Dr. Sanjaya Sarathy


The Adaptive Leader Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Dr. Sanjaya Sarathy

Associate Vice President - R&D,

IOL Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals

Driven by a curiosity sparked in his school days, Dr. Sanjaya Sarathy was captivated by the diverse lifestyles coexisting around him—a blend of colonial charm and modern dynamics. It was within this colourful collage that his passions for connecting with people and innovating began to take root. The pivotal moment came in 1994 with the success of his project, “New Madras.” This accomplishment inspired his deep dive into the worlds of construction and real estate, shaping a remarkable journey spanning over three thriving decades.
Early in his career, Dr. Sanjaya observed a common trend among CEOs—an emphasis on specific business aspects, overlooking a holistic approach. Determined to chart a different course, he immersed himself completely in the industry—from land acquisition and budget management to driving sales and overseeing project execution— forging a path defined by operational excellence and sustained growth.
Fuelled by an entrepreneurial spirit and a talent for spotting new opportunities, Dr. Sanjaya consistently reshaped industry norms. His interpersonal skills—strong leadership, effective communication, motivational abilities, and unwavering loyalty—remained the bedrock of his success. His journey includes significant roles, notably as President in Hiranandani Group, where his strategic acumen transformed industry landscapes. Today, as the CEO of Pashmina Developers, Dr. Sanjaya continues to script a narrative of innovation and success. Here, he crafts comprehensive strategies, mentors senior management, navigates investments, oversees operations, and spearheads business development initiatives.
In an exclusive conversation with TradeFlock, he discusses more about his professional journey, achievements, and strategies.

How do you evaluate strategic partnerships to ensure they align with company objectives?

Identifying and assessing potential strategic partnerships involves two key parameters in my approach. Firstly, evaluating the ‘value proposition’ ensures alignment with predefined criteria and needs, focusing on their strengths and how they complement our objectives. Secondly, assessing ‘Compatibility’ involves examining corporate culture, operational styles, and overarching goals to ensure synergy and shared vision. This dual evaluation ensures a thorough and professional assessment of potential partnerships.

What was your toughest challenge in driving company growth, and how did you overcome it?

The most challenging obstacle I encountered while driving growth for a company was revolutionising customer service in the real estate sector back in 2000. At that time, the industry standard involved delayed responses to customer inquiries, which impacted sales and overall company performance. Recognising this gap, I spearheaded the i4 CRM concept, ensuring its seamless implementation. Understanding the crucial need for swift responses and personalised hospitality for high-involvement products, this initiative significantly contributed to our company’s success. This innovative approach became a renowned case study in management education, published by NUS, Singapore.
Additionally, navigating the complexities of larger townships brought forth fresh challenges and invaluable learning experiences. Conventional methods often proved inadequate, demanding outside-thebox thinking and unconventional approaches that took years to yield anticipated results. Embracing an optimistic mindset was pivotal in handling the intricate planning and implementation of 4–5 business mappings, where some strategies succeeded while others did not. This unwavering positivity ultimately led to the successful development of entire townships today.

What strengths and weaknesses fuel your professional drive?

My professional spirit is fuelled by my strengths in strategic thinking, adeptness with numbers, effective people management, and proficiency in P/L management. I prioritise team creation, fostering positivity that empowers teams to excel even amidst challenges.
However, if I were to identify a weakness, it would be my occasional struggle with making quick decisions and swiftly accepting situations to move forward. This aspect serves as an area where I continually strive to enhance my capabilities.

How do you balance short-term goals with long-term strategies for operational improvements and performance enhancement?

I maintain a dual focus on both short-term goals and long-term strategy by considering the organisation’s big picture. For immediate objectives, I execute a two-year plan emphasising cash flow optimisation, team alignment, and streamlined decision-making. This sets the stage for the completion of township projects over 7-8 years, aligning with a strategic vision for sustained growth, operational enhancements, and meeting business priorities.

What influenced your leadership style or business approach the most: a book, a mentor, or a specific experience?

The book “Two States” is a personal favourite, aligning with my research interests in ‘Opinion Leaders and Conspicuous Consumption’, reflected in my authored scholarly works. Real estate titans like P. N. C. Menon and Dr. Niranjan Hiranandani have profoundly influenced my leadership style. Their mentorship instilled values of quality, resilience, and a ‘Go-Getter’ mindset, driving me to approach ordinary tasks in extraordinary ways in business.

What's the legacy you aim to leave in the companies or industries you've impacted?

My legacy centres on instilling disciplined and optimistic leadership within companies. Identifying and nurturing future leaders has been a key focus, ensuring the organisation is primed for continued success. Acknowledgement from the company, even to this day, speaks to the impact of this approach.
Beyond conventional measures of success, I’ve tackled challenging, distressed projects with low chances of success. Despite initial difficulties, I’ve successfully shaped and completed these endeavours, refusing to relent. This resilient attitude, coupled with an unwavering commitment, has been ingrained in my employees, contributing significantly to our collective success story and leaving a lasting legacy of resilience and triumph.
















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