TEACHING HOW TO LEAD
THE INFLUENCE OF A FATHER
ON THIS FATHER’S DAY, REALTY+ BRINGS TOGETHER TWO GENERATIONS OF THE REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS, SHARING THEIR VIEWS ON HOW THEY ARE TAKING LEARNINGS FROM EACH OTHER.
Fathers offer a referral point for kids to understand their own individuality and place in the world. Active involvement, being a source of strength and giving the sense of safety and encouragement are the traits that make fathers the biggest influence on the next generation’s leadership style.
Working with your father brings with it, its own checks and balances. While, the upside is the learning from the experience of the elder generation, the downside could be the friction of ideas. The real estate professionals here shed light on the synergies between them and their progeny and vice versa, while working together in the family business.
THE BEST AND THE WORST OF WORKING TOGETHER
Bijay Agarwal, Managing Director, Salarpuria Sattva talking about working with his son Shivam expressed, “Shivam and I share a friendly and frank relationship. While I have watched him grow, he has in turn, watched me evolve into an entrepreneur through the years. I know I can bounce ideas off him, and I will get a brutally honest answer. I like the freshness of perspective that he brings to the table. I involve him in important decisions sometimes, as I trust his ability to be non-judgmental and futuristic. You could say he is the yin to my yang. I feel we complement each other.
But, I also understand that we are two individuals with different mind sets and it’s natural that we may debate, even differ on issues, but we always find a middle path. In the last two years, we have been able to work in tandem and arrive at a consensus on important decisions. While we may not agree on everything, Shivam usually gives in to my experience and the practicality that comes with it. As a young person he can sometimes be impatient to see results too soon. I have learned the hard way that even the best policies take time to evolve and culminate into something feasible. I would say I am more patient while he has the urgency of youth, which again, is not a bad thing.”
Sharing his thoughts, Shivam Agarwal said, “I think the best part of working together is having someone who truly cares about what you do. It’s like a movie, because imagine having a person who really wishes with all their heart to teach you whatever they’ve learnt over a lifetime of hard work. It truly is an amazing opportunity. Furthermore, this isn’t just a biased opinion but I really do think that my father is one of the smartest people I know. From the circumstances he had been brought up in, to the position he has reached today, it is nothing short of a miracle; all thanks to an insane work ethic and a strong base of honest values.”
“I’M WILLING TO BET THAT 9/10 TIMES, A CUP OF COFFEE ALONG WITH A HEART TO HEART AT A RANDOM COFFEE SHOP WITH YOUR DAD, WILL CREATE A RELATIONSHIP OF TRUSTWORTHINESS AND UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN YOU BOTH THAT TRANSCENDS EXPECTATIONS AND ANY PROBLEMS OR CHALLENGES.” SHIVAM AGARWAL
While on a lighter note he adds, “Salary negotiations are usually really hard!, “but on a relatively serious note, Shivam confesses that being with each other all the time can be challenging sometimes. “I love him to death, but imagine seeing your dad 16/ 16 hrs of your waking day… it’s a lot! Also, you can’t complain about your boss at the dinner table.”
Jimmy Mistry, Chairman, Della Group states, “The best part about working together with daughter Pearl is having a seamless understanding. It gets so easy and productive because when you work together you know what lies in the DNA of the person within the family and hence you know how the person thinks and the person knows how you think. So, father and daughter working together is amazing since you know each other’s strengths and weaknesses better than any other human in the world and hence you begin to complement each other rather than compete with each other.
The advantages are countless and it’s an amazing experience and feeling. The challenging aspects he adds are the managing of time & taking each other for granted. “With an outsider you are conscious of the time you have given when you work together but as father and daughter we tend to take our own people for granted at times. You have the luxury of saying I’m not in the mood to do this which you would not do with an outsider also at times when you are not up to it you tend to throw tantrums more at your own people and hence it creates some amount of tension of stress between the two but if you are mature enough and can handle it I think it’s a wonderful experience.”
