About Jeevan D'mello
Jeevan D’Mello is the CEO of Zenesis Corporation. He is also the co-author of the bestselling series of books, “The World’s best real estate managers”. He is a highly sought after leadership speaker, trainer, and a Community Management expert. Bringing with him a diverse experience in a multitude of fields, we are happy to have someone of his stature on our interview series.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Jeevan D’Mello today to our interview series. I’m Sumitha Mariyam from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick intro of PeopleHum - peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work.
We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.
Welcome Jeevan, We're thrilled to have you
Thank you very much. Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity And thank you for that wonderful introduction. I feel so happy to hear that.
It's absolutely a pleasure and Jeevan going on to the first question I have for you.
Can you tell us a little bit about your work as a community management expert? Can you elaborate a little bit on that?
Absolutely. And when I say community management, I am talking about real estate community management and not to be confused with online community management, which people manage blogs or forums and so on and so forth. And just to tell you about real estate, community management. And this is very, very connected to the other real estate management profession.
So real estate management is an umbrella of various professions within real estate space. And within that we have different types of professions. We have the property manager and the property managers, someone who looks after people's personal properties. And then we have the facilities manager or the facility management people, and they look after all the nuts and bowls and the cleaning and the disinfection and in the maintenance of the various communities.
And then you have the asset manager asset manager who looks after the financial aspect of a real estate project and last but not the least, and probably those the smartest group of all what we call the community management people. And we are looking after the communities as a whole.So the communities in whole, the communities in India, They're called cooperative housing societies and Dubai, they're called owners associations in the USA, they call HOA’s in Australia and and some other parts they're called body Corporates very similarly, these are all communities, real estate, communities where people own and live together.
So this is the profession of community management, a little bit about myself. I am an architect by profession, and while I started my career as an architect, I was very privileged to hand over the first freehold community in Dubai. And when I handed off the first property to an expatriate because before 2002 , you were not allowed to buy property in this part of the world. But in 2002 onwards, people were allowed to buy properties, and I was the first I had the privilege of handing over the first one.
And ever since that time I managed over 170 towers and 14,000 Villas here in Dubai. I was also privileged to be one of the first members of the Bhuj Khalifa community. The Burj Khalifa, of course, is the tallest tower in the world, and I managed the tower for many, many years. I left about two years ago and have started my new business and my consultancy programme Zenesis corporation, of which I am the CEO today.
It's wonderful and while going to your LinkedIn profile, we saw this particular term called happiness evangelist.
Can you tell us a little bit about your work as happiness evangelist.
I am a great believer in happiness as a whole and I also believe that happiness is a choice. A lot of people say I am not happy because of him or because of her or you don't make me happy or she doesn't make me happy or he doesn't make me happy. I believe happiness is an inside job. Only you can make yourself happy. No one else can make yourself happy or unhappy.
I believe happiness is an inside job. Only you can make yourself happy. No one else can make you happy or unhappy
And so I am on this mission of promoting this whole theory or it's not really a theory anymore. A real fact of that, you cannot depend on somebody else for your happiness.
Now don't don't get confused about human emotions. For example, we may feel happy today. We may feel sad. We may feel stressed out. We may feel depressed. We may be angry, especially now during these trying times.
People have a whole range of emotions, and there's nothing wrong with these emotions they are neither right nor wrong. These are human emotions, and as human beings we will feel this every day, every single day.
So there are many times that I also feel a little happy. I feel a little sad, I feel a little stressed out and so on and so forth. The question here I ask people is, what are you doing about it? So when you look at all these emotions and all the situations you're in and when you ask yourself this question and then you take actions to circumvent these emotions, you take actions to go above and beyond it.
That's where you can really start making changes in your life and how you can become happy. And so my mission is really to talk to people about this and Evangelize. Therefore, evangelize this whole aspect of happiness and I do this by my social media channels, my post, my blog's articles. I am also very pleased to tell you I am writing a new book. It's called Happy Dubai, and it's a book, all about stories of happiness being delivered by ordinary people here in Dubai.
