Mehran is a symbolic brand of Pakistan with achievement and response worldwide
Interview with Mr Gul Mohammad Lot – Chairman, Mehran Group of Industries
Mr Gul Mohammad Lot was born in Pakistan in the Diplo area of Thar District. At a very young age, he joined his father, Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Lot in his business. As far as education is concerned, he completed his Bachelors in Administration from the London School of Business and obtained Master’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Sindh, Hyderabad. As a student of Political Science and a compassionate patriot, he joined politics in Pakistan as a member of the Pakistan People’s Party. In 1990, he was elected as MPA Sindh representing his roots from Thar District. Once again, his passion and drive earned him the honor to be appointed as Minister for the Environment where he was committed for the betterment of constituents and native land. He participated actively in regional and national politics. From 2001 to 2007, he got the privilege and opportunity to work with Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. He continued serving the country under the honorable Chairperson who served as a mentor. In May 2008, he was appointed as the Advisor to the Chief Minister Sindh for Anti-Corruption Enquiries and in March 2009, he was elected as the Senator unopposed. Mehran Spice & Food Industries (MSFI) started its journey in 1975 and within a few years of its inception, the company became one of the leading spice & food industries globally. MSFI is an ISO-22000 and Halal Food certified leader in the food industry. Our focus is on quality, hygiene, authentic taste and we achieve this with a dedicated team and advanced machinery. In 2011, Mehran entered in the local market (Pakistan) to a thunderous response and by the grace of almighty Allah, MSFI has established a wide and successful distribution network all over the country. MSFI has been honored numerous times with many National and International awards since 1984. Some of our achievements are winning the FPCCI’s “Best Export Performance Award” consecutively for over 30 years, winning multiple Businessman of the Year Awards, Brand of the Year Awards and the prestigious, exclusive “President Gold Medal” Award.
PAGE: YOUR VIEWS ON CORPORATE LEADERSHIP IN PAKISTAN:
GUL MOHAMMAD LOT: A significant number of Pakistan based companies have experienced impressive growth during the past two decades. But today, many face a daunting side effect: a nationwide crisis in leadership. People have been so focused on growth that they have not invested in developing the next generation of executives. There is a strong circle of top leadership in our industry, but no tag team. Visionary leaders are open to new ideas and information. They are aware that each new piece of information would help achieve breakthroughs in solving problems and looking at things from a new perspective. Applying this to Pakistan, most leaders of the public sector remain behind closed doors with little or no interaction with their employees. Secondly, visionary leaders are also persistent at achieving the goals they have envisioned for their organization. They clearly define where they want to see the organization in the future and formulate steps to accomplish it.
PAGE: HOW COULD A LEADER TURN A LOSS MAKING ENTITY TO A PROFIT MAKING ENTITY?
GUL MOHAMMAD LOT: The actions of most corporations, constrain them to focus on maximizing short-term profits and delivering returns to shareholders. Their decisions are expressed in financial terms. Great companies work to make money, of course, but in their choices of how to do so, they think about building enduring institutions. They invest in the future while being aware of the need to build people and society. All companies require capital to carry out business activities and sustain themselves. However, at great companies profit is not the sole end; rather, it is a way of ensuring that returns will continue. The institutional view of the firm is thus no more idealized than is the profit-maximizing view. Well-established practices, such as R&D and marketing, cannot be tied to profits in the short or long run. If companies are to serve a purpose beyond their business portfolios, their leaders must expand their investments to include employee empowerment, emotional engagement and contributions to society.
PAGE: WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ON THE GROOMING OF FUTURE CORPORATE LEADERS IN PAKISTAN?
GUL MOHAMMAD LOT: Organizations know that they must have the best talent in order to succeed in the competitive and increasingly complex economy of Pakistan. Along with the understanding of the need to hire, develop, and retain talented people, organizations are aware that they must manage talent as a critical resource to achieve the best possible results. Organizations today have an adequate supply of talent. The emphasis on talent management is inevitable given that, on average, companies now spend over one-third of their revenues on employee wages and benefits. Your organization can create a new product and it is easily copied. Lower your prices and competitors will follow. Go after a lucrative market and someone is there right after you, careful to avoid making your initial mistakes. But replicating a high quality, highly engaged workforce is nearly impossible. The ability to effectively hire, retain, deploy, and engage talent at all levels is really the only true competitive advantage an organization can have. For the grooming of future corporate leaders the organization’s current and future business strategies should be well defined; accurate hiring and promotion decisions must follow. Development of talent to enhance performance in current positions as well as readiness for transition to the next level is also important.
PAGE: KINDLY TELL US ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE OF A FEW ORGANIZATIONS WHICH YOU CONSIDER SUCCESSFUL:
GUL MOHAMMAD LOT: In today’s marketplace, cultural intelligence exists when a company trusts itself enough to live the promise of its culture in how its brands communicate with its audience and consistently delivers on that promise in the recruitment, retention and development of its employees. That’s how the most progressive organizations sustain their market leadership position, they never stray away from their culture promise and are quick to make adjustments along the way to accommodate the changing needs of their employees, consumers and the marketplace.
Here are just a few organizations which I consider successful:
- Nike = Just do it
- Apple = Innovation
- McDonalds = Diversity
- Facebook = Community
Their brands became symbolic after their cultural promise successfully endures through several business cycles. First, their logos represent symbols of reliability, trust and quality. Second, their consumers associate these brands as contributors to their lifestyles. They are iconic. In fact, their logos are so powerful; they don’t even have to include the brand names they were born with. Finally, these brands stand for something that is greater than themselves, beyond their core business, that symbolizes their dedication for the advancement of society and the consumers they serve.
From Pakistan, I would consider Mehran to be very successful. The brand is symbolic worldwide, especially the Middle East, and even after being away from the Pakistan local market for close to 30 years. Its entrance in this market was greeted with such a response that it was beyond my imaginations. I am humbled to see people love and trust my brand so much.
PAGE: HAVE CORPORATE LEADERS OF PAKISTAN GENERATED EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE PAKISTANI YOUTH?
GUL MOHAMMAD LOT: A healthy business environment and economic growth naturally creates jobs. Businesses hire additional manpower to produce enough goods and services to meet rising demand. The proper role of the government in this healthy economy is to provide a supportive environment for growth. However, even a healthy economy is subject to the bubbles and busts of the business cycle. When the economy contracts into a recession, the government must step in through expansive monetary and fiscal policies to stimulate job growth. Uncertainty in the global market has made organizations more aware and prone to adopt change on a constant basis. The complexity of the business operations requires that there must be an effective participation from every level of the organization. In addition to land, labor, and capital, human resource is also an important asset of any organization. It plays a key role in the smooth running of the organization and achieving its goals. In this ever changing and competitive global market, human resource can become the competitive advantage of the organization, if managed effectively.
I believe corporate leaders have not only generated employment opportunities but have significantly groomed their staff and youth to ensure the overall growth of the national economy, especially in a developing country like Pakistan. Again I would like to mention that Mehran, since entering in the local market in 2011, has provided jobs to more than a 1,000 youths.