Would Your Professional Grass Be Greener Elsewhere? Thought-provoking Ideas from the TICF Career Development Series “All I Know So Far”

As part of the “All I Know So Far” series, Toyota Industries Commercial Finance (TICF) welcomed Ahmed Arif, Senior Director of Regional Offices at Bastian Solutions, a Toyota company, who shared insights from a major career decision and emphasized the importance of building and maintaining a network.  

In 2013, one of Ahmed’s key professional moments came when he decided to step away from a vital role at Bastian, but returned a mere seven months later after realizing the new organization’s culture wasn’t for him. Fortunately, even though he had left in the middle of a high-profile project, his track record was so positive that he was able to boomerang back to Bastian.

“You want to maintain those good working relationships.”

The switch happened when Ahmed began to feel burned out from the pace of a crucial project, despite his appreciation at being selected for the team. When a former colleague introduced him to his new employer, Ahmed decided a change would be positive. First, he made sure the Bastian project was sufficiently documented and supported before departing. Although he didn’t know it at the time, this decision helped pave the way for his eventual return.

It wasn’t long into his new position that Ahmed recognized that the company wasn’t a good fit. It was challenging to make an impact without the foundation of the personal and professional capital he had built at Bastian over the years, and he realized that the company’s culture and perspective on customer success didn’t align with his own beliefs.

That awareness led him to reconsider his time at Bastian, where these values were engrained in the culture. After deciding to return to Bastian, he relied on the positive relationships he had maintained throughout this time. To his relief, he learned that the project he left was successfully wrapping up, in part because of the positive state in which he had left it.

Today he aims to help other people develop professional progress, while also focusing on his own. He follows the example of Warren Buffett, who reads vast amounts every day. “You accumulate so much wisdom by reading,” Ahmed says, citing the 60-plus books he has read over the past five years as critical to his growth.

Teams are the fabric that make an organization what it is. … Things start to fall apart when a team is not healthy.”

One of the most important things his experience taught him is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. “The grass is greenest where you water it,” Ahmed says. “Every company has its challenges, but each employee should be thinking about how he or she can help with improvements. It’s the difference between an organization that’s just average and one that’s great.”

Interested in watering your own professional lawn? Ahmed shared some of the top books and podcasts that help feed his curiosity.


  • Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
  • The Score Takes Care of Itself, Bill Walsh
  • Good to Great, Jim Collins
  • Great by Choice, Jim Collins
  • Built to Last, Jim Collins
  • Shoe Dog, Phil Knight
  • It’s Your Ship, Captain Michael D. Abrashoff
  • Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution, Chris McChesney
  • Team of Teams, General Stanley McChrystal
  • The Challenger Sale, Matt Dixon
  • Moneyball, Michael Lewis
  • The Lean Startup, Eric Ries
  • Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore
  • Principles, Ray Dalio
  • Developing the Leaders Around You, John C. Maxwell


  • The Tim Ferriss Show
  • The Jordan Harbinger Show
  • Private Equity Funcast

  • Jocko Podcast

  • Sales Leadership

  • Live Better. Sell Better.