My second interview, with Michael Mascarenhas – CEO Desert Group, one of the largest concentrically diversified horticulture and lifestyle group. With 11 business verticals and over 3000 employees, he has his work cut out to lead, inspire and influence. He has transformed and strategically redirected the Group to a growth and innovation hub that embraces change and keeps the customer and the employees at the center. Here is an excerpt of what we spoke.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Listener, decisive, intellectually hungry
What was your journey like to get where you are?
Full of adaptation, morphing and burning ambition.
How did you find success in failure?
It’s being resilient, patient and knowing that there will be a solution.
Can you name a person who has had a tremendous impact on you as a leader? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
My Father who helped incessantly without expecting anything in return and my mother who felt equal in a highly patriarchal society.
How do you encourage creative thinking within your organization?
Recognition in many ways, encouraging all to speak and making it okay to disagree, encourage risk taking by providing resources and visible support, rigorous learning through training – and many other ways.
What is one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
Not listening and then eventually letting ego take over.
Your position as a Group CEO can be so demanding, how do you manage to allocate time for yourself?
By building the right team. You will be surprised how one can find time for oneself if you have a team that understands their roles and responsibilities and are self-directed. That enables a switch-off time for all.
I reckon you always have to take into account how you present yourself. Who would say is your fashion inspiration?
Stay comfortable in your style. In this part of the world it’s the weather that drives fashion rather than a who. Yet a mix of both smart casual and formal dressing on different days keeps me sharp. Hugo Boss and J.Crew are in good alignment with what I think is men’s fashion.
What does your fitness regime comprise of?
The only thing that has been constant in my life has been my fitness regime, though, I must admit, the routine has changed. Well, a mix of cardio, muscle build and Yoga – on different days. Yoga is the way going forward. We all need some deep breathing I guess!