2. Tell us a bit about market-specific challenges?
Well, we had a fair number of challenges – starting from understanding and adapting to a new cultural and social environment, finding the right talent, understanding travel patterns of a new demographic and trying to overcome language barriers while still building the local team. The consumer behavior in Malaysia is quite different from India. But the team had a great time customizing product features to suit the local demand without digressing from the core product.
3. Share your thoughts on leading a multi-cultural team.
Leading a multi-cultural team is a great learning experience so it is undoubtedly enriching. While working with the team in Malaysia, I realized the importance of investing time in learning more about team members and understanding how the local culture influences their behavior and values.
4. Is there a fun moment or memory that stands out?
There are many fun moments but a moment of sheer pride was prior to our launch in Malaysia. We went to meet a hotel owner to introduce ourselves and propose on-boarding his property, but he already knew all about OYO! I think that is when the impact of our achievement really struck me – that people know OYO outside our home country, what we do and what we stand for – I think all of us should be proud of this achievement.
5. What’s your advice for people working with diverse teams or multi-market projects?
There needs to be a clear understanding of capabilities and challenges. You need to put strong processes in place to streamline inter-team communication and workflow. This also helps in prioritizing tasks and keeps the work environment chaos-free. Also, when it comes to a foreign or new culture, one needs to respect that which you don’t understand – engaging the team and showing your willingness to learn more about them always leads to a better outcome.
Harshit currently heads growth for OYO’s Western region. He has been associated with OYO since its early days and helped set up the supply team. An entrepreneur at heart, Harshit started his first venture while in college at the age of 22. He holds a Bachelors and Masters degree in Industrial Chemistry from IIT BHU.
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