1. How long have you been in the real estate industry and how did you come to join Colliers International?
I switched very early in my career from architecture to real estate consultancy and project management, so essentially my entire working career of almost two decades has been in this industry. My life is more destiny than design. I joined Colliers in February 2008 in India to set up the Project Management business for India. In 2015, I moved into the role of Deputy Managing Director (MD) for India. As part of the MD’s office, I was responsible for the performance of all services across the country. This is my third role with the company which I transitioned into at the end of 2017.
2. Asia is a vast market. Just how different are project management needs and business across the region? How do you serve each one of them well?
Asia is not only vast, it is very diverse. The change in project management needs varies from market to market, and it is dictated by the local risks and nuances of each market. While our operations across Asia are process and technology-based, the tactics of delivering a project successfully have been adapted to these risks and challenges for the individual market. In addition, market needs and opportunities are also dynamic from country to country, based on which we have specialisations within the business such as Design & Build (or Principal Contracting), Industrial Project Management and Greenfield Project & Construction Management, to cater for all our clients’ needs. We are able to serve each market well by having expert, insightful and enterprising local talent, and a regional platform that allows flexibility.
3. In your opinion, which markets in Asia hold most potential for growth in the project management business, why?
It’s difficult to pick one or two since all the markets we operate in across Asia have tremendous potential for growth. The size of our teams and operations are reflective of the overall size, opportunity and growth rate of each market, and therefore we will continue to witness healthy growth across Asia beyond the foreseeable future. The optimism is supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) 2018 report which states that the average growth rate for South East Asia, India and China will come in at 5.2% on average from 2018 to 2022. From a real estate perspective and over the long term, trade growth and domestic consumption will continue to drive economies across markets like India, China, Philippines and in future, other countries like Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos will also start offering opportunities too.
4. How would you describe your management style? What are the top five most important leadership attributes in today’s business environment?
I can’t say if I have a management style; what I can say is that I am driven by integrity, discipline, perseverance and balance. I think the most important attributes for a leader are – be a problem solver, result-oriented, open/flexible to others’ ideas, objective and being authentic.
5. What is the difference between a good project manager and a great project manager?
The difference lies in having two key attributes: being approachable and responsive. As the project manager, you are leading and guiding not only your team, but all stakeholders. If you are not approachable and responsive, chances are you will be misinformed or ineffective in the role. When the leader is perceived to be unapproachable, it may discourage team members from coming forward to raise issues or share views, and this could result in miscommunication which may lead to unnecessary delays in project delivery.