“DAD’S ONLY EXPECTATION I CANNOT MEET UP TO IS THE ONE WHERE HE WANTS EVERYTHING TO BE DONE AS ON YESTERDAY. JOKES APART, WE REALISED THERE IS NOTHING AN OPEN CONVERSATION CANNOT HANDLE.” PEARL MISTRY
Pearl Jimmy Mistry, is the Director at Della Group and according to her the best part is to ‘actually be part’ of businesses. “I have witnessed dad build whilst growing up and now having my own role to play with him in their next phase. Dad is meticulous about his research process, especially design, so collectively brainstorming is something I personally cherish. Working together also entails we always have each other for company. I think there is rarely a work event you won’t spot us together.”
She also feels that sometimes the emotions and comfort of a personal relationship get in the way, especially on a bad day. “It is very important to sympathise with the other and also learn when to leave work at the office and not carry forward events of the day back home. We are three siblings working together and dad has always ensured we stay tolerant to each other’s opinions and accepting of constructive criticism to create a good workspace.”
Basant Parakh, Managing Director, Orbit Group considers working with his son Arihant, the amalgamation of tradition and technology. “The younger generation has age, intellect and exposure on their side. We have experience and wisdom. The amalgamation of both is the perfect combination for long term success.” He is also of the view that bridging the generation gap can be a difficult part. “It is very important to get aligned to the varied approach to a given situation. But, this is usually at an early stage but gradually with time things get resolved and a stronger team is envisaged.”
As per Arihant Parekh, Director of Orbit Group shared, “When you work with your father, there is a comfort factor that I have someone to always have my back. The day I joined the business, I already had an experience of 20 years to start with. What better arsenal do you need than experience! But, then there also a challenging aspect of ensuring and maintaining the legacy. The eye for detailing, the relationships with all stakeholders, ensuring quality and trust; is a huge mountain to climb. On the other hand, it’s very difficult to make our parents move out of their comfort zone. We have to make them understand our perspective and style of working, which can and might be slightly more efficient and effective. Although, it doesn’t imply their style is wrong.”
“THE MISTAKE WE MAKE IS TO ARGUE. WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE ORGANISATION IS THEIR BABY, IT WILL TAKE TIME FOR THEM TO LET GO.” ARIHANT PARAKH
Alfaz Miller, Principal Architect & Founder, ABM Architects says, “The best part of working together is the freshness that his daughter Aahana gets to the firms creative work and the enthusiasm to try out new things. And the most challenging aspect of working together, he says is to handle the staff who have been used to working in the old ways; and handling relationships with old clients who take so much for granted.”
“YOU NOT ONLY HAVE TO MANAGE A PARTNER BUT ALSO A PARENT; SEPARATING THEM AS A PROFESSIONAL AND A PARENTS IS CHALLENGING.” AAHANA MILLER
Aahana Miller, working as an Architect & Interior Designer at ABM Architects feels the good part is the embracing of each other’s differences, learning from each other and growing together. “But, it also comes with the challenges of bringing in new methods and technologies to an established firm and trying to make positive change to old mind-set,” she said.
THE MOST UNIQUE LEARNINGS FROM EACH OTHER
Arihant Parakh – The quality of handling Human Resource. It’s a very difficult task and art to ensure loyalty in these times, which I feel my father has mastered. Secondly, the passion he puts into every project. Even after being in the industry for 25 years, he has a childlike enthusiasm for every new project. Lastly, putting relationships above everyone else. Nothing is more important for my father than the relationship he shares and thrives to maintain with all the members and stakeholders of the organisation. This is the most important aspect that I have learnt and thrive to achieve.”
Basant Parakh – “The younger generation has a great enthusiasm when it comes to their work and career. They have new ideas cropping up every day and that is what is exciting about working in tandem with them. Working with my son has opened me to newer technologies and ideas which I thought was never possible. He is willing to take calculated risks and spark growth in their own way. I feel the younger generation are the force to take businesses ahead and we as parents can be the shock absorbers, if needed, guarding them from contingencies.”
WORKING WITH YOUR FATHER BRINGS WITH IT ITS OWN CHECKS AND BALANCES. WHILE, THE UPSIDE IS THE LEARNING FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF THE ELDER GENERATION, THE DOWNSIDE COULD BE THE FRICTION OF IDEAS.
