Of Ladders and Snakes: A CEO’s Odyssey in Giga Projects

Khair Ull Nissa Sheikh(Executive Director at World Trade Center) - March 10, 2024 - - 0 |
Of Ladders and Snakes: A CEO's Odyssey in Giga Projects

In the midst of a holiday season, where the spirit of festivity enveloped every corner, an unexpected chapter of introspection began with a seemingly simple game of “Snakes and Ladders,” played with my daughter. Little did I anticipate that the vibrant game board and the roll of the dice would unfurl profound parallels between this classic game and my experiences as a lead immersed in ambitious (giga) projects, where every snake had a ladder, and every ladder had a snake.

Cultivating Micro-Communities within Giga Developments:

Within the vast expanse of giga projects, where complexities echoed the twists and turns of the game board, my focus transitioned to the delicate task of nurturing micro-communities. These were not mere segments within colossal developments; they were crucibles for connection, innovation, and sustainable living. As I engaged in discussions at the global real estate conference, the resonance of the game’s theme became evident. Emphasizing the significance of micro-mobility and local community infrastructure underscored the idea that it wasn’t just about erecting structures; it was about creating environments that breathed life, enriching the lives of those who would inhabit these spaces.

Navigating Dual Realities:

Much like the game mirrored life’s dualities—ascending ladders of progress and confronting the unexpected snakes of setbacks—so did my journey in giga projects. The mandate became clear: embrace both aspects. Setbacks were not acknowledgments of defeat but rather opportunities for invaluable learning. Victories were to be celebrated with a grace that acknowledged the collective effort. Resilience emerged as the compass propelling our ascent, while an unwavering vision kept us steadfastly on course.

Purpose-Driven Leadership:

Amidst the twists and turns, the need for purpose-driven leadership became ever more apparent. Whether ascending a ladder or navigating a snake’s twist, the ultimate goal remained the transformational advancement of the nation. Every decision needed to align seamlessly with this overarching mission, and distractions that deviated from the path were to be ruthlessly discarded. Whether in the intricacies of negotiating contracts or envisioning urban regeneration, my gaze remained fixed on the horizon, where the purpose shone brightest.

Humility Amid Grandeur:

In the grandeur of giga projects, where fortunes changed as swiftly as the game’s snakes dictated, humility emerged as a guiding principle. Gratitude anchored us as stewards of progress, acknowledging that we were part of something larger than ourselves. Rising with humility in the face of stumbling became paramount, for our legacy lay not just in the structures we created but in uplifting the communities intertwined with these projects.

Investment in People:

Giga projects, I soon realized, were more than just structures; they were ecosystems that fueled growth. Investing in our team—comprising architects, engineers, and dreamers—took precedence. Leadership extended beyond titles, and the nurturing of talent became pivotal for both individual and collective flourishing. It was an ensemble act, and as we fostered our team, the organizational culture flourished, akin to the vibrant hues on the game board.

Timing Matters:

The game taught us the importance of patience, waiting for turns. Similarly, as leaders, we respected timing—both ours and others’. Resilience and adaptability were essential traits to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. Our decisions, much like the dice roll, had repercussions that resonated through generations. Timing them wisely became an art in itself.

And so, in the grand theatre of giga projects, my role as a leader involved navigating the corporate ladder with resilience and steering the organization towards sustainable success. The journey unfolded unpredictably, much like the roll of the dice. Giga projects transcend structures; they were about shaping legacies, and I found myself privileged to be part of this transformative narrative.

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