flooring, plastic extrusion, property and recycling industries in South and Southern Africa. Dr Mehran has helped organisations innovate and develop unique and efficient business processes, enabling them to be transformational in their industries.

For more information, contact Van Dyck Carpets on +27 (31) 913 3800 via www.vandyckcarpets.com.

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