October 2019 - Nand Kishore Chaudhary

Women and their exemplary capabilities

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NK Chaudhary's Women and their exemplary capabilities

We can’t afford to ignore women any longer..
In India, we worship female goddesses without blinking an eye. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and anyone who does business will no doubt embrace her. It is also said that when a girl is born or a woman enters a home after marriage that Lakshmi has arrived.

However powerful this sentiment, the reality of how women are treated on a daily basis is far different. I have three daughters and because of this have been viewed negatively. When a daughter is born in India, while some will say that a Lakshmi has been born to the family, there are many others who view this innocent girl child as a curse.

Some people pitied my wife and me because daughters were born in my family, but I was overjoyed. I saw and still see no difference between my daughters and my sons. In fact, women are stronger and more resilient than men are in almost every aspect.

I have always been aware of the preferential treatment given to boys in my native country. Things are improving but we have a long way to go before true equality is achieved. In my younger days, I made the acquaintance of a British photographer who was traveling in India. We eventually became good friends and had many long and meaningful discussions about life and the local artisans.

But one conversation we had really stood out. I asked my friend why women are viewed so negatively and recounted my own experience with having three daughters. He told me that I am the luckiest person in the world because I have three daughters. He went on to explain that women are much more efficient and receptive than men are.

I did not let societal negativity from stopping me when it came to educating my daughters. They received as much education as their brothers. I can say for certain that it is the contributions of my daughters that have made our company the global success that it is today.

It is well known that girls mature faster than boys but many in society fail to accept this and also ignore the fact that women can do such amazing things if given the opportunity. India is a country where the full potential of women is not recognized and this is a shame because this is a huge loss.

It is estimated that India could be 27% richer if more women were able to contribute to the workforce, according to an article in The Economist. This is an amazing fact and one that I am proud to say that I support. In our organization, a large number of women make up our artisan workforce. We are strong believers in supporting and nurturing a woman’s natural talent.

Some of our best leaders at the local level are women. Women in rural settings are the ones who take care of the household. This is true leadership because it is the women who raise the children, do the household chores and manage income. Women are natural-born leaders and take our organization to completely new levels.

Women are very eager to learn and contribute. Rural women are burdened with household duties but when given a chance to flourish they can do even more amazing things. They know better than anyone what needs to be done to progress and move forward.

We are a small organization but we have made a concerted effort to encourage women because we recognize the amazing contributions they make when given a chance. Imagine all of the progress India – and the world – could make if the other half of the population were given the same opportunities as everyone else.

Give employees the gift of creative freedom

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NK Chaudhary's Give employees the gift of creative freedom

One of the biggest problems I see today involves creativity. This especially applies to the business world. I am not talking about an absence of creativity. There is abundant creativity everywhere you look.

The issue is that creativity is often stifled, especially in the business community. This is due to a basic lack of trust on the part of leaders and management. Leaders wrongly believe that they are the only ones who can handle business matters.

When I first started my business, I also had this attitude and spent a great deal of time micromanaging my people. This is the worst thing that a leader can do with employees because it demonstrates that you do not trust your workers enough to do the work they were hired to do.

When leaders operate on this level, it comes from a very selfish and egotistical place. I finally realized that if I wanted the company to succeed then I would have to trust my employees and allow them a certain amount of freedom.

This decision was also important for my personal growth as well because if I had continued to micromanage employees then I would also be at a disadvantage. Without the benefit of my employees’ information and insight, my company would not be able to sustain success. That is because old ideas cause stagnation.

When employees are allowed to express themselves and offer their personal wisdom, then organizations expand and grow. When you have the same people making decisions day after day, nothing moves forward.

Everyone has creativity within. Some of us are aware that we have innovative ideas but are not allowed to express them due to micromanagement. Others have never been given the opportunity to discover the creativity within them. It is the job of a good leader to trust workers so that they nurture and express their creativity. Good leaders will also work to find the hidden capabilities within people who may not be aware of their talents.

When employees are not given freedom they feel that they are not trusted. Without trust, no relationship can survive and eventually employees will look elsewhere for employees. High turnover rates cause a lot of disruption in organizations so companies need to do everything they can to retain workers.

One of the simplest things that can be done to do this is to give workers the freedom to take full advantage of their ideas and creativity. The best part is this method does not cost any money. What your organization can gain from more ideas and input is priceless.

Know how to hire and retain your employees

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NK Chaudhary's Know how to hire and retain your employees

Finding the perfect employee is next to impossible. Many companies spend too much time trying to find a person that they think will meet every one of their expectations. It is a waste of time because nobody is perfect. Many human resources departments make the mistake of trying to find someone that matches the exact criteria of the position. Not only does this waste time, but it also increases the chance of passing over an employee that at first glance may not have every qualification desired, but still might be a good hire.

