A Quick Guide to being an Effective Business Leader

A Quick Guide to being an Effective Business Leader

Ravneet Gill, CEO, RoundGlass, 0

Having completed his MMS degree from KJ Somaiya Institute of Management, Ravneet has over 18 years of Leadership experience in the Indian real estate and banking sectors. Prior to joining RoundGlass,he has successfully handled key management roles across Citi, Indiabulls Real Estate, EMAAR and TDI Group.

CEO Insights recently got a chance to interact with Ravneet, where he shared his insights on various aspects pertaining to leadership and management, especially in the real estate sector. Below are the excerpts from the exclusive interview -

What motivated you to move towards the real estate sector?
In real estate, one can see the product come to life physically. For instance, the transformation right from acquisition of land to development and finally to handover of a project is an immensely satisfying and visible process. Not many sectors let you experience this ‘coming to life’ of their offering. Also, once the families start moving-in, a thriving community is formed. This aspect of developing projects from scratch and creating communities has fascinated me and kept me closely associated with the real estate sector.

Explain the importance of making quick decisions under pressure in a company.
In every organization, there will be several instances where quick, yet informed decision making has made a big difference in solving problems and overcoming challenges. In most cases, quick decisions are made to achieve short term and immediate goals, cut-down operational costs, stay ahead of competition, and sometimes even to keep the employee morale high. Quick decision making is essential in the Real Estate sector to manage cashflows while simultaneously balancing income & expense streams. It is important as a Leader to be able to cut through complexity and noise and provide real time pragmatic solutions to move the business agenda forward.

Suggest a few strategies to manage customer relationship management, business planning and development strategies in an organization.
Customer Relationship Management
The top indicator for CRM success that any large real estate business looks at is the CSAT score, which is a five point based scoring methodology that is widely used to measure the customer satisfaction levels of brands. Usually, a cut-off score of 4.3 is considered good.Creating a personal touch with customers, empathizing with them, and identifying the reasons for their aspiration to purchase a new home, ensures that the customer views the company as a trusted advisor and partner instead of just a seller.

The company should keep a track of referrals, as this is a clear indicator whether your customers are satisfied or not.

Finally, have a single POC for all queries – be it related to sales or construction – and make sure that he/she is well equipped with the necessary knowledge and skill sets to efficiently handle all kinds of queries. Ethics and brand ‘character’ is the key- maintains complete transparency and proactively communicates with the customer. Remember – they trust you with their dreams and their very hard-earned money.

Business Planning
Business Planning starts with identifying the short term (1-3 years) and long term (5+ years) goals and the new project launches basis ROI, margins, EBIDTA and timelines. The company should be clear on the product mix, pricing and the regions in which it desires to operate as the product mix and pricing is always different for different regions and target groups. Once the above is in
place together with the data for ongoing projects a detailed sales velocity plan along with collection plan based on construction milestones can be prepared which eventually gives you the detailed cash flows broken down into monthly/quarterly and yearly intervals. The devil is always in the detail- so it is critical to have robust data for forecasts and real time adjustments in case of unforeseen curve balls.

Development encompasses a variety of areas such as contractor management – quality, costs and reputation, procurement strategy – end to end, FIM, PMC, vendor billing criteria, site labor management, compliance of labor laws, MSP scheduling, local government norms related to FSI limits, zoning etc. Having a sound strategy on all of these goes a long way in ensuring delivery of a quality product while adhering to the project timelines.

Quick decision making is essential in the Real Estate sector to manage cash flows while simultaneously balancing income & expense streams.

According to you, how does cultural leadership impact a company?
Cultural leadership is the backbone of any company and defines the people, processes and DNA of the company. This must be driven from the highest level. Leaders have to walk the talk. Having a cultural leadership enables the organization to cut-down negativity among the employees and instead creates a sense of collaboration among them to work collectively towards achieving a common goal. This in turn not only strengthens employees’ relationships with each other, but also significantly enhances the employee retention rate of the company. Also, happy employees are those whose performance appraisals are based solely on their work - work place politics is a culture killer. Happy and motivated employees are always ready to go that extra mile to deliver value to the customers and keep-up the company’s reputation intact and soaring. In the end culture creates shared values and experiences in the company which ultimately translates into happy customers.

Tell us about some key skills needed for effective management in the real estate industry?
Real Estate is a very dynamic industry and there are a lot of new technologies (AR/VR sales tools, high end CRM systems, innovative construction systems etc.) evolving which enhances the efficiency of the sector. Professionals must create a strong network with the various elements of the industry – brokers, government officials, contractors etc. and this holds especially true for top management executives in the industry. Leaders should ensure they are able to create a fast paced and pragmatic working environment for their colleagues. Upskilling oneself and staying abreast of the latest market dynamics whether it is understanding the local regulatory environment, price trends of large construction elements, sales trends, land laws etc. is very important for any real estate executive.

How can transformational leadership benefit a company?
Transformational leadership enables the company to have a clear vision and direction, encourages passion and unity among the workforce and promotes better communication. This leads to an increased organizational effectiveness across all functions of the business. It is very important that the CEO has a 360-degree view of the entire ecosystem and has clear sight of the changing trends in construction, sales, customer preferences etc. so that he can better navigate the company through the ever-changing times. Additionally, transformational leadership plays a key role in every organization’s efforts in the areas of ESG as the choice of material used for construction, green cover in the layout, project density all have an everlasting bearing on the environment. It is ultimately Leadership and culture that translates into ethics and character and distinguishes one brand from the other.