Jaipur Rugs Company Private Limited (JRCPL), an India-based family business established in 1999 by Nand Kishore Chaudhary (NKC), was no ordinary business organization. NKC established his family business as a distinguished socially responsible enterprise. He built his business from the export of hand-knotted carpets woven by more than 40,000 rural artisans from more than 600 villages in north and west India. More than 80% of these artisans were women and about 7,000 were tribal villagers.
At the age of 64, NKC was at a crossroads. He had successfully led JRCPL since its beginning, but now he had to make his family business less dependent on any family member and, in particular, on his own charismatic leadership, while ensuring that the firm continued to pursue profit without compromising on the philanthropic values on which it was founded. That required imbuing the new leadership with his family business philosophy and values, and gradually moving from family management to management by competent professionals. However, the experience with the hired professional managers at different levels was not a smooth one for him. NKC had hired professional managers, but they held workplace values and ethics typical of a for-profit company. These professional managers had trouble adjusting to the values and ethics of Jaipur Rugs. Besides that, he was also concerned about his eldest son’s ambitious plan of venturing into the retailing of rugs in India. Pondering over the long-term sustainability of his legacy, NKC wondered how to align the organization to his business philosophy, workplace values and ethics—and also prepare it for a new phase of leadership.