Pay homage to Lao Zuo: a humanist thinker and practitioner in the business field

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Chairman Rabbit 20210521

I was surprised to hear that Mr. Zuo Hui died this afternoon. Very shocked, filled with emotion, extremely sad!

God is jealous of talents. The fall of a giant star. He left us. This is not only the loss of the industry, but also the loss of China and the loss of the world (many people may need to understand this in the future).

Shocked, he still insisted on finishing several meetings. Take home Li Xiang’s “Detailed Talk about Zuo Hui – Doing Difficult and Correct Things” and read it again in the evening. As soon as the book came out, I bought it back and asked everyone in the team to read it carefully. I believe this will be the edification and baptism of their valuable values.

I have the honor to meet Mr. Zuo Hui several times. He was involved in several telephone conferences. The last time I saw him was at the shell listing ceremony. The last WeChat communication was the translation of the 2021 US Strategic Competition Act I sent to him on April 22. His circle of friends is fixed on the 4th and 23rd, written on the third anniversary of the founding of Shell.



Listen to him patiently explain the industry and what he has been doing all the time, from chain house to shell, from freedom to vision. Speak frankly. One question can be answered for 20 minutes, but the words are modest, sincere, simple, and without a bit of airs. What he said is not only profound insight into the industry, society, the world and people, but also rigorous and serious about details and technology. The most impressive thing is not his grasp of the pattern and details, but his sincere and profound values that he can feel at all times. His sense of value is so full that it overflows all the time and infects the people around him.

I have never seen such entrepreneurs.

Mr. Zuo Hui is an entrepreneur at first, but he has long been divorced from the general sense of entrepreneur. He is a business practitioner, thinker, a person with feelings and love, and a humanist.

Look at Li Xiang’s book “Detailed Talk about Zuo Hui – Doing Difficult and Correct Things”. Many small details are worth tasting, which shows Mr. Zuo Hui’s personality.

A Humanist with a Sociologist’s Perspective

(The following is excerpted from Li Xiang’s “Detailed Talk about Zuo Hui – Doing Difficult and Correct Things”)

Li Xiang:

I heard you say one thing before. One of your store managers knelt down when someone came to the store to make trouble. Then I solved the problem, and you were very angry when you heard about it.

Zuo Hui:

I was not angry at that time, but felt that this was a way of handling that surprised me. It was a situation I had never thought of. Before, I knew that everyone’s living environment was different, but since then, I know more clearly that our service group may be a more complex group than I thought.

I have always felt that I am a more sympathetic person. Although my own living environment is simple and it is the usual sequence of growth environment in China, I know that Chinese people have all kinds of complex situations, and I can understand all kinds of people. But it was much more than I expected. I just thought, what can the service provider get from the organization?

… I think that the agent could solve this problem by kneeling down at that time, but five or ten years later, when he recalled this experience, he must not be very comfortable. If the organization can have more responsibilities and help people learn to get along with the society, the employees can live better.

Li Xiang:

Did you do anything to promote this? Is to ask them not to do this again.

Zuo Hui:

No, Because we think that when you see a thing after the organization is big, you should know that there must be thousands of things like a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand that happen every day. It’s just that you don’t have enough sense of dignity. First, his self-esteem is not enough; Second, he has not gained enough self-esteem. If you can’t solve the problem fundamentally, it is meaningless to say that you are not allowed to do this thing or that thing in the form of expression.

After reading the above dialogue:

1? Zuo Hui is very detached, and he will immediately jump out to see the matter from a higher and farther angle. This ability to jump out of the box is something few people can have. Most people will be brought into that scene and emotion. (There are a number of similar dialogues in the book. Mr. Zuo Hui does not think he is an entrepreneur, has no “home court consciousness”, consciously thinks he needs to maintain objectivity, etc.)

2? His perspective is very unique: he is observing the choices faced by employees in such situations. He is trying to understand their behavior and contextualize their behavior through their family background and growth environment. Finally, his judgment is that he underestimates the complexity of the environment in which employees live: he does not know them well enough, and this observation is sociological. We said that this should be an angle for intellectuals with humanistic feelings.

3? He has great sympathy – he sympathizes with the situation of the store manager very much, and even thinks of the feeling when the store manager recalls this scene 5 or 10 years later. Ordinary people don’t think like this. This can no longer be simply summarized with empathy or whose responsibility: Mr. Zuo Hui has a great humanistic concern, a humanistic spirit. He respects and loves people who are struggling in this industry. He hoped that they could lead a better life and pursue their careers with more dignity after their hard work.

4? He has a strong sense of self-examination and responsibility: he immediately thought: What should the organization do? What can I do? What should I do? What can I do? How to improve the situation of employees? How to change their relationship with consumers/customers and society? This is not only for the benefit of customers, employees, enterprises and industries, but also for the benefit of society and even the country.

