Leadership is one of those nebulous terms – it has various definitions by a different set of people. For Addaem Chandran, the entrepreneurial CEO of Prof Muhaya Eye LASIK Centre (PMELC), his leadership style could be construed as a holistic approach encompassing all areas; self-improvement, attitudes, technical skills and spiritual health. He is much driven by an internal desire to constantly improve the business, employees and relationship with customers. His approach is not merely focusing on the business itself, he is very much driven on being dynamic and reciprocal over time with his employees.
Transforming family-owned business
PMELC was commenced in 2014 as a small family-owned business. After years of doing it, he began to realise the huge potential of the setup let alone things that he could contribute to improving the ophthalmology industry. Thanks to his diverse experience working in multinational for over 12 years, it furnished him with all the necessary set skills. “Honestly, that’s the only reason that gives me the confidence to operate the business (chuckled). I couldn’t lie, my experience has tremendously prepared me for what I am today – given me a very solid business understanding and organisational ability.”
“I always look at what can we do better, instead of just looking at what we can fix”
When PMELC first opened its door, they only covered on the outside layer of the eyes, providing LASIK treatment for people to be free from glasses. Then, he bought in more doctors to tackle the deeper part of the eye which is cataract issues and eventually another doctor to focus on the retinal part. “We evolved from one service to multiple services within a short period. So, my organisation has tripled and we shifted from just a family business to a proper company.”
Structuring a comprehensive framework for PMELC
Live by five core values; C (Caring), A (Agility), R (Responsive), E (Excellent Execution) and S (Smile), PMELC is very much focusing on the employees’ performance. Hence, they have a comprehensive framework to measure all aspects of the employees. “At PMELC, the KPIs are not measured based on individual performance only, but as a team too. All of our employees are well-trained encompassing every aspect.”
“Business is not about product and services, you need to expose into the multiple disciplinary of business.”
He further shared that they conduct training very often to the extent they will have 3-4 training on a monthly basis. “I meet my staff individually now and then and we are like a family unit because we know each other in and out, yet we still respect the boundary and being professional at work.”
Giving job opportunities to the youth
Typically, not many companies would take the risk of hiring youngsters due to their skill and knowledge inadequacy. But, at PMELC, all the employees are primarily being hired immediately after school. Better yet, PMELC still adapts a rigorous hiring process where they observe every area of individual potential. For Addaem, he believes that academic is not everything, there are many other important aspects in hiring the right candidate.
“Business is not as easy as learning theory, you got to taste the success and failures along the journey to shape you as a great entrepreneur”
Hiring youth need him to intensify the training. “It’s a challenging journey because I need to retrain the staff all over again but it’s something that should be done. The first 3 years operation was very tough as I need to observe and manage a lot of things but we managed it.”
Making PMELC the best eye care provider
Located in Kajang, conquering a corner shop lot, PMELC’s business has tremendously growing and their patients come from all walks of life. PMELC is aspired to establish as a complete one-stop eye centre covering all disciplines within the eye. Evolving is their main target and to penetrate the international market one day.
“Your workplace is your mosque (house of worship), a place for you to gain good deeds for the hereafter“
They have also conducted many CSR programmes tackling B40. PMELC helps to improve the lives of the unforgotten senior citizens by offering free eye treatment to let them have a clear vision again. As much people would say CSR programmes are beneficial for one party only, he believes that it has greatly left an impact on his staff. “I think throughout the programmes that we’ve done in the past, my employees have learned so much about appreciating life and parents and it’s such an eye-opener,” he said.
To conclude the interview, Addaem shared a piece of advice for entrepreneurs as he believes in giving people a meaningful story. “Let’s be real, entrepreneurship requires a lot of hardwork. Business requires times to invest and effort, not only to build the business alone, but the people as well. As an entrepreneur, you should have strong core values and a lot of sound knowledge on the business itself”
“As a leader, you can’t be emotional all the time. Pick up your self, learn fom the mistake and move forward very fast”
Coming from someone who has a diverse experience in a business setting, Addaem stressed on the importance of having a hands-on experience. “At PMELC, we let the staff expose to many things. It’s okay to make a couple of mistakes, series of fall but make sure you rise again. Don’t be afraid to work hard because, at the end of the day, it’ll pay off handsomely.”
He also explained the importance of having a clear intention before starting a business. “I’m passionate about passing down all the resources that I have in training the young generation and shape them as future leaders. I believe, by coaching them right and let them explore, it can help them to be a better human being and beneficial leader,” he ended.