Pearl Mistry – “I started working with Dad at a very early age and realised I took time to balance the boss from the father. Over the years we found our own home and office personas were pretty much the same & I realised I inculcated his strong work ethic that put things into perspective. Consecutively, the second learning being, respect is earned through hard work and leading by example is the only way to run a successful enterprise. Lastly I still learning from him how to handle multiple things at once (& the stress that comes with it).”
Jimmy Mistry – “Theam biggest learning I’ve realised is, when to let-go, when to give the person space and when to interact, indulge and work very up close and personal. I have learned to give ample amount of space to each other and that when you indulge and give yourself quality time and give it to 100% that makes both people realise the importance of being together and working together. Understand strengths and weaknesses and work towards complimenting them, hence developing a much better understanding and finally having a much, much better work environment and output collectively.”
Aahana Miller– “Practical knowledge of working on a project from start to finish, learning to how to engage with clients and also how to tackle issues in real time on site are some of the things I am taking as learnings.”
Alfaz Miller – “ I have learned to take more time for projects, get into a formal scope and fee as also how to work smart and cut down unproductive work.”
Shivam Agarwal – “My first learning was- When you’re having a bad day, write down all your problems and assess them. When you’re reading through them you’ll realize that a lot of them aren’t problems to begin with, so you strike them out. And before you know it your page is either full of scribbles or you’re full of courage. Second learning I was given was – When you reach a position in life, never forget where you started and all the people who helped you along the way. If anyone (friend or foe) ever needs anything, go out of your way to help them if you are able to; nothing matters more than helping someone when they need it. I have also learned not to be obsessed with being number 1! Because the number 1 person at anything usually has more things that worry them than make them happy. Just try to do your best, learn as much as possible and most of all don’t take any shortcuts or cheat anyone.”
Bijay Agarwal – “Shivam has a creative bent of mind, while I am analytical and finance oriented. He has also inherited my mathematical genes and is good with numbers. When we work together, he is a good antidote for my logical thinking. While we may have different bents of mind, by and large, we have similar opinions. He comes up with innovative ideas which I welcome, discuss and we come to a common conclusion. I like the freshness of perspective that Shivam brings. He has travelled the world and he wants to bring the global work culture back home. There is no place for apathy and lack of performance. I have learnt from him, that like in the West, performance is everything. Thirdly and most importantly, we have both held on to our solid middle class values. My son has seen my journey of struggle and hardship. He has managed to keep himself grounded at a grass roots level, imbibing the values and honesty of a down to earth upbringing and that I believe is not going to change for either of us.”
BEING THE ROLE MODEL
Expressing his thoughts as a father, Alfaz Miller shared how he manages his expectations. “I try to understand Aahana’s point of view and recognise that she belongs to the Next Gen with a very different view on the Work – Life balance.”
Accepting the pressure of being the role model as a father Bijay Agarwal added. “A boy’s first hero is his father. So of course there was always pressure to be the best role model I could possibly be. Your son is constantly emulating you. I learnt early, to let go and let my son explore his talents. I did not want a clone of myself. I sent him abroad to study so that he can find his true calling. He chose marketing as his career path and really enjoyed working in the US. Being away from your dad, yet knowing he is there to fall back on, gave him independence as well as security. We are the safety net they need to explore the world. As parents we have to remember that our children come from us, but they don’t ‘belong’ to us. Once we know this divine truth, we can embrace their decisions easily.”
MANAGING PARENTAL EXPECTATIONS
Aahana Miller, “You not only have to manage a partner but also a parent; separating them as a professional and a parents is challenging.”
Pearl Mistry, “He is very vocal about any expectation he has from me whilst I am equally transparent on either my willingness or ability in regards to the same. Most times my parents & I have the same vision/ expectations for my personal growth so it’s good to have two other people wanting to help achieve it.”
Arihant Parakh, “It will always be a tough task to match parental expectation. The best way to ensure a healthy relationship is to hear them out, analyse it and then put forward your views. More often than not, our views will be accepted and implemented.”
Shivam Agrawal, “I would say communication is key. Parents always want what’s best for you, but it isn’t necessary that their best remotely resembles what you picture your best to be. A good way to get over that according to me, is to talk things out.”