Sankey Prasad: India’s Inspirational Leader 2018-2019
In Conversation with Sankey Prasad, Founder Chairman and Managing Director at SYNERGY PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT SERVICES. Selected as India’s Inspirational Business Leader by WCRC for his incredible contribution to the industry.
Years of working in the industry, your contribution reflects versatility and volubility. What has influenced your decision making process at various stages?
As far as decision making is concerned, it is an art and a gift, especially to make the right decisions. During the course of life, I have made several mistakes. The mistakes made in the process of decision making was taken as lessons learnt, which helped in improving and making things more perfect.
My vast experience in various fields both internationally and locally in India on some of the most prestigious projects; technical and commercial exposure to various aspects of the job and business acumen have been a major factor which enabled me to take the right decisions at the appropriate time.
Finally, in my entrepreneurial role with Synergy, my field of education as a civil engineer and the experience I gained over several decades, did make a big difference in my decision-making process.
A project or an accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career?
Starting Synergy in Jan 2003 and making it the No. 1 Project Management Consultancy company in India within a short span of time was one of the finest moments in my career, especially during the time when the world looked at India with a lot of concern on businesses start-up. To have managed the like of Blackstone Real Estate Partners, one of the largest private equity in the world – having done the due diligence and invested 35% equity in 2008, was a great achievement, as it evidenced transparency and high level of integrity with which the business was managed.
In my career spanning over 36 years in the industry, there are several landmark projects which I can look back and feel truly blessed and satisfied; ranging from some of the finest retail malls (Select City Walk, Delhi), to state-of-the-art super-speciality hospitals (Medanta The Medcity, Gurgaon) and some of the best operating business parks (Embassy Golf Links Business Park, Bangalore) in the country.
How do you integrate corporate philanthropy or corporate social responsibility as a part of your business strategies?
Social responsibility is more important to any organisation or individual than the business. I believe that while we are blessed with the needs of our day-to-day life, we have a strong moral responsibility to see that the society we live in is benefitted and uplifted equally or more. In Synergy, I have been successful in creating this awareness among my colleagues and inculcating the culture to support those in need, by not only assisting them monetarily but also investing time and effort to give back to the society. Synergy as a company has an active CSR wing; our focus has always been on education and healthcare. Synergy is involved in supporting educational institutions for the financially deprived and sponsoring their medical needs. We have successfully deployed mobile cancer detection units with primary focus on rural India.
What has been your driving force or philosophy in life?
Trust in God. Thanking him for all his compassion, doing good to others as much as you can, bringing a smile on someone’s face and sharing others problems, being happy, enjoying work by giving your best, living life as life it is too short to carry the extra luggage of any stress, ego or hatred, are some of the philosophies that I live by.
What are the other philanthropic works you are involved in?
I have always believed in giving back to the society, right from my childhood; maybe it had to do with my upbringing and paternal guidance. I would not like to disclose my personal involvement as I wish to hold it close to my heart. If every entrepreneur in this country did his bit of giving back to the society, in the form of support for healthcare, education and housing, I am sure prosperity will naturally follow.
How do you define success and how do you measure up to your own definition?
Success is a very difficult word to define; it varies from individual to individual. Success to me is happiness. Give my 100 percent to anything I do, which will yield effective results. If success is defined by how much money you make, I would prefer to redefine it by how much of a difference you can make in people’s lives with that money. If success is defined by innovation and technology, I would prefer to redefine it by how these can make a positive change in people’s lives, and so on.
Managing work-life balance and being able to spend uncompromised time with family is the most integral part of my success mantra and when I am able to achieve this, a greater sense of satisfaction of being successful sets in
We are constantly making things better, faster, smarter or less expensive. In other words, we strive to do more with less. Tell me about a recent project or solution to a problem that you have made better, faster, smarter or less expensive?
