Burhan Mirza's advice to entrepreneurs and CEOs: Give up control and rethink 'best practices'

The IT tycoon believes that evolving with time is the key to entrepreneurial success

Press Release


The New York Times published an op-ed by a Swarthmore College Professor entitled, “Rethinking Work.” It begins by quoting a survey last year that found "almost 90% of workers were either 'not engaged' or 'actively disengaged' with their jobs.” In other words, around 9 out of 10 workers spend half of their waking life doing something they don’t want to do at places they don’t want to be.

The question arises, WHY?

Entrepreneur and scaling mentor Burhan Mirza has dedicated his life to challenging the monotonous ideas that limit the ability of employees to perform well. As one of Pakistan's leading IT industry figures, he has contributed significantly to the digitisation of the country and the creation of jobs since the early 2000s.

Businessman Burhan is committed to scaling startups and improving the professional culture by changing the mindsets of those at the top of the corporate ladder. As part of his recent accomplishments, he has successfully mentored budding entrepreneurs through workshops and training sessions. The incredible leadership of Burhan has changed the lives of many striving entrepreneurs who had been on the brink of giving up on their dreams.

On the subject of productivity mindsets at work, Burhan commented:

The thing which most people in power do is that they try to monitor workers for productivity and efficiency by implementing best practices. However, in reality, they end up controlling the creative and decisive potential of the workforce,”

Elaborating on the statement, he mentioned that the moment an organisation declares a practice "best", they create an illusion that they've reached a final stage where there's nothing left to strive for.

“The landscape of work is becoming more dynamic, more unpredictable, and more unstable. Amidst such scenarios, we need to empower our workforces. Invite them to join the table where ideas, approaches, and ‘best practices’ are discussed. We really, I mean REALLY need to stop caging up in the ‘best’ wonderland.”

Talking about the future of work and new business tools, Burhan explained:

“Remember, the word best is always subjective. Your best pizza might turn out to be my worst pizza. Any practice or curriculum should be considered best only if it is up for evolving with time and circumstances. In a century where every day there’s a new update of mere messaging apps, how can we be so rigid with our ages-old processes and continue to call them ‘the best’.

Every once in a while, when I am meeting with startup owners, CEOs, and generally anyone who’s sitting in a fancy-cool office, I hear bosses brag about how they are making their employees follow the same strategy their boss introduced in the late nineties.”

The IT titan believes young people expect more from their work than just pay cheques; they want challenges, engagement, and, most importantly, meaningfulness to contribute to the company's success.

When young minds and fresh voices join our companies, rather than turning them into robots of our culture, we could actually learn new stuff from them. Look at them as bright bulbs roaming around in your office. Share the light, and let them pass it on to others. After all, it is your company that’s going to shine bright,”

Burhan elucidated the mindset shift of the current generation, "A year ago, I learned this word from my then 15-year-old daughter; WOKE. She told me today’s generation is woke.”

According to him, today’s generation is emotionally intelligent and refuses to be exploited. While agreeing with his daughter’s statement, the successful entrepreneur stressed upon the fact, 'If not 100%, maybe 10% of that 24-year-old employee’s pitch is better than our already embedded ‘best practice’ – and we shouldn’t be ashamed of that. Isn’t that how we are supposed to grow and scale; with new ideas and cutting-edge strategies?'

A couple of Mirza's comments went on to explain how he frequently encounters people who disagree with his view that 'hiring fresh talent is critical to the idea-generating process'. He quoted:

My peers reason with me and throw the ‘experience and expertise’ argument at me, and I can’t help but laugh. Because that is what we are supposed to be doing as experienced professionals; refining raw ideas and turning them into the best practices of the time being,”

Despite aspiring to be good bosses, senior managers refuse to change their mentoring methods. There's a common question that everyone has: how can they actually become good bosses?

Burhan believes, “Nothing more can make your team like you than you respecting their ideas, implementing them and appreciating them for it.”

Entrepreneurial success for Burhan lies in evolving with time. Hence, as a leader, he makes sure to get involved and connect with his employees on a personal level. It is the way a company embraces its people that determines its true potential because ultimately, our economic and social systems are shaped by these interactions indeed.

Explore the insights Burhan Mirza shares about thriving in entrepreneurship, or keep an eye out for his upcoming events and speaking engagements here.


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