Client Close-Up: Shrujan Reviving Craft Entrepreneurship
Shrujan: Threads for Life, a not-for-profit organization, has been at the forefront of a craft revival movement in Kutch, India, a place famous for its long tradition of exquisite hand embroidery. Since 1969, Shrujan has made it its mission to empower thousands of women by providing them with sustainable and dignified income opportunities in craft entrepreneurship through the revival of forgotten designs and the preservation of Kutch heritage.
Shrujan engaged Adizes in November 2018. The following are excerpts from an interview with Ami Shroff, CEO of Shrujan. Ami Shroff’s mother, Chandra Shroff, founded Shrujan five decades ago and was named Rolex Woman of the Year in 2006.
“After my mother passed away in 2016, I experienced a lot of difficulties trying to take over as the leader. I think the teams still expected my mom to come back in or for me to turn into my mom and function the exact same way that she did, which I didn’t. When I stepped into the role, I inherited a lot of set organizational behavior patterns which were not leading to the growth of the organization. In fact, we’d gone from stagnancy to a downward tilt.”
Shroff first heard about Adizes through Agrocel Industries, another Adizes client in the region. AFter participating in a Breakthrough to Prime workshop, Shroff decided to enlist the help of the Adizes Institute.
In November 2018, Adizes Certified Associates Harpreet Bhan and Shirdhar Thoda conducted Shrujan’s first Syndag, a diagnostic workshop engaging leaders from all levels and functional areas of the organization.
“What really stands out most from the Syndag is how easily the entire team spoke about the problems without shying away from anything. There were people from all different levels, but nearly everyone became a cohesive unit for the few days of the Syndag. I think everyone has developed a lasting sense of trust and respect for each other based completely on how Harpreet and Shridhar led the Syndag. It’s like they’ve become a part of the Shrujan family.”
Since that initial Syndag, Shroff and Shrujan have continued to work with Bhant and Thoda to improve systems of accountability and transparency within the organization.
“After the Syndag, we had a few Adizes Participative Organizational Council meetings (POCs) that included not only the top three or four senior teams, but also people from all levels of the organization. This is really helping because people are taking ownership of issues and moving ahead. It’s a drastic change. While before people were saying, ‘Someone else needs to do it,’ when they encountered a problem, now they’re saying ‘I don’t know how to do it, but I’m willing to try.’ That’s a big, big change in attitude, and it has helped us grow and manage more effectively.”
Once Adizes helped Shrujan address a number of critical operational problems, they proceeded to guide Shrujan through defining its mission and purpose.
“I think what really helped more than anything else from the mission session was identifying what we should not be doing. I think we were spreading ourselves too thin. We had limited resources, and we were trying to put our hands in everything while not seeing any dividends. Adizes helped us to see that. Once we understood and changed our mission and activities, we were able to set budgets and finish off the financial year. This was the first time in about fifteen years that we achieved our Annual Operational Plan (AOP). In a year when everyone—ourselves included—said, ‘Retail is down,’ we managed a 33% jump.”
In addition to the substantial jump in revenues, Shrujan enjoyed other benefits from participating in the Adizes program.
“There are two big changes I’ve noticed since working with Adizes. First, the junior team has a lot more confidence. They don’t think they’ll just stop growing within the organization. They realize that they are stakeholders in the organization, and they have the confidence to voice their thoughts. They have the confidence to want to do things themselves, which they might have been too scared to do before. The other big change we’ve seen is in the senior team. We have a team of four senior executives, and they’ve moved from a place of management and doubt to a place of mentorship and encouragement.”
Adizes Worldwide is proud to be a part of Shrujan’s growth and transformation as they continue to empower and provide opportunities for rural women in India. You can visit and learn more about Shrujan at www.shrujan.org.