We, in collaboration with Forbes India, had announced the list of top 100 people managers and leaders in the country, based on our assessment of 6000+ leaders across 1100+ organizations. Mr. Harsh Patel, 27, founder and global CEO, Water and Shark, is one amongst the youngest leaders to make it to this coveted list.
In the accounting world, where Chartered Accountants typically opt for a glamorous job in the Big 4, Harsh Patel took the harder route. He took the entrepreneurial plunge on completing his education in 2012, instead of going the routine employment way. Today, Water and Shark boasts of offices in several countries – USA, UK, UAE and Singapore, to name a few.
Speaking about his vision and the win, Harsh says, “I set out with an aspiration to make India a global hub of financial advisory. In a world where everyone wished to ‘settle’, we wished to ‘stand-out’. There have been difficult days, but it’s this aspiration and the support I receive from my team, that keeps me going. ”
There are several practices that bear testimony to Harsh’s unique people management style.
One amongst them being – having an experienced, semi-qualified Chartered Accountant as a KMP at his firm. A KMP is often the second-in-command at any accounting firm and it’s rare to see a leader prefer experience or skill over qualification degrees, in the financial world.
A flat structure, granting a steep learning curve, training team members to be generalists rather than specialists, differentiate him as a leader. Mantras like ‘Challenge Eliminator’, ‘Shark of the Month’, ‘Break a Sweat’ attest his understanding of people and their needs. While most leaders focus on the top performers, his team acknowledges the efforts he takes for employees lagging behind – be it in clearing their accountancy exam or completing certifications.
Harsh is a known personality in the global diaspora. In fact, he was one of the youngest Indian Delegates to represent India at the Select USA Investment Summit 2019 held at Washington DC, organized by the U.S. Department of Commerce. He believes such opportunities further enable him to put India on the global map, in terms of accounting and legal advisory. Water and Shark has been a recipient of several prestigious awards by Indian & foreign bodies.
The Forbes India List of Great Managers and Leaders 2020, celebrates leaders and people managers across different walks of life. Adding further, Shivangi from Great Manager Institute, comments, “The list celebrates diversity. Leaders like Harsh, who nurture talent and understand that people need to be looked at beyond the boundaries of formal education, are the ones who are gradually making the world more inclusive. We look for such leaders and their practices when we narrow down on our Top 100”.
The annual assessment follows a multi-layered evaluation through team and people practice assessment, followed by evaluation by a panel of experts.