Once employees are hired, it is up to leaders and managers to work hard to keep them happy and satisfied so that they do not go to another company. Because the economy has improved in recent years, it has become harder for companies to retain employees because they have more employment options. However, good leaders can take steps to make sure their employees grow with the company.

I always make sure that prospective employees are aware of our organization’s culture and that their values align with our own. Any mismatch will result in problems later on so it is better to be clear in the beginning.

I also believe in giving freedom to employees. When they feel trusted, people tend to shine and contribute much more to the success of the mission. When employees feel like they are micromanaged, they will not feel a sense of belonging resulting in frustration and a lack of creativity.

Retaining the best employees becomes a lot easier when they have good managers. Managers need to be the type of people who can bring a certain level of understanding and patience to the job. They must make sure that employees feel comfortable and can communicate freely. Managers should have the ability to help employees grow into their roles and with the company.

It should be clear to employees what their role is at the organization. Any ambiguity will lead to confusion and frustration. It is also wherein good Leadership comes in. Not only should job responsibilities be clearly defined when an employee first joined, but goals should be reinforced regularly. This way, employees and managers have a good understanding of who needs to do what. Employees will also feel more comfortable knowing that their goals are reviewed and refined regularly.

Employees will be motivated to remain with a company that values their well-being. Leaders must acknowledge that their workers are more than just employees. They have to embrace that employees are human beings with feelings and needs. When an employee is appreciated, he or she is more likely to be loyal and work hard. That is because they feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves.

Everyone who joins Jaipur Rugs is given the freedom to explore their passion and work towards it. This passion automatically translates into quality work.
When I started my work, I took a big risk and knew that there would be difficult times ahead. However, my love and passion for weavers and their work made everything much easier.

Lastly, the actual environment in which you work is another factor that many take for granted. People spend a significant portion of their day at the office, so it makes sense for a company to make sure that the physical space is comfortable and conducive to both collaboration and quiet-type work.

It takes much effort to find the right employee, so it makes sense for the entire organization to do whatever it can – within reason – to keep your people happy.

Compassion results in flourishing businesses & happy teams

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NK Chaudhary's Compassion results in flourishing businesses & happy teams

If there is one thing missing in the world, it is compassion. Too often we are preoccupied with our own needs and fail to see that others require help. This is because many of us are guided by our egos, which takes us to places where we only see one rather than the whole.

In many ways, we can say that the ego is based in passion. While passion is a great thing to have in many aspects, it can also be a hindrance. That is because with passion, we are often focusing on our own pleasure and benefit. When we are passionate about something it can translate into being a benefit for the self rather than for others. People are passionate about their own projects, work or significant others.

I think of passion as akin to having a fever. When a person has a fever, he or she often cannot think clearly and is not conscious in a way because the illness is controlling them. It is the same with passion. As a result, a person in this state cannot make decisions in a rational manner. A person who is unconscious can often take extreme measures resulting in disaster.

Compassion, on the other hand, is completely selfless because it focuses on others. For too long, passion has been an underlying factor in running businesses. While this can be a positive factor in a company’s success, passion is too often solely directed toward making as much profit as possible.

When I was young, I had a tendency to study nature for hours. This gave me a sense of calmness and wonder. I would also watch local weavers in my village intently. There was an intense connection between the weavers and my surrounding. This endeavor began as a passion for the weavers’ art and slowly transformed into compassion for them.

Once I began operating with compassion in mind, I realized that love is the basis of everything. No matter how much name and fame our company attains, if we do not have love as the foundation of our efforts, then this or any other organization will not be sustainable in the long run.

Thankfully, an increasing number of organizations are beginning to incorporate compassion. These conscious capitalists are realizing that in order to create sustainable businesses they must transition their targets from profits to people.

It took me some time to reach the stage of accepting compassion as the basis of our organization. After my children joined our family business and the company began to expand. As businesses expand, problems also increase.

It would have been easy for me to abandon my dream of sustaining a business based on love and compassion and instead follow a road that would lead to a more financially beneficial scenario. However, I could not abandon my original mission of running a business with compassion. I realized that if I lose sight of the artisans – and of love and compassion – then my organization would never be sustainable.

Compassion allows me to stay grounded. If I took a different route I may have more fame and money but eventually the ego would lead me to crash and burn. That is not how I want to live my life or run my organization. Companies built on compassion and love are the ones who have a bright and sustainable future.