So ordinary people are delivering extraordinary gifts of happiness by helping other people by supporting causes by doing things that can really deliver happiness.
All the best and congratulations for that.
So while we deal with the emotions and things like that, my next question for you would be How would you advise leaders of today who are suddenly forced to manage a remote team
Today actually, leadership has become very critical, far more critical than before. Today, bosses have really, really have to step up. This is the time for us as leaders to show our leadership. I don't know if you heard of this team servant leaders, servant leaders are those people who are no longer just the boss. I mean, it's easy to become a boss, and it's easy to behave as a boss. But behaving as a servant, behaving as someone to support you, that's very critical today because a lot of people are going through stress, anxiety, anger, depression.
Here is the time for us leaders to go and talk to those people. We need to be there for our teams. This is where coaching, mentoring comes into play, encouraging them to learn to grow. We got to tell her people to stop reacting and begin responding. Reset, rethink, relearn, reinvent. These are the terms I am using with a lot of people today because it's very important for us as leaders to understand these terms.
Constant communication with the teams because everyone is working remotely. So even me and my staff, we are all working remotely. But every morning I talk to my staff. We talk about different things, what is happening during the day, and I always give them tips on what they can do for themselves. So, we need to re energise our teams as leaders, and we have to also instill some self discipline.
We need to re energise our teams as leaders, and we have to also instil some self discipline
And what I mean by self discipline is that now people are working remotely. There is no boss or supervisor that's a breathing down their shoulder and looking at what they do. So it's time for self deception. We got to really understand we are at home. We are working from home. But we are working and therefore we need to set a timetable. We need to work in a quiet space, we gotta tell our spouse, or better halves or kids to respect that space. And as leaders, we need to give these tips to our employees and to partners.
That's wonderful. Leaders should be ready to serve, and the employees should be ready to understand that they are responsible for what they're doing right now. And you can't bring an excuse and save the case. I had that at home. I couldn't work.
Because we're all in the same boat as employees and employers is the same situation as an employer, I have to look after the well being of my staff, but I need to also look after my well being because I am paying my staff to perform in certain jobs. They are unable to perform a lot of the jobs that have employed them for, so I got to be understanding about their fact that they probably con’t do everything that they're supposed to.
But the employees, in turn, should also understand that here is my employer and he or she is now investing, has invested in us and is continuing to invest in us. But we need to give back to my employer because we need to prove to him or her that we are worth it. So, kind for two is street and having these regular communication sessions just online through any kind of remote app like what we are using is a great way for as leaders to actually show our relevance and to show that we really care about our staff
That’s wonderful and that I think that's really relevant now and also according to you,
What would be the top three things that organizations of today have to focus on to increase employee engagement and improve the experience of employees in organizations?
Yeah, absolutely, this is probably the best time for us to prove our worth both for the employer and for the employees and for the employer or for the manager. He or she has to really think of many different items. For me, the top three would be the, the first one is, creating a support structure for our teams. Now when I say support structure,I am talking about different things and talking about physical, emotional or psychological and I am talking about intellectual and professional as well.
And why all these, many people would say, Listen, you're just an employer. They're supposed to do what they tell you. You don't have to worry about all these things. No. And I believe we must worry about it because when we employ someone, when it's someone who is working for us, we are employing the whole person. It's them physically, it's them mentally, It’s them psychologically, It’s them emotionally, everything comes into play.
And if we provide a support structure for them, when I am talking about support structure, I am talking about, well being? Are they okay, Are they physically okay? Do they have the right environment to work from? Do they have a good, strong Internet Connection? Do they have enough medication? enough food? Are the kids well taken care of? So we, as employers, must look at that aspect.
Then we're talking about emotions. Are you stressed? How can I help you? Okay, maybe you need to take a day off Don't worry about it. So we need to give all these different aspects in this social aspect.
