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7 Questions on Leadership with Gangesh Pathak

Name: Gangesh Pathak

Title: Co-founder & CEO

Organisation: &

Gangesh Pathak is a seasoned serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of two prominent ventures: , India's most trusted sales and marketing company, and , an organization dedicated to helping U.S. companies hire remote tech talent in India.

Gangesh's entrepreneurial journey began during his third year of college when he ventured into the business world. His remarkable path has led to the creation of multi-million-dollar companies.

Today, under his visionary leadership, Saletancy and Koolkoders proudly serve clients worldwide. They have established a strong presence with multiple operational offices across India. Gangesh's unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation has propelled these ventures to the forefront of their respective industries, making him a respected figure in the world of entrepreneurship.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Gangesh's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Being the CEO of Saletancy and Koolkoders, one of the most challenging things is keeping up with all the changes in the business world. This means staying up-to-date with new technology, market trends, and consumer behavior.

While it's up for debate whether people naturally resist change, it's a fact that getting people to accept new ideas or new ways of doing things can be really hard.

As a leader, my main challenge is making sure our companies can handle all these constant changes and use them to our advantage. It's like trying to keep a ship steady in a stormy sea while convincing everyone on board that the new direction is the right one. It's not always easy, but it's a big part of what I do.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

My journey toward leadership is the result of a series of personal experiences that have shaped me into the leader I am today. From an early age, I found myself taking on responsibilities that molded my character and instilled leadership qualities within me. I believe that leadership is an ongoing process of growth and development, rather than a destination one reaches and declares.

I attribute my leadership journey to a few key principles. First and foremost, I learned to take initiative from a young age. I realized that waiting for opportunities to come to me was not a productive approach. Instead, I actively sought out ways to create opportunities. An example of this proactive mindset is Saletancy, a venture I started in my third year of college when I failed to secure a job. This proactive approach allowed me to tackle challenges head-on, and it has been a critical element in my leadership journey.

I also discovered that being a leader isn't solely about having a specific title or position; it's about making a positive impact and inspiring others to join you on a collective journey. During the early days of Saletancy, which we founded in 2017, I remember leading from the front and acting as a "Chief Everything Officer." I didn't hesitate to do tasks like cleaning the office, making tea and coffee for my employees, or making sales calls when they felt demotivated. I never felt ashamed of these actions. My journey is ongoing, and I am committed to learning, growing, and adapting as I continue to lead from the front. Leadership is a process, not a destination, and I am dedicated to embracing that journey every step of the way.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

To be completely honest, I'm not a member of the 4 am or 5 am club. I hold a strong belief that your morning routine and daily schedule should be tailored to your specific needs and preferences, rather than blindly emulating the habits of influential figures simply because they work for them.

My own daily routine may not be perfect, but it aligns well with my lifestyle and personal preferences. I tend to wake up later because I'm a night owl. I find my mind to be most active and productive in the late hours, so I often work late into the night to complete tasks and projects.

In the morning, the first thing I do is reach for my phone. Yes, it's true. I start by reading important emails, catching up on the latest news, and scrolling through my social media feeds. After this digital catch-up, I take a shower and have breakfast to prepare myself for the day ahead.

One crucial aspect of my work routine is my commitment to priority management. Before I dive into my work for the day, I break down my tasks into micro-tasks. I begin by addressing the most important and high-priority tasks first, followed by the important but lower-priority tasks.

For tasks that are urgent but not particularly important, I delegate them to someone else, allowing me to focus on tasks that align more closely with my goals and responsibilities. As for tasks that fall into the neither important nor urgent category, I consciously avoid them, as they often prove to be distractions.

At the end of the day, I conduct a self-review by asking myself three essential questions: What went well today? What went wrong or didn't go as planned? And, most importantly, what can be improved in my daily routine and work processes? This reflective practice helps me continuously refine and optimize my work habits and ensures that I stay aligned with my goals and personal preferences.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

The recent leadership lesson that I've been reminded of, courtesy of the universally regarded great leader Nelson Mandela, emphasizes the significance of effective communication and the art of listening. As the son of a tribal chief, Mandela once shared an invaluable insight into his leadership development when asked how he became such a remarkable leader.

Mandela recalled that during his childhood, he often accompanied his father to tribal meetings, and he observed that his father, despite his esteemed position, was consistently the last to speak. This left a lasting impression on him.

Here's the lesson:

* Listen to Others: When you're in charge, it's crucial to genuinely listen to what others have to say. This makes people feel that their thoughts and opinions matter, providing everyone with a chance to share their ideas.

* Speak Last: Delaying your input until others have had their say demonstrates respect for different viewpoints. It allows a leader to gather the collective wisdom in the room before making decisions. This approach leads to better choices and earns the trust and respect of the people you're leading.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The Bhagavad Gita, a spiritual book, has deeply influenced my leadership journey. It contains important lessons about leadership. One key lesson I've taken from the Bhagavad Gita pertains to the importance of not just having skilled individuals on your team, but also ensuring that they have the will and motivation to use their skills effectively.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna, the greatest warrior of his time, possessed extraordinary combat skills, yet he found himself in a state of inner turmoil and lost the will to fight on the battlefield. It was Lord Krishna, his charioteer and guide, who demonstrated exceptional leadership skills by motivating Arjuna to regain his fighting spirit.

This story from the Bhagavad Gita taught me that as a leader, it's not enough to have a team of skilled individuals; you must also nurture their motivation and will to excel. I highly recommend reading the Bhagavad Gita because it's full of powerful life lessons that can help in many aspects of your life and leave you feeling inspired and enlightened.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

"Never stop learning."

Continuously seeking knowledge, refining your skills, and adapting to changing circumstances is essential for effective leadership and long-term success. In a rapidly evolving world, the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn will empower you to make informed decisions, inspire your team, and navigate the complexities of leadership with confidence. Whether it's through formal education, mentorship, reading, or on-the-job experiences, a commitment to lifelong learning will help you stay relevant and achieve your goals.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

One interesting story that comes to mind involves an employee in our operations team who made a significant, costly mistake. The employee's manager decided to remove her and submitted a request for it. However, I chose not to terminate the employee.

I suggested retaining her, viewing her error as an investment in her training and development. This decision wasn't without its risks, but I believed in giving people a second chance to prove themselves. Over time, it turned out to be a wise choice. The employee, after learning from her mistake and putting in the effort to improve, emerged as one of our highest-performing team members. She not only rectified her earlier errors but also became a valuable asset to the company, contributing significantly to our success.

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