The new CEO of iProperty.com Malaysia & Singapore, Haresh Khoobchandani is redefining leadership in the Age of Disruption
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have spent most of my life living and working in Asia. In my professional career that has spanned over 19 years, I was involved in the services, retail and distribution industries. The roles I took on included marketing and sales leadership positions which covered both country and regionally. Some of my roles in recent years included being the CMO for our Consumer & Online business for APAC, COO for Microsoft Indonesia, MD for Microsoft Thailand and GM Microsoft Business Solutions for Asia Pacific based in Singapore.
My experiences in the region have also allowed me to develop deep competencies in driving turnaround and growing businesses in Southeast Asia. In addition to sales and marketing, I developed an understanding of technology and its implications to the world we live in today, including the transformation that it is driving across industries. Through this learning and my experiences working with customers, I have partnered with organisations across the region to drive their digital transformation. Having worked with some amazing people at Microsoft and the partner ecosystem, we delivered programmes of growth and expansion for Microsoft, leading digital transformation projects including moving Microsoft Thailand from a primarily on-premise software business to a mobile-first cloud-first company.
How can you describe your leadership style?
The best leaders are those who can change with the times. They are the ones with foresight and adaptability, who do not rule from a manual but rather customise a culture that is specific to each company, its mission and the personality of its workforce.
To me, leadership is less about my needs, and more about the needs of the people and the organisation I am leading. Leadership styles are not something to be tried on like so many suits, to see which fits. Rather, they should be adapted to the particular demands of the situation, the specific requirements of the people involved and the particular challenges facing the organisation.
I am a firm believer in empowering rather than micromanaging people. Everybody has a different skill set, strength and weakness. No two people are the same and it is important to motivate them accordingly for them to see and develop their full potential.
I challenge people but I avoid a culture of fear and foster a culture of pride and team spirit. Happy staff are productive staff, plus people are more likely to stay with you if you treat them well.
What do you consider to be the challenges in the real estate industry in Malaysia and Singapore?
Each market is very different, but one of the most significant similarities between each country is the need to build a digital real estate advertising market from the ground up. To do this, we need to provide the most compelling customer and consumer proposition to the market.
Together with our parent company REA Group in Australia, we are now set up to start turning the dial and accelerate the move from print to online advertising. Our mission is to change the way the world experiences property. It is a bold ambition that puts intelligence from data (different sorts of data) and technology at the heart of the consumer experience. We want to be known for providing the best in class customer and consumer property experiences in every market we operate in.
What is your vision for iProperty and how do you plan to take it to the next level? What is your 2017 plan?
We are in an industry that is rapidly evolving and one that requires us to have the vision and courage to create big ideas.
We have a strong portfolio of products and services that help consumers find their dream home or next property investment with ease. We have products and solutions that position us as the preferred digital advertising partner for your customers.
My priority will be to leverage on the rich consumer insights that we have across our businesses to deepen our engagement and to enhance brand preference of consumers across the region through innovative marketing approaches.
How do you see the property market changing over the next 10 years?
The technological disruption that is happening in the real estate sector will go far beyond changing the way properties are sold and purchased, but also how it is showcased and marketed. It will require us to become more adaptable and agile in order to remain relevant and competitive. Increasingly data will play a greater role in the property experience both in the sales and marketing side and how we drive greater personalised experiences.
Our purpose of changing the way the world experiences property will continue to drive our priorities both locally and globally.
What has been the most exciting moment in your life?
There have been many moments I have had in my life that has been nothing short of exciting! But the birth of my kids has been probably the most amazing time for me.
How do you unwind?
I enjoy good music, movies, nature and spending time with the family. A good glass of wine thrown in just makes it even better ;)