The second one is coaching and training. I am a great believer in coaching and training because we need to prepare our employees and our partners are co workers for the future as well. So it's not just today it's for tomorrow. And how can they get better? Today there are so many opportunities available. I am doing almost one course per day, or at least another webinar. There are courses by Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn learning, there are courses of everything you can think of. So it's a good time for telling employees to please develop yourself. Try to do what you can do to be a better person when you come out of this pandemic.
The third thing and I think a very important thing for us managers and bosses and employers is giving a clear vision of the future, especially today. We need to tell our people that we are gonna come out of this and we are going to come out of it strong and this is what we are going to do for the future. So don't lose heart. We haven't closed down. We're not gonna shut shop. We are not to do this, But guess what? We are going to do this Plus this.
So that's what I told my staff. In fact, I told them that nobody has worked from home before. But after this, I am gonna offer them all an opportunity to work from home, maybe one day, a week, maybe twice a week, or maybe work one week from home and one week in the office. Many of them loved the idea because they said, hey we got a chance to be with our family. We got a chance to refresh ourselves.
So we need to be very clear about this. And I always believe we need to choose clarity over cleverness. We don't need to be clever. We don't need to tell our people we are smarter than them. We just need to tell people. Here is a clear vision of clarity over cleverness.
I always believe we need to choose clarity over cleverness. We don’t need to be clever. We don’t need to tell our people we are smarter than them. We just need to tell people. Here is a clear vision of clarity over cleverness
That's wonderful. Having that vision with you and improving the loyalty of your employees during this time is something that all organisations should focus on because now they may need you to be with them and that is absolutely important. And the part about the learning and development. I love it. I think that's absolutely essential to every organisation to make it a point to tell their employees, come out stronger than you are right now.
Absolutely, because this is the opportunity, you are not going to get these opportunities very much in the future. So when we tell our employees we are held, we are here to make you more employable. That means And I tell this to my staff all the time because I know my staff are not going to stay with me forever. They're gonna look after another job. They're going to upgrade themselves, and I am absolutely fine with that. But if you go to your next job, you better go there being a far better person professionally than you were with me. That makes me proud.
That's right. And if they go there and tell, my experience there enriched my life with so much experience, that is something to be proud of and also along the same lines.
How would you describe the balance between human intelligence and the increase in technology? We have artificial intelligence. How do you keep the balance to keep an organisation alive, and the employees happy ?
There is a lot of talk today on artificial intelligence, AI and big data and bots and all sorts of new technology, which is very, very important. There's no doubt about it. We don't really have a choice. That's where we're going. But human intelligence can never be thrown away from the side. AI is AI. So the way I look at it is You can have high tech, but you need to have high touch.
You can have high tech, but you need to have high touch
People don't like to talk to Robots that's the truth after sometime people get fed up.
They need that human connection, if you look at life today is a perfect example. We are under lock down, but we crave for that human touch we are just waiting to go out and talk to people. We can work from home but we are waiting to go and be with our colleagues in the office. We want to see the eyes of the other person.
So no matter we can be very productive. We can do everything that we can do from home. There is no doubt about it, but human connection can never be taken away.
Same thing with customer service, and I do a lot of work with customer service, professional I do a lot of training for customer service, and have seen with all my studies and all the people have interacted. There is a big difference when they're talking to a bot or talking to a kind of an automated system and when they actually talk to human beings and when they actually meet the human being. The situation completely changes.
So I have had conversations with people on the phone and they have been kind of convinced, but when I have met them in person, they have been totally convinced because that's where we have good as human beings. We have that emotion. We have that touch with people that people believe us when they see us, so there will always be artificial intelligence and bot to help us do a lot of work, but it can never take away from us what is ours which is human emotions and this human intelligence.
That's wonderful, most of the IQ part of whatever humans are doing, robots or artificial Intelligence might be able to cover a little bit, but the emotional quotient or the emotional intelligence, that humans have to do that, is a wonderful answer. And we have an increasing millennial workforce right down. And with the increase in the millennial workforce the gig economy is gaining momentum. And it's not the small jobs anymore. There are executives who like to work in the gig economy. So
How do you think this is going to fit it in the organizational structure? And if I may add one more thing. The financial crisis that's coming up. So how do you think the gig economy is going to stay? Do you think it is here to stay?
