Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wanted, Leader for Real Estate Industry!

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way…John C. Maxwell

Maxwell is an author, speaker, and pastor who has written more than 60 books, primarily focusing on leadership. And look at the way he has defined leadership in so simple & short way! In any sports, profession or industry we need a leader to look at, who by his unique way becomes the face of that profession. People like to see him, copy him & joins that game or the particular field, thinking some day they also can become like their hero who in actual is a leader! We have Tendualkar in Cricket, Ratan Tata for Industries; Narayan Murthi/ Azim Premji for IT, APJ Kalam for Science, Amitabh Bachhan for Cinema, Ustad Zakir Hussian in Classical Mussic & the list is on for so many professions all across the country. Best part is when first genre started towards their retirement adobe, second genre was ready to grace the empty space of leadership in every field. While Sachin has departed MS Dhoni is there for cricket, Shahrukh has already at top for cinema, Kumarmangal Birla, Sunil, Bharati are there for Industries & so the list is on in every field; except two & needless to say they are Politics & Real Estate! Out of this politics was never my topic so I stick to real estate. Recently my friend Ravi who himself is one of best critics on Pune’s real estate called me & asked about a particular case regarding a well-known builder  & the discussion went of who is number one, rather who is the leader in real estate? Though the call ended with discussion about the problems the clients of that builder facing the topic kept on lingering in my mind.

When we call someone leader of a field that doesn’t mean just he has to be successful financially or deliver result. For e.g. when we call Sachin leader of Indian Cricket then it’s not only the centuries he has made or the number of times he has lead India to victory or the maximum number of tests he has played, but it’s the way he has carried the game & balanced it with his social image! He has taken the game to such height by his on ground as well off ground behavior that entire sports has got benefitted with it. Same role has been played by Mr. Bachhan in Cinema Industry& Mr. Ratan Tata in various Production Industries. Before Tata the industrialists are looked as just money makers & people living in ivory tower which are banned for common man. But Tata’s changed that by utilizing his profits for social upbringing of men who are deprived from any good things in life. And most important is he hasn’t been forced by or asked by any Govt rule to do so! He did it on his own, that’s why any good culture of doing business is called as Tata culture! It’s not these men have’t made any money & fame out of what they have done, the did but the respect they earned in doing so from all classes of the society makes them leader of their field! A leader by me in any profession has to perform as that’s important but at the same time he should take that profession to new high & gives dignity to the same. A leader has to become face of that profession & make aspire younger genre to join the profession & become an icon for them!  A leader of the profession is someone who will earn respect from the society not only for himself but in process for the entire profession he is in; in short become the brand ambassador for the profession is in! Here you can’t define the leader by just one single criterion like output or money or fame but it’s multidimensional. As for me most important is the respect he earns in eyes of the all segments of the society not just being a successful leader but for being a good human being as well & making people respect the entire profession he is representing by his own conduct; that’s the true leader!

Now on this front let’s see where the real estate stands; not that we don’t have big & successful builders or developers. As many will describe themselves with the kind of millions of sq ft built up area under their belt or mega townships & ultra luxurious projects & in each Metro we have top ten contenders for numero uno position; many companies have their establishments across the country with projects going in Metros like Delhi, Bangalore & Mumbai! Yet can we take one single name which has given this industry a respect or where common man can say yes “builder ho to aisa ho!” Or is there any single house business i.e. corporate name in real estate which has carved name for their entire dealing process, where the customer can tell to other fellow developers to copy them or expect to do so? And why only customer, like every new entrant in cricket wants to goes in the history of the game like Sachin Ramesh Tendulakar has his name in it, but is there any such icon in real estate, where the fresh lot can look after & think, yes one day I too will be recognized by the way this group is being right now! Many in the business won’t agree with me as there are big players who has delivered & have a track record of fulfilling commitments & then there are groups which are in the business for nearly three generations now. But is that all? We are talking about leader of real estate & just for a moment as the scene right now is same in politics, that there are local leaders & national level leaders & country is being run by them but can we take any one single name which can be copied or should be copied by other leaders on the basis of moral, character & conduct? Same here in real estate, the business is flourishing & people are making money & so the customers are getting their homes & landlords are being paid. Similarly large man power is getting jobs & turnover of real estate is one of the highest as well the industry is major revenue earner for Local as well State & Central Govts through various taxes.

Rather the bigger the name in real estate the shadier it becomes, is the case, is what past & present experience is! This is because of many reason, right from land acquisition to getting clearances from various Govt agencies to so called involvement of black money, real estate has to undergo lots of practices which are the main reason for being considered it in gray zone by a commoner. And the developer concept in itself has been arisen from the very fact that it’s impossible for a common man to buy a piece of land & built his own house by himself, especially in bigger cities! The entire process has been made so cumbersome as well costly that, gone are the days where any person could buy a piece of land, appoint a good contractor & get his home build as per his needs. The major criteria for becoming a builder is you should have tow M’s i.e. money to buy the land, which is raw material for the industry as well muscle power to remove the obstacles in building the project over that land! Terms like quality, customer care, commitments follows later & many a times even doesn’t matter in the entire process.

This whole no leader thing has a very bad impact on basic things like framing proper Govt policies for real estate or urban development. The Govt policies of the real estate (if there are any) are constantly changing making always a problem for the developer & ultimately for the end user. In other industries before framing any policy which is related to the industry, they are usually discussed with the leaders of that particular industry, the pros & cons of the policy are considered, suggestions of industry leaders are taken in account & after that only the policy if finalized. As the real estate industry don’t have any such leading figure neither at central level nor at state level, no such steps are taken & all the policies right from FSI to height of buildings are worked by people who have never build a single building in their life & carried away as per their whims! Not that they are incompetent but somewhere opinion of those who will be implementing that policy in actual  has to be taken in account & here the role of the leader is most vital as it’s not for his individual benefit but he can utilize his charisma for the entire industries benefit & exactly that’s what real estate industry is missing today! Rather the so called top names in the industry has been alleged for making policies for their individual advantage only  putting away the interests of the common man who is seeking for his home.

It’s not only for the Govt policies or for new entrant to the industry; today the real estate generates biggest employment for manpower & mostly unskilled. This includes hundreds of labor works, petty contractors & suppliers too. They all depend on the industry along with their families, a good leader will ensure them that they are dealing with good people & these people do care for their efforts for the industry. Housing is the very basic & important need of human being, may it be urban or rural. And the industry which takes care of this need is leaderless is a fact. No kingdom prospers without an able king is what history tells us, so it’s high time the real estate bosses should give a serious thought for the leadership issue & for that firstly they should understand the true meaning of leader! A business house with a good leader takes care of every segment associated with their work. It’s like a big banyan tree which while growing big, spreads on a large area giving shade to many along with fruits & shelter to everyone who comes to it! And the effect is the society looks at entire industry with respect & that’s what real estate is missing, a leader with vision & attitude of the banyan tree! Result of all such things is not only customers or the home buyer but the entire society thinks of builders as just money making machines, who don’t have any social responsibility or moral values or ethics while doing their business.

Being in real estate business doesn’t mean just making money by developing the land but its building a strong respect towards the hands who builds those walls! At the same time the society along with media should also change the vision towards the builders & appreciate as well acknowledge the good people & their good deeds in the industry. As these things are like water & fertilizers for the new sapling of a banyan tree & then only a leader will be born for the real estate industry!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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