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#3 Things that Helped this Regional CEO to Stay on India's Biggest Real Estate Group's Top Management Role for a Decade Once you have ownership of a problem, you actually innovate far more to become an entrepreneur in fine ways says Shaishav Dharia

By Aashika Jain

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Shaishav Dharia is the Regional Chief Executive Officer for Lodha Group's ambitious Palava City and New Cuffe Parade. He has spent more than a decade with the Lodha's. In a chat with Entrepreneur India, Dharia revealed his secret to climbing up and staying on.

The way Dharia looks at it are the three things which he learnt or he could have done better.

First is about work – I don't think there is any substitute of hard work and about learning the business in detail. Very often especially when I see a lot of MBAs in particular, we tend to be too generous to those who may be in the industry. The difference between me and those like me is that I spend time on the ground.

I have learnt the technicalities of real estate; which is more about investing the time in rather than doing marketing and developing strategy and actually learning how to develop and construct.

Second, I think there are no substitutes for, at least in companies in India, passion and ownership. We have enough reasons why something did not happen. There are enough reasons that are supposedly outside of our control. But when one shows passion and ownership and is determined to achieve one's goals, I think that is very contagious.

Once you have ownership of a problem, you actually innovate far more to become an entrepreneur in fine ways to solve issues. I think that's the second part and is very important.

Third is the hardest part, which is how you constantly keep developing the next step in mind, how you move to newer ideas and how to think of the next move you take. You can't stagnate, you can't keep doing the same things because all comfort factors creep in.

You got to keep taking up new areas of growth but for that you have to develop your team below you so that they can manage it.

How Have Startups Brought Change into the Ecosystem

Dharia believes start-ups and the folks who have decided to sail along with think they really learn about entrepreneurship in a phenomenal manner. They see tremendous success, many of them may not go and rather join the professional ranks of mass companies because they are used to a certain kind of a different way of working or different way of doing different things.

One of the biggest drivers for Dharia to grow in the family-led Lodha Group was the ability to take risk. "I think it's crucial to have the right professional mix because that helps in building a business. It is one thing to build a business and the other thing to build an institution," says Dharia.

Dharia feels India is on the verge of urbanisation of everything, doing more with less, higher utilisation. It starts to disrupt every physical model as well whether it is retail or offices, anything. If you don't continue to think about disruption, you don't understand technology. You don't understand about the larger trend of what's happening and the impact is going to reflect on your business if you aren't technologically savvy.

"That is a part that will basically be a challenge because it is disruption which has gone up so much faster that the need to welcome more entrepreneurial venture or the need to come thinking about how the trends or patterns apply sometimes more supposedly steady business like real estate, I think that's what gone up" says Dharia.

Technology to Make Leaders

Dharia believes technology is such an important aspect of what The Lodha Group does in Palava City because it is learning to govern a city in the most productive manner via technology, which plays a huge role.

"Let me give you a simple example, which I actually learnt from a mayor of a small city of Malaysia. He used to have a population of 400 thousand people, 350 thousand of them followed him on twitter, and yet he governs a city from twitter. So whether citizens have some issue or he had to update them about something, he used Twitter to do it," says Dharia.

In India, same thing is with Facebook. I govern a lot, Palava through Facebook has becomes the easiest way for us to engage with urban people who are living there today. It helps in understanding their challenges; if something is not working, they can post it. It becomes a much easier way to understand what I need to do in the city. It becomes easier way to communicate. It's a far easier way than email or sms or anything else. So, effectively we are trying through mechanism, every citizen of mine becoming part of city governance," says Dharia.

Technology has become a phenomenal enabler of its own kind. So having technology is going to have a very disruptive role and if it does well the cost is coming down which is a great success for both as ourselves as a developer and the citizens as consumer.

Spread over 4,500 acres, Palava is an integrated smart city developed by the Lodha Group. It has seen over 30,000 homes sold and over 20,000 homes.

A report by Jones Lang LaSalle ranked Dharia-led Palava City as India's No 1 smart city based on livability quotient. Dharia is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization, which is a global leadership organization for more than 27,000 chief executives in over 130 countries.

Aashika Jain

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Associate Editor, Entrepreneur India

Journalist in the making since 2006! My fastest fingers have worked for India's business news channel CNBC-TV18, global news wire Thomson Reuters, the digital arm of India’s biggest newspaper The Economic Times and Entrepreneur India as the Digital Head. 
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