You know that I am a great lover of the gig economy, actually, and it has been very vibrant in the past few years, but it's not being taken seriously enough, in my opinion, because we have looked at gigs. They're trying to work from home. They're doing all the small things. They're earning small dollars, they are really not making a difference. But I tell you, with this crisis and the quarantine, it has essentially made all of us gig workers
It's made all of us work from home. We are learning, we are working, we are taking care of family. We are looking for the next hustle, we are doing a lot of stuff that gigs do because a gigger is a person who's working remotely outside the office environment. They're working from cafes trying to figure things out. They don't have enough money to pay for great designs, so they're learning how to design on Canva.
They are doing videos by posting on Youtube. They're testing, and they're trying many, many different things. And they are also looking at different income streams, not depending on just one income stream. So, for example, in the morning, the person may be a blogger. Then the person may be a designer, as then in the afternoon, he might be an Uber eats delivery person. In the evening, he might be driving an Uber or a lift or on ola cab.
So A gig worker is actually wearing many different hats and reinventing themselves on many different levels.
I believe now we are essentially all following in the same footsteps. People are looking at this side hustle. People are looking at other ways to gain income, and I believe that this is going to be the new normal. I believe the gig economy will only grow stronger, become more vibrant, and it will become a force to reckon.
That is a great opinion. And I think, after we come out of this, more people are going to want to try out a lot of things as a gig because most of them are learning a lot of things right now when they're in quarantine. That's a very valid point.
So, Jeevan just to wrap up the interview. If you have any last sound bites that you would like to leave the audience.
Absolutely. I mean, I know sometimes it might be a little insensitive to say this, but I can look at the quarantine time in a different light. We can look at this quarantine time as very depressing and a very disastrous situation. And it is in a lot of ways. When people have lost a lot of loved ones. We have lost our jobs. We have lost our salaries. Yes, there are those very, very serious things.
But again, going back to my happiness. Evangelisation mood. I look at all these as opportunities, and I believe this is an opportunity for us to reset.
I believe this is an opportunity for us to reset.
Essentially, this is what has happened. We have reset our lives. So reset, rethink, refresh and reinvent. And what I mean is that here is an opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves. We can upgrade ourselves with new courses. We can upscale ourselves. We can develop a personal brand, We have heard a lot about personal branding.
But here is an opportunity for us to develop that personal branding. Go and look at our LinkedIn profile. Are we really putting the right information there? Do we have the right user names when we search for us in Google, what type of things that people see about us, have we updated our CV's etc. Re-look at your passion, see how they fit in your personality, because a lot of us are passionate about a lot of things. We may love to sing, we may love to cook, we may love to garden, but we have kind of not looked at all those in all these years.
Use this opportunity for us to look at that and make your passion into a profit or make it into your paycheck. So a lot of people that I know are actually doing this right now. A friend of mine who loves to sing just yesterday launched his own YouTube channel where he is playing music, and he's actually singing, and he's already got, like, 500 followers in a day. So this is just giving one example of someone close to me.
He has done something of music. I also believe this is an opportunity for us to look at creating multiple sources of income so we don't rely just on one job. We're aligned two-three different types of jobs, connected to a passion or talents that can earn this money. And with all this, I think we will be ready for the post pandemic era.
That's wonderful. That's quite the last note of positivity that we need for the audience. Thank you so much for that. This has been an absolutely enriching experience for me personally, because I learned a lot of things and talking to a Guru one on one is definitely better than reading a book.
And I am sure our audience is also going to gain the same experience, the same knowledge that I have gained right here. So thank you so much for that. And I wish you all success in your future endeavours and have happy and healthy time ahead of you.
Thank you very much has been my absolute pleasure talking to you. And I'm very, very happy to do further webinars when required Thank you
Thank You so much, bye bye