The traditional and typical view of a company’s CEO is that of someone sitting in a large office where only a few people dare to approach him or her.
CEOs are seen as inaccessible and distant. Employees often think of management as aloof and therefore minimize interaction with those in leadership positions. This was the standard definition of a company leader. However, that is finally changing, with an increasing number of CEOs taking a more direct and personal approach.I have never fit into the mold of “traditional leader.” When I began my enterprise over 40 years ago, I started small and stayed in constant contact with those at the grassroots. One could argue that now that I’m successful I don’t need to interact with those who are usually viewed as part of the lower rungs of society.
However, I strongly believe that this opinion is completely wrong and why so many companies struggle to maintain their success and integrity as the years go forward. It is my deeply held belief that the heart and soul of my company are the talented and hardworking artisans at the grassroots level.
I try my best to make sure that those at the grassroots level never forget how important they are to the entire company. This keeps me humble and is a reminder for me of where I started so many years ago. I often think about those days when it was just me and a few others in small villages, observing and working closely with weavers.
My business is a success, but it did not happen without hitting some rough patches along the way. I have not always been successful. I have and continue to make mistakes. No one is infallible. But how you react to your mistakes makes the difference. When you embrace and learn from errors, it demonstrates that you are being honest with yourself and others.
This is a message that I try to convey to the students that I interact with. I feel it is my responsibility to guide the next generation of business leaders. I have been very lucky in my life and have learned an immense amount while taking this journey. It is only fair that I share this with others and hope that they don’t make the same mistakes that I did.
When I was young, there was no one to guide me about the essentials of business. Today, with easier methods of communication and improved education, future business leaders have a great advantage. That is why I believe that I have a responsibility to help these future leaders. I want them to have all the tools that I lacked so they can reach even greater heights.
If I can inspire just one person to create an organization that uplifts and empowers those at the grassroots of society, then I will feel that I have truly achieved the greatest success.