5? He also has a penetrating diagnostic power – everything is about dignity and the ability to create value. Only by creating value can we gain respect. Only by truly following the long-term oriented values can we gain the respect of customers.

To change all this, we need to “stick to the difficult and correct” things.

With such isolation, the spirit of sociologists, such enthusiasm and humanistic care, such values oriented by social values (rather than short-term commercial profits), and such accurate research and diagnosis, everything behind the chain and shell can be achieved: empowering brokers, creating value for customers


Solve the most complex and difficult mechanism problems in the industry, reshape the industry with the industrial Internet, and empower the whole society after making the platform available.

Mr. Zuo Hui is an unusual person. People who have contacted him and know him know that he is completely different from ordinary entrepreneurs or businessmen. People call him the greatest entrepreneur in China (there may not even be “one”). The reason why he has such ability is that he has totally different temperament, character, pursuit, interest and feelings from businessmen/entrepreneurs.

Therefore, Mr. Zuo Hui has already gone beyond the definition of entrepreneur.

He is a thinker and practitioner who is full of humanistic intellectual feelings and insight in the business field.

Dissemination of ideas

It is said that Zuo Hui has transformed an industry (and is transforming several enterprise industries, such as personal home decoration industry) with his own efforts. But what he is more valuable to the society is the spread of ideas and values. What he brings is not only subversive thinking on service concept and business model (although today we are always talking about “vertical to platform”, BPaaS, industrial Internet, and “shelling”), but also deeper thinking on business ethics, social philosophy, and philosophy of conduct.

China is moving from rapid development and scale development to quality development. In the future, values will become increasingly important. No matter the government, enterprises, institutions or individuals, only by respecting and practicing the values can they be respected and be stable. Mr. Zuo Hui is the representative of a new generation of values in the changing times. He said and did what we expected but could not.

He is a pioneer. At the beginning, the long-term doctrine he advocated and practiced – “doing difficult and right things” must be ahead of the times and not understood by people. Even if people are willing to believe, they dare not practice because they have no courage: the potential cost is too high. However, in 2021, when he left us, our belief in and pursuit of the long-term doctrine are becoming our consensus and correctness.

This is the result of years of efforts made by Mr. Zuo Hui and his team. He did for us, almost by himself, what we had always hoped for, dreamed of, and dared not do personally – difficult and correct things.

The modern commercial society is very pragmatic. On the one hand, people advocate values, but on the other hand, they also want to see that values can bring business success. The great commercial success achieved by Mr. Zuo Hui/Shell (as well as the success achieved by the freedom and vision of not landing in the capital market) makes people see the power of long-term doctrine and believe that this kind of values can really bring success. This provides a huge positive incentive to drive people to pursue and practice such values more firmly.

Mao Zedong said, “If our Party has one hundred to two hundred comrades who have learned Marxism Leninism systematically rather than piecemeal, practically rather than in an empty way, our Party’s fighting strength will be greatly improved.”

In fact, leading the development of a society and a country may require a small group (hundreds) of such thought leaders, distributed in various fields, to spread their ideas in the way of “trickle down effect”.

We imagine that if China has one or two hundred entrepreneurs like Mr. Zuo Hui, will the society become better? Will the country become better? Are workers more dignified? Can consumers and users further improve their well-being? I believe the answer is yes.

Therefore, Mr. Zuo Hui’s greatest value to the society is no longer the change to the real estate brokerage industry. It is a kind of communication of business ideas and ways of doing things with strong values guidance and strong humanistic feelings: long-term doctrine wins, values win.

We all feel sorry and sad for Mr. Zuo Hui’s untimely death. He still has many hopes and dreams for China’s residential industry, and has so many unfinished businesses. Shell is just the beginning, “too small”, and he will never see the future of the turbulent industry.

However, leaving in high light hours will also have some unexpected results. He was “out of the circle”, separated from the real estate industry and the capital circle, and received more attention from the wider society and people, and may even become a new generation of business idol (“China’s Jobs”). This will help his business philosophy and values to be more widely disseminated. The ideas and values proposed by Mr. Zuo Hui can become important materials for our business ethics education in the future.

The success of enterprises such as Mr. Zuo Hui and Shell is not just the success of an enterprise; The stories of entrepreneurial enterprises such as Zuo Hui and Shell are not just those of several enterprises. This is the story of more than ten years of real estate brokers and passionate business leaders reshaping the industry and promoting social development: this is an episode of the story of China in the 21st century. We also hope that Mr. Zuo Hui’s business spirit and values can be widely promoted to drive the development of more industries, improve the dignity of workers, improve the well-being of consumers, promote social development, become a valuable force to promote China’s continuous improvement, and become a writer of a new generation of Chinese stories.

Salute to Mr. Zuo Hui!


This article comes from the WeChat official account: tuzhuxi

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