Every entrepreneur who is just getting started needs to be humble, open to learning, must be choosy about his mentors and must start getting comfortable with risk. As a young and dynamic leader who steered a small, boot-strapped real estate firm to grow 17 times in a short span of time, Monica Matthias, Director Hoysala Projects has this advice to give for all start-ups.
In a free-wheeling interview with StartUp Insider, Matthias talks about leadership, her success mantra and much more.
Excerpts of the interview:
Introduce yourself in a few words…
As a versatile, extroverted go-getter with a strong bias for action, I enjoy finding ‘play in work’. I find that accomplishing quality work with purpose satisfies my personality & my soul!
I come from a highly educated family with a bias for corporate employment wherein I seem to have bucked the trend! I have 2 young children, fraternal twins who keep me on my toes and show me the joys of keeping it simple, everyday!
Leadership according to you….
As a leader, I feel a sense of success and accomplishment when both of these fall into place – imagining and selling a shared vision for the organization, to all stakeholders and then, working with team members & playing to their strengths in achieving this shared vision.
Once these 2 qualities are in order, other strengths like resilience and the ability to take calibrated risks add more heft to leadership.
About your company that you helped grow from scratch…
Having started my professional journey as a typical premier-B school graduate, I worked with some of the most reputed MNC banks in India in their capital advisory businesses for under a decade. I then joined Hoysala Projects in 2010 as I found the call of growing a smaller, boot-strapped company to be a siren call. The challenges were real (not knowing the local bylaws, local language and required industry network) but the opportunity to ‘create’ and deliver a project was too big and exciting to be overlooked.
I must confess to having had a smooth entry into Hoysala Projects as the promoter was very vested in my success. His hand-holding was meticulous the 1st year and made a world of difference to my understanding the nuances of a new industry. Having said that, navigating a new industry requires one to bring to the table- a mix of agility, rapid learning and the ability to iterate quickly from mistakes. In fact, calibrated risk taking is a valuable skill for all to hone and bring to the table, be it in any start-up or in any change/growth endeavor.
Your success mantra…
Success, often is a moving milestone and morphs over time & circumstances (as COVID itself, has helped many of us redefine success over the past 2 years!).
Having said that, I consider my day to be a success if I am able to devote myself to work, family and play and so, a typical day continues to balance on the 2 pivots of deep focus and strong prioritization. I find that a couple of focused hours per day can deliver impact, provided that my prioritization is on point. After many years of practice, a day without prioritized tasks, usually feels flat!
Your advice to entrepreneurs who are just getting started….
I cannot claim to always have followed these tips(!) but certainly it helps to
- Be humble and open to learning, every single day of your journey- It’s tough to do this consistently but the reward payoff can be stellar once you’ve mastered a learning-feedback loop for yourself. This applies to not just a start-up but relationships, parenting etc too.
- Be choosy about your mentors but get yourself a(or many) mentors. They have walked the path before you and can see potential opportunities/pitfalls way before you can. They can offer clarity and help as sounding boards.
- Start getting comfortable with risk (and uncertainty): This is easier said than done but deep-diving into your own deeply -held views about risk, failure and uncertainty is an exercise, that I would recommend. Doing so can free up immense mental bandwidth into the actual visioning& running of your company!
Next game changer in real estate industry….
I think, the real estate industry is ripe for multiple disruptions, be it via technology, capital market interventions, the democratization of asset class ownership etc. In the past 6-7 years, foreign funds inflow to this sector has already enabled several global best practices. In the coming decade, I foresee this industry becoming far more tech-sophisticated with adoption of IoT and block-chain enabled provenance tracking becoming the norm.
In the coming 5 years, you see yourself as….
Technology has such an outlier effect on society and culture today that prediction seems almost like an exercise in futility! But having made 2 pivots in my career already from banking to real estate development, my future interests will definitely include the application of tech in touching consumer lives. I thrive on growing businesses to scale and I am certain, the way ahead for this will be a cornerstone of technology, customer -centricity and social relevance.