LESSONS FOR LIFE
Recently, Charoen Pokphand Group's chairman and CEO Dhanin Chearavanont appeared at Concordian International School in Bangkok to preside over the graduation ceremony of Grade 12 (Mathayom 6) students. The topic of his speech was "Ethics of Leadership", in which he provided parents and students with keys to lifelong success.
Dhanin Chearavanont, Charoen Pokphand’s chairman and CEO, delivers a speech at Concordian International School, Bangkok. COURTESY OF CP
"Successful persons need to be thankful and grateful to people who have performed meritorious acts for them, especially their parents," said Mr Dhanin, stating his first key to success.
In keeping with Asian culture, Mr Dhanin said, it is one of the duties of parents to nourish and support their offspring while they are young, but once children grow up and can earn their living, it becomes the duty of the children to take care of their parents.
They should also be thankful to their country in which they have prospered.
"Whenever I invest [and establish offices] in other countries, there will be portraits of HM the King and the Queen and Thai flags. This is part of how I repay my country. This is [a way] to create awareness among foreigners that Thai businesspersons have the capability to invest internationally. People in those countries will [then] give recognition to Thai people," he said.
The next key point is that parents need to teach their children to let others benefit from them, rather than let them take advantage of their friends or colleagues. "Taking advantage of people is clever only in the minds of fools," Mr Dhanin said.
"If we teach our children to benefit others, people will welcome them wherever they go. The people who benefit from us will be very happy and tell others positive things about us. That is better than advertising. People will say 'do make friends with this person and you will gain many benefits. This person never takes advantage of anybody'," the chairperson added.
Look for strengths
Next, parents should encourage their children to look for strengths in other people and try to learn from them.
"Everyone has his or her own capabilities. Students should find out about their friends' capabilities. Do not try to find weaknesses in people. Everyone has both good and weak points. Do not compare our good points with others' incompetence. We need to compare our own weaknesses with other people's competence," Mr Dhanin suggested, adding that the practice would enable people to respect each other.
Children should be taught not to look down on underprivileged people or those who have lower status than they. All people should be paid equal respect.
"During a meal, my mother always says to our housemaids, 'I'm hungry, you are also hungry. You've fulfilled your duty. Go to eat. Don't wait on us'," the president narrated.
"Parents should also teach children not to insult poor people, because no one chooses to be born into poverty. We need to support the poor. If we attune our minds in this fashion, I believe that we will be safe and receive support wherever we go," Mr Dhanin said.
Finally, he suggested to the attentive audience that academic excellence is only one component for achievement of success. It is vital to be also hard-working and to have a high sense of responsibility.
Regardless of whether or not the students in the audience will grow up to be true leaders, Mr Dhanin's guidance will surely enrich their future at the very least.