Instilling Leadership at Every Level
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I have a great interview for you in the name of Good Business.
We have a lot to learn about teaching accountability and leadership at every level, and as I travel around Nepal I’m learning a lot about leadership, cultural context, and how some things transcend cultural differences and add up to great business results. Sanjay Lal Kharel sat down with me today to talk about his leadership at a healthcare organization, Ayurveda Health Home, a business run on strong values and a strong work ethic.
I was teaching accounting and finance, and before that I was in a stable government job. After only two years, I decided to leave because it wasn’t compatible with what I wanted to develop in my life. When I left, many friends said I was a fool to leave a secure job, but I knew it was right to leave.
I was teaching at university and looking for a professional job. In Kathmandu, according to my qualifications I could have joined a financial institution or any other commercial venture, but I realized that how they perform the work in following the wisdom of life and nature. In my job now, we work, and then we leave. We have some balance. Most work is too much stress. We need to lead our life in a natural, positive way. Because I’ve chosen a healthy company that values life without stress, I am happier, more fulfilled in my work. I am enjoying. We are all better at our jobs because we value enjoying.
My late father would say work is not a joke, just try to learn each and every moment. If you make a mistake, learn from that mistake. If you fall down just learn. Get up again the next time. While working, enjoy it. It is a responsibility, but you can enjoy it. At first it was hard for me to enjoy, but now I do. We spend so much of our life at work. Why not enjoy?
In Nepal if you are in a banking job, you are constantly stressed and possessive. When you become possessive, you have a fear of loss. If you have more stress, you make more mistakes. Your stress increases. The next day, you can’t perform well. If one member of the company can’t perform well, the effect moves to someone else. After awhile, the stress infects the whole team, then the whole organization. At Ayurveda Health Home we want the whole team, the whole organization to operate from their best, not their worst.
If each and every member works like a family member, like a team member, then together they can find healthy solutions. If they are like strangers and just perform their own job without anyone else, the work suffers. We spend a lot of time developing our culture, our feeling of family inside of the organization.
I have learned so much from working with the partners in our organization, including Mr. Badri Koirala and Dr. Rishi Ram Koirala, they have great wisdom for me to learn from. I have been applying that wisdom in my pratical life. When I apply them, I don’t feel stress. They say according to our Ayurveda principles, whatever has happened, take it easy. Try to learn. In the next move, just correct it. Don’t create stress where we don’t have to. Create peace, create harmony, create joy.
I moved from part time accountant to chief accountant, and then when the company opened a second branch I was promoted again to running the new branch. I am a branch manager for two regions, and my daily activity I handle financial matters, I deal with the clients, and my job is to satisfy the clients. I help clients to enjoy their environment, their treatments. I look after how the staff is performing, their personal issues. I take care of problems and I handle them.
Here is an example of a problem I had to fix. Emotional challenges are the hardest. The consequences have to be bourne by the company. I need to find those problems and to find out the right solutions. That is my top job. There was someone on my staff who got married. After getting married she has to stay with her new husband. For a newly married couple it can be very hard – their financial situation was difficult, and they had a great deal of stress. It was impractical for her, and her family was pressuring her to stay home rather than go to our new branch for training. She had a difficult time with attendance, with her emotional well being. My late father always thinks that we need to think about others, the other members of her family. To counsel her with what was happening in her emotional life, I got our executive staff together to bring the family together and meet with us. We helped them look at their financial issues, their family pressure. Later on she passed the training, her finances improved, we found a job for her husband. Right now she is pregnant and will have a child soon. It is a happy story in the end. It took work, and in Nepali culture it is important to help the whole family. This helps our whole work family.
In our organization when we recruit we are very clear with our job descriptions. We first teach what the goal of the company is, to help the client. That is part of every job. The goal of Ayurveda Health Home is to establish Ayurveda as a treasure of Nepali culture. To be the highest quality of treatments around the world. We spark healing in each individual who comes for treatment. They achieve inner harmony, and we make the world better. Everyone on our staff really feels like they are contributing to this goal, and it is highly motivating. We have almost no staff turnover, which is rare for Nepal. Most organizations have a very high turnover with people moving and changing their life circumstances. We have created a different kind of working environment. We value learning and motivation.
Why are we in this particular company? We give each and every staff member motivation and responsibility. We have an agreement. We will provide them security, they will do an excellent job. They are a team, and we need them to play as a professional team. We teach them all to be leaders and team players.