‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.’ This is the mantra Deepak Shrestha, Chairman, Nepatop Organisation adheres to. Shrestha is among those who wanted to do big things since high school and worked towards it rigorously. While in his teens, he started a small shop which has over the years turned into an industry. It didn’t happen overnight. There was immense hard work, industriousness and discipline to the process. In a tête-à-tête with B360, the 44-year-old Shrestha shares his journey of leadership and what it means to him.
What’s your definition of leadership?
Over the years, the definition of leadership has changed. From being in a ceremonial position, leadership has come down to the grass-root level. Today, the image of a leader is one who can be a common man. Leadership is also about taking the right decision at the right time. We may not be the right person every time but making a decision and conveying that same message effectively to a team or working community is of utmost importance.
Whose leadership skills you admire the most?
I am an admirer of BP Koirala. He is the one who fought all his life for something or the other and never gave up.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your organisation?
Creative thinking changes from time to time. As time passes by, the team draws energy, courage and spirit to go ahead from the leader and so does the leader from the employees. After getting support from technical and finance sectors, creativity blooms. It is not only creation but also the courage to take risks and stand by your decisions.
How do you motivate your team?
The very fact that my company still retains employees with whom I started running my company when it was in its infancy stage shows how motivated my employees are. We have more than 500 employees and many of them are working since its establishment. We give them responsibilites and assurance that are the essential aspects of motivation. Making them believe that empires can be built through vision, self-belief and collective growth ultimately results in success and is a huge factor in motivation.
What are the keys to developing the next generation of leaders?
The next generation should be trusted and trained accordingly. We should give them proper guidance and then let them fly. Some qualities that aspiring leaders should imbibe are equal opportunity with manpower, machine, money and management. The coming generation should be aware of these vital ingredients and should know how to utilise them in the best possible manner.
For leaders in the making, they should understand the endeavor, the reason and the purpose and they should promote team participation.
How should a leader handle crisis in the organisation?
To face any crisis, the main element is courage. No matter how scared you are, you do not disclose it to your team. I never ran away from crisis nor did my team of 500 employees. We didn’t give up. Instead, we worked and fought together. Also, it is immensely important to observe the crisis first and deal with it with patience. Later, study all the factors and then come to action.
The characteristics of a chairman define the establishment he drives. The employees and the organisation are a reflection of him. His innate values and learnings form the life sap of the business. Holding an experience of 26 years, I muster the courage to say, leadership is a journey from I to WE.
What was the biggest risk you took as Chairman of Nepatop?
Establishing a PPR fitting unit 13 years ago was the biggest challenge in the history of Nepatop. The challenge was to minimise technical and financial glitches. Today, we manufacture seven items and PPR is one of the largest segments of our business. Presently, Nepatop PPR pipes and fittings hold more than 70% stake in the Nepali market.
What are you doing to ensure that you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
I always try to learn something or the other from every individual I meet, including my employees. This has helped me keep updated with the new generation and stay young.
Where do you see Nepatop in the next 10 years?
In the next decade, we could be among the 20 largest organisations in Nepal. Currently, we have more than seven manufacturing units. We may be one of the largest working stations in the valley in terms of factory, warehouse or office complex. Also, we are training our employees for the coming days. Within 10 years, we may have more than 3000 employees.
We are planning to double our business in three years. This is the major target we are looking at. In the coming year, we are expanding our business to different areas. Once the business gets sustainable in the new fields, we will disclose the new areas.