Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Future of Real Estate!

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work...Vince Lombardi

Many will be surprised with the quote from the great American Football coach, who in himself like one man management institute; as what topic  this can lead especially in related to real estate? But a much ignored aspect in real estate industry which is directly related to the performance as well image of this industry is commitment of teammates in the different companies/ organizations in this industry. Here I will like to share some of my very recent personal experiences & then we can discuss the background or analyze the situation & its impact on entire industry; as though they may be my experiences yet I am sure they are nor exceptional & many of us in the industry have faced or facing the similar types daily!

Scene 1: Diwali vacations of 2012, our office was having holiday for four days & when its reopened two of our site engineers who were with us for six months didn’t reported back at site & no communication about being absent. We tried their cell it went unanswered, we tried to contact at their home but the family members said they don’t know. After 4 -5 days follow-up we as a management understood what must have happened& appointed new engineers at respected sites. Needless to say that those engineers have left the job without bothering to inform so.

Scene 2: We were having two young architects at our planning department with a good salary package & were working with us for eight months; on one fine morning they met my partner who looks after engineering & told him that they want to quit. He asked why & from when? They replied they want to find better opportunity & want to leave immediately. When my partner asked what about the charge of the work they were having at hand? There was no answer. They somehow worked till month end & left without even bothering to arrange the drawings files in order. I have to hold their salary, call them to give proper charge & then handed over their salary.

Scene 3: One of my good friends requested me that can I accommodate his daughter who has civil engg degree & masters in management from UK, just for experience? I immediately let that girl joined at our office, in just two months when she has yet to learn the working & handling charge of minor things like Extra works in flats demanded by clients, the girl came to me & said sir I want to leave. I asked why, she said she has got a god opportunity in a Multi National Company where they will be allowing her to work of her liking i.e. management of a project. I said she can hand over the communication details with the customers to the supporting staff & can leave by month end. She said ok & after leaving for the day messaged me on my cell that she won’t be coming from tomorrow only & she has given all files to her collogues i.e. charge of her work! And she didn’t come from the next day!

Scene 4: We were conducting interviews for engineers & shortlisted few candidates. After final round we selected some & gave them appointment letter. One of them collected appointment letter & informed he will be joining from a certain date. On that day neither he joined nor did any message come from him. With repeated follow-ups by our administration department he just messaged he has got a job with more salary so he couldn’t join our company.

I haven’t mentioned name of any of them as that’s not necessary as it’s the attitude we will be discussing & not the names. And I am sure many in our real estate industry must have faced such scenes & will say what big deal in it is? Well I surely must be getting old if I am getting intrigued with such incidences; rather irritated will be proper word. As what kind of attitude is this, especially by the generation who have just started their journey in professional world? Where are the words like Commitment, Teamwork, Values, Responsibility, Job at hand, Bonding and Relation etc! Agreed the developers may not be good pay masters but that was in early days; now look at the salary of people in engineering or marketing field of real estate, they are at par with any other industry at-least when freshers are compared. It is true that a proprietary or partnership firm in real estate has limitations to grow but for beginners it’s the best place to gather experience as most of the things have to be done with limited man power & that’s the best way to gather work experience from all dimensions. Here I remember my fresher’s days as site in charge at work, my roommate was mechanical engineer & in a big industry with salary four times of mine & work hours 3/4th of mine. He used to tease me about the work hours; I used to tell him if you didn’t go to your factory it won’t get closed but if I don’t reach to my site it surely would come to stand still. Such was the advantage of working in small set up.

Small set up or big MNC’s, the issue was about the commitment towards the job at hand & about the responsibility the management has put on us. Looking from fresher’s angle a job was an opportunity for us to apply whatever we have learned in our education & we were eager to grab the opportunity the best way we could. And it wasn’t just one like myself our whole generation was like that working without looking at watch, never thinking what is my work & what I am doing or nobody has told me to do this then why I am doing this? These types of questions were never entered in our mind. We never thought of shifting a job for few rupees rise & kept looking other opportunities while working with one group. May be we were fools in eyes of today’s youngsters. Nobody is against growth & aiming higher when its carrier but then each organization is in itself a learning institute also, at least in starting days that’s important to understand which we did.

I really wonder what makes these youngsters behave the way they are behaving when its job. How can we rely on them for bigger responsibilities when the foundation of mind set is so shallow & then these are the future of the industry! Here again many will blame the developers or employers in the industry for not treating them well. But those were old days when the builder weren’t paying well & stability was a problem for the employees, now the things have changed. Many of the big real estate group has understood importance of keeping the work team constant as it avoids many work problems if you have a consistent team with you. Mainly in real estate industry right from site supervision too customer handling personal touch is very much essential as still this industry hasn’t computerized or mechanized like other industries. For example a site engineer whom you have trained to check quality of finishing items like plastering, tiling or painting is an asset as for next project all you have to do is appoint him a t that work stage & relax on his skills. If he leaves suddenly then again you have to find another guy, make him understand your standards of workmanship & accept his mistakes till he gets trained. And unlike other industries here there is no “Un Do” button here. Once an activity is wrongly completed you have to break the thing & then re do it, causing time as well financial losses.

On such background having a consistent team of trained people has utmost importance. But with such time of increasing attitude which is non committal , day by day things are getting difficult in real estate. After IT industry the largest turn over in man power moment is in real estate & it’s not a healthy sign for the industry. As it’s the staff or the team, which makes the image or face of any organization. And if this face is changing constantly then obliviously it is going to affect directly your relation with your customers as well quality of the product you are making.

Here role of the developers is very important as all the words which I used above i.e. Commitment, Morals, Values, Trust etc should not be restricted to your vocabulary or in books but should come in actual life & thats only possible by your own act. We should accept that gone are days where people used to boast that they have worked for their life time in a single company. It was the culture of commitments & so the youngsters then were trained in that atmosphere. Also remind ourselves that there is some fault with us too for this tendency of the youths towards the job. We need to take them in confidence, speak to them, and try to cultivate the meaning of commitment within them. For that we have to open up ourselves; be more sharing, implement welfare schemes for the staff, make them feel secure & important. Ultimately being a builder isn’t restricted to building concrete structures but we are building carriers of these youngsters too who in future will become face of this industry & not just our group or company.

At the same time some where the syllabus of the professional courses needs to acknowledge this tendency of the youngsters & subjects regarding to these tendencies has to be included in the course. By which the students will understand the importance of the terms like Commitments right when they are studying.

In this context I will like to share a story in Zen; “A boy went to learn sword fight to a Zen master & asked how much time it will require to become a god sword fighter? The master replied ten years. Hearing that the boy said I don’t have that much time, I will leave everything & will dedicate all my time to sword training ,in that case how many years I will need to become a good fighter? The master replied, 20 years! The surprised boy asked what it means. The master said I want you to live your life & become a sword fighter, leaving everything doesn’t mean you will become a good sword’s man but instead following dedicatedly what I teach is a sure way to achieve your goal in shortest time.”  

I think this is an eye opener story & what I will say to the fresher’s or beginners or youngsters, who wants to make carrier in real estate is don’t just run towards making fast money as it vanishes more faster than it comes to you. If you acquire real skill or expertise in whatever field you are working then the money will come to you only. But for that one has to be patient & hard working with committed attitude. It’s this attitude which will decide what you are going to be in the coming years. And some day you will be also in the role of a boss or owner of a group, that day while looking back you should not repent for the culture you only have cultivated!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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  1. Well said sir..Your words of wisdom are definitely an eye opener for all freshers with casual attitude...


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