As the future leaders of this country, this is a time in our history when it is critical that we act as one nation, undivided. This is a time when Nepalese must show our true colors-not black, white, red, yellow, or brown, but red, white, and blue. Patriotism, development, and diversity are not competing priorities, they are interdependent. But even as our patriotism is reawakened, even as our national outrage threatens to boil over, let’s remember that there is another, broader definition of who “we” are. The community of “we” extends beyond national boundaries and across oceans – it must embrace all of mankind. So I pray that “our” approach, as the inhabitants of the country, will be a beneficial one in the long-term prosperity and development.

Leadership means different things to different people. Yet even though it’s hard to define and explain, we can always identify it. We can point to good leaders and bad who have touched our lives, and we can learn a great deal from exposure to both. I know I have.

That’s what I want to talk about today – some of the leadership lessons I’ve learned throughout my life as a businessman. I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot, and learnt a lot about what it takes to be a leader. And I’d like to share a few of my observations with you. There are seven principles. None are rocket science. All are common sense.

Principle 1: “Develop your own leadership style”

This is more of a disclaimer than an advice. What is right for GE’s Jack Welch or Microsoft’s Bill Gates or me may not apply to your situation. What works for me may not work for you.

I have learned that lessons early in my career whenever I tried the tough, forceful management style of a successful executive. While that approach was effective for him, it wasn’t comfortable for me because it didn’t suit my personality. As a consequence, I was inconsistent. I’d forget to put my “tough” face. This was confusing and frustrating for others. People lead in different ways. That experience taught me that it’s important to be yourself.

Principle 2: “Build a Shared Vision”

That means understanding where you are today, where you want to be tomorrow. Why, and how you’re going to get there. Vision is seeing the big picture. It does understand not just how things are, but how they should be. Vision is about developing a broad, long-term view of life and planning your path.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

I’ve found that the best way to create a vision is with input from your team. Getting future leaders like you involved in the early stages of developing a new vision creates strong ownership in the plan. By being a part of the process and informed in every step of the way, they feel in better control of their future. Overtime skepticism turns to excitement about the challenges we face. The belief that it is possible to succeed makes us successful.

 

Principle 3: “Coach, Motivate, and Facilitate.”

Leaders get others reach beyond themselves.

“The task of leaders is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.”

Leaders not only push themselves to be better, they encourage and inspire others to reach their potential. And they actively seek to create opportunities for the betterment of both employees and the organization. Leadership’s role is to break logjams, not spirits. Solicit the best thinking from your team, and then give the people the space and encouragement they need to excel. Listening plays as important role, too. Take time to listen and listen actively. It shows that you care. It builds trust. It boosts morale.

 

Principle 4: “Celebrate the Small Stuff”

My Fourth principle – Celebrate the Small Stuff – is another way to energize your team. Don’t underestimate the power of personal recognition. Acknowledge team efforts. Applaud successes.

To be completely frank, this was an area in which I was not particularly strong. For much too long I had been insensitive to the wonderful morale-boosting effect of small celebrations. But one of my current department heads started teaching me better appreciate them. Annually she and her managers host a lunch for all staff with perfect attendance in the prior year. They do chef hats and aprons and serve breakfast to their staff. They serve food, pour coffee and juice, and bus the tables. This momentary role reversal, or “flip of the hierarchy,” might seem like a silly or insignificant gesture, but it genuinely delights the work force.

At Chaudhary Group, we want our employees to feel like they’re  contributing to the success of our company and we want to recognize them when they do.

“There’s nothing little about the little things you do.”

“People may forget what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel.”

 

Principle 5: “Advocate Life-Long Learning”

I feel a bit like I’m preaching to the choir when I talk with the group about continuing education. You already know how vital life long learning is to our future.

At Chaudhary Group, we tell our team that the best way to guarantee success is to develop the skills needed to meet the evolving demand of the company and the competitive marketplace. The world is accelerating in an unprecedented pace. Keeping up is a full-time, never-ending job.

Life-long learning is energizing. It’s liberating. It opens doors to new opportunities and provides the only real security we have in today’s highly competitive, constantly changing world.

 

Principle 6: “Take Risks, Embrace Change”

This is a tough one for most people, but critical for leaders. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t fear failure. Don’t let it stop you from reaching your goals. Never give up.

Change is never-ending. Learn to expect it, look for it, adapt to it, and thrive in it. Be a change agent. This is one area where you can really make a difference every where. From my perspective, some of the biggest challenges you face are: Streamlining your processes to make them more flexible and responsive and becoming more decisive – having the confidence to move quickly to make the right decisions. That means taking more risks and being comfortable with change.

“Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Change happens. Anticipate it. Monitor it. Adapt to it quickly. Change – enjoy it. And be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again. As a future leader, it’s imperative that you model this behavior.

 

 

Principle 7: “Lead by Example”

This brings me to my last principle ‘lead by example.’ Time magazine’s Man of the Millennium, Albert Einstein said, “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is only means.” Set an example for others to follow. Practice what you preach. When all is said and done, a leader influence less by what they say than by what they do.

Now that I’ve shared my thoughts on leadership, I’ll remind you once again, that it’s important to develop your own approach. No prescribed formula will be an exact fit for you. What’s important is stepping up to the plate. Know yourself. Commit to your own leadership style and practice it everyday in every way.

Are you the leader you need to be? Want to be? Can be?

“Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomenon on earth.”

The best leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills. I applaud you for taking the initiative.

“Human beings are drawn close to one another by their common nature, but habits and customs keep them apart.”

Today I’ve been asked to share with you what Chaudhary Group is doing to support and grow its commitment to create harmony amongst diversity.  My hope today is leaving you with a renewed sense of the critical role you play in celebrating diversity here in Nepal’s future.

The goal, then, must be unity without uniformity; inclusion, not assimilation. This is not about “inviting” our people to blend into our corporate culture, it is about valuing them for who they are and what they can bring to the enterprise. The ability to attract, develop, and retain a smart, cohesive team is perhaps a company’s most important and sustainable competitive advantage.

In my opinion, there is no time to waste. In an increasingly competitive marketplace, companies and future leaders like you must make a priority to create the kind of environment that will attract the best new talent and make it possible for all employees to contribute the fullest. This is intuitive for some companies; for others the learning curve is longer.

We value you for who you are and what you can possibly do as the leaders of tomorrow. That’s the message we communicate as often as we can…in every way we can. The more we can repeat it, the better.

I’ve talked a lot this morning about the people with leadership qualities that create world-class organizations with world-class performance, but it’s also important to recognizer our similarities. So why, then, is there so much misunderstanding and injustice in the world? That’s a question.