“It takes courage to envision and to decide embarking on a journey and arriving at the desired destination. Only a few people have this kind of courage and as such, as a ship Captain by profession with long experience, I envisioned and decided to take a long stormy journey,” says Avni Ponari. He is the CEO of SIGAL UNIQA Group Austria and Chairman of the Management Board of SIGAL UGA LIFE Kosovo. He is considered as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country and having extensive experience in leading the most successful company in the insurance market in Albania and the Region.
On becoming proﬁcient business leader, Avni opines “to reach at the destination must face several challenges and no one better than a captain can know and understand what it takes. Of course, every destination has its own diﬃculties, because you must face with diﬀerent factors.”
According to Avni, a good Captain must have a good ship and must know how to sail at open sea. Prior to deciding on your journey, you need to know where you are going, how will you go there and who your companions will be. For Avni, the above-mentioned components enabled him to choose the right direction.
“Business is a special quality of very special people”
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Insights Success and Avni Ponari:
How do you diversify your organization’s oﬀerings to entice the target audience?
In order to reach at the destination that you have imposed on yourself, you must have a professional and dedicated staﬀ as for each of you makes sure to do right his job in order to arrive easier at the destination. And it is very important that the people that are by your side to feel appreciated and be at the same speed and vector as you.
For a business challenge it is necessary to adequately asses who your competitors are and what could be your factors of obstacle, to ﬁnd the right paths, to avoid storms and strong winds and to be at the right place, where you have everything under control and to lead not only the company, but also the market as a whole, to push and force the boundaries of your competitors to follow you and to adequately follow and lead and to never stop during your journey or to let it ﬂow freely.
Have you drawn professional inspiration from other business leader? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.
The biggest business names are always an inspiration, but each of us acts in diﬀerent terrains and varying purchasing powers. Small markets don’t provide the opportunity that big markets do for which the risks and proﬁts would be 100 times bigger and higher.
So, besides being on the fortunate side, in the right market and with the right ideas, you become an inspirational model with special qualities for the other parts and members of the market.
What have you learned about leadership, entrepreneurship and mentoring others?
There are already several concepts that level all leaders as us under tension. To follow or lead people, to always be an ambitious initiator aiming higher and to not be pleased or conformed with small achievements just for your own wellbeing and that of your family, to take leadership steps and lead not by imposition, but by new initiatives, ideas, innovations and to lead your staﬀ and keep them under continuous coherence by creating and providing them with new ideas, these are some of the main elements that a successful business leader must have.
In business every day is a new beginning, a new initiative, and the administration and use of these ideas on the business proﬁt is of an outmost importance.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
Being a business leader is a very requiring quality and proﬁle, it is challenging and many times it is diﬃcult and problematic for us to maintain a balance and it is our families who suﬀer the more.
There are two sides of a coin: On one side, the family demands a person who can guarantee his families prosperity and incomes, but they also want you to be there, at home with them.
On the other side, our job demands from us to be full-time in the oﬃce, day and night, this conﬂicts with the other side of the coin. As such it is challenging to keep an ideal balance, but we always make our best eﬀorts to ﬁnd more time to dedicate to our precious families, even though often this is not enough. Therefore, a proportionate equilibrium is diﬃcult and challenging and more importantly when you are the founder and leader of a company for more than 21 years.
How do you cope up with capricious technological trends to boost your personal growth?
Today, everywhere, the world is transformed into a vast technological labyrinth. What is new today tomorrow is old. Today the leaders, the entrepreneurs are facing huge advanced disruptive technologies, but what is all this technology? Who knows!
Then the solution is: keep by your side the right people who know this technology, who have thorough researching qualities, who take initiatives, who can trace and easily adopt what the market wants, needs and expects and to take the rights steps in adopting and adjusting this advanced technology as for to not become old too soon, and to always be one step ahead of all the others.
What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
Each investment and endeavor have its limitations, which require due diligence and adaptation with the times and age. Big ideas impose a bigger risk and threats to the future management, especially for small markets.
This is the reason why we need to act with caution and maturity, to take careful steps and paths that lead to success. Experience is key and fundamental, and you also must recognize, appreciate and control yourself through conﬁdence, self-control to do what you must do. There are always spaces for big business ideas. It takes great competencies and visionary leadership qualities to lead a large and successful business.
What advice would you like to give to the emerging business leaders?
Take careful steps, walk in unexplored paths matching your own strength and power. Even though the competition is huge, walk as if you are the only one in the market, implementing cautious strategies, always building new paths, making new discoveries, recruiting new, young and professional staﬀ.
A stormy sea, despite its wave’s magnitude and power, the ship and the Captain must be experienced and have required available advanced technology to reach at the destination, at the ﬁnal goal. Here, however, the captain’s role is crucial to arrive at that destination well-equipped and complete.