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Mentors are everywhere, says Anurag Mathur of Savills India

Work-life is a marathon, not a sprint, says Anurag Mathur, the CEO of Savills India, as he talks about mentorship, the importance of carving out me-time, and more

Anurag Mathur, CEO of Savills India, has no social media app on his phone.
Anurag Mathur, CEO of Savills India, has no social media app on his phone.

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Leaders don't get much time for themselves, and Anurag Mathur, CEO of Savills India, recognises and acknowledges this. Making time for himself, his health, both physical and mental, and his family, is of utmost importance to him.

Before joining the international property consulting firm headquartered in London, the 51-year-old Gurgram based Mathur was with the likes of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) and Cushman & Wakefield. Currently, he is also a member of the Savills Asia Executive Board.  

In this interview with Lounge, he talks about how mentors are everywhere, why mentorship requires spontaneity, and why he has no social media apps on his phone. 

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Who do you consider your mentor and why?

I don’t think I have ever had a mentor in the traditional sense. However, I have had several individuals that I have looked up to and have been influenced by. Whilst most of them have been my work colleagues or superiors, there are many others that I have known from my social network or on the golf course. My philosophy is that there is always something to learn from people that you get to know well – what and how much is really up to you. It is, however, important to surround yourself with people of high caliber, character and accomplishment rather than people that you can impress. That is not an easy option and forces you to challenge yourself all the time.

One major insight/change you implemented/worked on with your mentor's guidance?

One of my foremost life lessons was from my first ever work manager and that was on the value of professional integrity and a living lesson on how to conduct your profession ethically, yet successfully. Coming very early in my career, moulded me as a professional and I will forever be grateful to him for showing me the way.

Another important insight that I learned from a mentor was the importance of perseverance. Success rarely comes on a platter; you have to pursue it with great focus and commitment; without the fear of failure. Most of us hold back and do not persevere on seemingly difficult or uncomfortable objectives, but if you do shed your inhibitions and stay committed, the results can be surprising.

Also Read: Sabeer Bhatia: Guiding colleagues to be better human beings

What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?

To me, being a mentor means a great sense of responsibility and I find it satisfying as well. I enjoy narrating real-life examples and situations to people as part of mentoring. Whilst it is important to have a defined rigor and context to a mentoring process, I find that on many occasions, there needs to be spontaneity and fluidity to the process

What time do you wake up and what's the first thing you do after waking up? Basically, what's your morning schedule after waking up?

When you’re in a leadership role, your time is not yours – you have to learn to carve time for yourself and make the most of it. So, I am an early riser, waking up at about 6 AM and then putting the next few hours to intensive personal use. This could range from working out at the gym or going for a long run, or playing golf or even some focused reading. I can't start my day without reading at least 2 newspapers. Both our children are in US universities and very often a call or a chat with them also takes place in the morning. Therefore, my mornings are fairly intense personal time and can last anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, post which the work schedule takes over.

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What's the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?

One of my biggest lessons coming out of the pandemic is the importance of health and well-being, especially mental well-being. It's strictly not work-related, but the lesson is that in today’s day and age, one has to prepare for work-life like a marathon not a sprint. That requires a fit body and a sound mind with the ability to manage an increasingly uncertain world over a long period.

Any book/podcast/app/videos you would recommend about mentorship and workplace growth? Why?

One of the books that had a lasting impact on me about workplace growth and progress is Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won't Get You There. It has some very simple yet remarkable leadership lessons for us all.

How do you unwind? Do you pursue any serious hobbies?

I am a very enthusiastic golfer although not a very skilled one. A significant part of my weekend is spent playing golf and we’re blessed to be staying in a place that offers an abundance of golf courses nearby. It’s a non-contact sport that requires moderate athleticism, whilst requiring mental agility, concentration as well as physical endurance to play the sport for as long as 5 hours at a stretch.

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What are some of the productivity principles you follow that have made your professional and personal life much easier?

Over the years, and although it is very difficult, I have tried to segregate my personal time from my work time. In the globally connected “always on” world, it is very difficult to do so, but I saw many successful people do this. What that means is that when you’re on your personal time, no matter how short or long, you do not engage with work. On the other hand, when you’re at work, despite all the pressures, do not digress into non-work matters. I have realised that the outcomes can be significantly compromised in either case and hence consciously compartmentalise the two. For me, this starts with having no social media on my phone.

Which would be your favorite work-from-anywhere destination and why?

A place next to a good golf course with good F&B as well as great weather and in the same time zone as India would be my ideal work-from-anywhere destination. However, there are very few locations in India like that and I am yet to try any!

Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.

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