Earning the title of CEO is a huge accomplishment. Doing it eight times over is almost unheard of.
Fred Mouawad, the French-Lebanese serial entrepreneur and heir to the world-renowned Mouawad diamond jewelry company, has managed to do just that by the age of 45.
Mouawad, who is worth an estimated $US1.1 billion, according to research firm Wealth-X, first became a chief executive just after graduating from Harvard Business School in 1994 when he founded Synergia One Group.
He has since founded and become CEO of six more companies — including tech, consulting, food, retail, and media businesses — and also runs the 125-year-old family business, Mouawad Jewelry (the only company of which he’s chief executive that he didn’t also found).
“As a serial entrepreneur I have spent a lot of time building businesses from scratch,” Mouawad tells Business Insider, “learning all there is to learn about the business, building a team, and slowly moving myself out of a job. As my portfolio is growing, I have the dual responsibility of incubating a new venture while also overseeing the other companies in the portfolio.”
Here are five of the most important things Mouawad says he’s learned throughout his career as an eight-time CEO:
1. Know thyself.
Mouawad explains that it’s extremely important for leaders to be self-aware, to constantly reflect, and to figure out how to improve their leadership. “We all have blind spots, so it’s important to constantly seek and provide feedback in a respectful and safe environment to drive continuous improvements.” Once leaders understand themselves, they can figure out what team to surround themselves with to maximise value.
2. You are only as good as the people around you.
“The best teams usually win,” he says. “It’s all about having the right people, in the right positions, and with the right motivation to fulfil the organisation’s mission and goals.”
3. Connect the dots between the internal and external worlds.
Too often leaders are either too internally or externally focused, Mouawad explains. “The art of balancing the two is critical in order to find the right alignment between the organisation and the marketplace.”
4. Developing a mental framework is crucial to success.
Mouawad says he has basically approached every business with the same mental framework — and at least some of his success can be attributed to it.
“I first define where the business should be in the future so it is customer-centric and competitive. I then focus on building the right team with the right attitude, skills, and will to succeed; I make sure we have the right capital; and then I focus on building the culture that’s required to win at the game we choose to play.”
5. Monitor your company’s culture, and know it will change.
Culture is the most difficult and dynamic aspect of building a business, he says. “It morphs all the time based on the people in leadership positions. It has to be constantly monitored, but once you get it right, it becomes a powerful driver of execution.”
Want your business advice featured in Instant MBA? Submit your tips to [email protected] Be sure to include your name, your job title, and a photo of yourself in your email.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.