EXCLUSIVE | Mohit Nirula, Columbia Pacific Communities: The year of gratitude [Year-Ender 2020]

Mohit Nirula, CEO – Columbia Pacific Communities, started his career in hospitality in 1986. Columbia Pacific Communities, Mohit’s second organization in a career spanning over 30 years allowed him to bring to the fore all the skills that he has gained over the years. In this exclusive piece, Mohit shares how the year gone by affected him personally and professionally. He says that despite the challenges, 2020 was a great teacher he will always be grateful to.

The word ‘grateful’ is defined by the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary as ‘feeling or showing thanks because someone has done something kind for you or has done as you asked  – grateful (to somebody) (for something)’

2020 was a year that gave me time to take pause, to introspect, to understand what is truly important for me as an individual, a family person, a professional, and a leader of a team.

As someone who turned 55 in 2020, I have more years behind than in front of me. I should have done myself and all whom I have impacted in the past, a favor by gaining this wisdom a lot earlier in life. That said, I apologize to all who suffered the pre-2020 me and hope those who meet and interact with me hereafter, will experience a kinder and more mellow me: Mohit Nirula

I should share that as someone who turned 55 in 2020, I have more years behind than in front of me. I should have done myself and all whom I have impacted in the past, a favor by gaining this wisdom a lot earlier in life. That said, I apologize to all who suffered the pre-2020 me and hope those who meet and interact with me hereafter, will experience a kinder and more mellow me.

In my personal life, my wife’s and my parents are based in Delhi NCR, we have our work and home in Bangalore, and both our daughters are based in London. Weeks into the lockdown, as I saw people lose loved ones without even being able to be by their side, or people lose jobs for no fault of their own, or learnt about people trudging hundreds of kilometers towards the the sanctuary of their homes, I realized that much of what one wants or desires is actually of no real value and what one truly needs, one already has, and takes for granted.

To know that one’s parents and children are safe, that one’s livelihood is secure and a roof over the head and meals on the table are not a concern, is all that one needs from life. Everything else is nice, but not essential.

As professionals, we are hugely loyal to one’s organization, and well should we be.

That said, one must understand that our first and truly unshakeable loyalty must be towards those for whom we are both indispensable and irreplaceable — our families.

The company one works for and the returns — compensation is only one of these — one receives are the means that allow us to fulfill our responsibility towards our families. And it is for this reason, we should do our best to serve the organization’s objectives.

The company one works for and the returns — compensation is only one of these — one receives are the means that allow us to fulfill our responsibility towards our families. And it is for this reason, we should do our best to serve the organization’s objectives: Mohit Nirula

When one is fortunate to work with a company and a leader whose objectives and means to achieve those objectives are in alignment with one’s own, this relationship, whilst cherished and strong, is still primarily transactional – a fact experienced by many in 2020 when the rubber of the cash flow wheel met the tarmac.

All of us at Columbia Pacific Communities, India’s largest provider of service and care to communities designed for seniors, are fortunate to have promoters who were rock solid in their support.

This allowed us to ensure that we were able to do all that was necessary to ring-fence our communities and ensure that our residents – all senior citizens  – were kept protected from the external environment.

Their support also ensured that we did not lose even one team member or reduce any salaries on account of the pandemic. We were also able to support our vendors and related stakeholders during what was an equally difficult time for them.

To have the security of steadfast promoters and the blessings of all who we work with, and those who reside in, Columbia Pacific Communities, is more than one could have asked for.

Much before 2020, the company philosophy that we had established as a guiding principle for all our interactions, was: ‘Unconditional Love, Respect and Care’. We asked each of our team members to ensure that all interactions with our residents be measured against this promise.

A lot of what we have accumulated in the quest to ‘develop’ or become ‘civilized’ has been at the cost of these most human qualities of love, respect, and care: Mohit Nirula

2020 told me that this credo need not be restricted to just the workplace. It should be a way of being – for our interactions with all – human, animal, society, nature, and the planet. A lot of what we have accumulated in the quest to ‘develop’ or become ‘civilized’ has been at the cost of these most human qualities of love, respect, and care.

2020 for me was a great teacher. And for this, I will always be grateful. Now on to 2021 — with unconditional love, respect, and care for all.