Synergy has been a frontrunner in the industry in terms of adopting technology; be it construction or management. We were one of the first to develop an in-house Management Information System (MIS) specifically designed and developed to address the needs of project delivery. This gave real-time access to information for our internal governance and also enabled our clients to access information pertaining to various aspects of project delivery, be it cost, quality, health & safety or schedules, considerably reducing the turnaround time required for these processes. This brought in greater transparency in the way we do things and was much appreciated by our clients. Synergy was also among the first in the industry to implement ASITE, a web collaboration system, wherein we find a major paradigm shift in our on-time delivery and a greater transparency in the management process and minimising cost. This also helped Synergy reduce dependency on manpower, which is a crisis we face in the industry today.
In your opinion what is the most significant aspect of leadership?
I have always maintained and guided Synergy with one concept, lead from the front. An effective leader/ manager should know his job and should be able to provide solutions, especially during crisis to take up the challenge and resolve rather than shying away. He/she should be a good listener and need to be fair and unbiased in decisions. In my opinion, a true leader focuses on people and not on authority. You are recognised as a leader when you are relationship-driven and not position-driven. I attribute my success as a leader by valuing relationship above business.
To work towards maximizing returns, my leadership approach is to keep my client’s needs met first; providing a selfless environment to my employees. Leadership is also about empowering people along the way, motivating and staying the course even when things aren’t going well.
Your perception of an empowered society.
In my perspective, a truly empowered society is where every individual is free to make their own choices and decisions, without having to worry about the repercussions or outcomes. The opportunity to experiment, innovate and challenge, without the fear of failure is my perception of an empowered society. We as an industry provide a safe environment, where equality and meritocracy are valued above everything else. Our industry employs some of the most qualified and talented engineers, who have the opportunity to work on a host of leading-edge technologies alongside bright minds. The industry propagates equal opportunity and exponential career growth for talented employees. We at Synergy comprise of over 1000 employees whose passion is to ‘build’ an empowered society. We empower Synergians to take informed decisions and learn from their mistakes; we also have senior experts constantly reviewing and mentoring the employees at every stage.
One thing you wish to change and one thing you wish to retain about your industry?
Change the perception of the real estate and construction industry – for it to be looked up with dignity, which will be possible only by a change in attitude of the stake holders and provide value to the end customers. In my opinion, this needs to change right from the grass root level of education.
One thing I would like to retain is the positive economic impact it has on the society by creating inclusive employment opportunity.
One thing you have to let go off as an entrepreneur/leader?
As an entrepreneur, you need to let go the inclination to micromanage. Empowering your team and adding value brings success and optimism, which in itself is the catalyst for growth.
Whom do you owe your success to?
Response: I owe my success to:
a) God Almighty
b) My family and the wonderful team of talented professionals at Synergy
c) Trust put in by clients who have given a 100 percent repeat orders based on merit and performance
Best thing about your job?
I love my work. It gives me immense satisfaction to have built a team of 1000 professionals and have earned their respect through hard work and dedication. The fact that I am able to contribute to the society and to the field of real estate, motivates me to keep going every day.
A message from you to all the future entrepreneurs/leaders?
I’m sure each entrepreneur or leader would define their journey on their own terms. However, there are certain attributes all future entrepreneurs and leaders should possess, which are – honesty, integrity and hard work. The ones who possess these three characteristics are unstoppable which will lead them to the path of success and great heights.
About Sankey Prasad
Sankey Prasad is an entrepreneur, mentor, angel investor and philanthropist; above all a visionary. One of the most successful construction professionals in the country with an enviable track record; before starting his entrepreneurial stint, Sankey worked in various capacities in the real estate sector across India, UK, Africa & the Middle East
He is the Founder, Chairman & Managing Director of Synergy Property Development Services, an International Project Management & Engineering Consultancy firm, which has been consistently ranked among the leading Construction Services Company in the country. Apart from Synergy, Sankey is also an Angel Investor to a hand-full of start-ups and also finds time to mentor young entrepreneurs to take good decisions and build confidence. Sankey is a notable patron, well known for his philanthropy, who believes deeply in “Giving back to the Society”.