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7 Questions on Leadership with Naveen Madhan

Name:  Naveen Madhan

Title: CTO

Organisation: Wrexa LLC

I'm a CEO, Director, Non-Exec and Meet Naveen Madhan, an exceptionally dynamic technologist and visionary leader with a proven track record in driving innovation and impactful change.

Renowned for his groundbreaking research, Naveen has authored 3+ research papers and a pending patent, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of technological advancement.

With an illustrious career, Naveen has led transformative product developments for over 10 major brands, orchestrating a dynamic team of 50+ developers and Associate Product Managers (APMs), with over building products handling 1M+ MAU, ranking top charts in the App Store.

In their impactful role as CTO, Naveen stands as a catalyst for groundbreaking change in the industry. They've been prominently featured as a distinguished speaker at the prestigious International conference WBS 2022 in Dubai, and as the youngest guest speaker at MetaExpo in Singapore, cementing their influence at the forefront of global technology and business arenas.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Juggling between staying true to a long-term vision and adapting to evolving situations poses a constant leadership challenge. Striking the right balance is key.

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

It started when I noticed my team facing challenges—struggles that weren't just theirs but became mine too. There was this pivotal moment when a critical project hit a roadblock. Instead of assigning blame, I rolled up my sleeves alongside the team. We faced it together, brainstorming solutions, learning, and adapting as a unit. The sense of shared challenges turned into shared victories.

Motivation was never just a buzzword; it became the heartbeat of our team. I realized that true leadership wasn't about standing on a pedestal but about diving into the trenches with your team. By addressing their challenges as if they were mine, we cultivated an environment where everyone felt supported, heard, and valued. This approach not only solved problems but also fueled a culture of resilience, trust, and shared success.

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

I start my day early, laying out a strategic plan to set the tone. Mornings are dedicated to tackling high-priority tasks, ensuring a focused and productive start. As the day unfolds, it's all about iterative problem-solving and collaborating with the team to keep projects moving forward.

In the evening, I take a moment to reflect on the day's progress, refining strategies for continuous improvement. And when it comes to sleep, I prioritize it, recognizing the crucial role it plays in maintaining clarity and sustained productivity.

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

Recently, a leadership lesson hit home during a project crunch. Our team faced unexpected challenges, and as a leader, my initial instinct was to jump in and provide solutions. However, I took a step back, allowing team members to voice their concerns and ideas.

The lesson? Sometimes, the best leadership isn't about having all the answers but creating a space for collaboration. By encouraging open dialogue, we unearthed innovative solutions that I hadn't considered. It reinforced that true leadership involves not just guiding but also listening and valuing the collective intelligence of the team. It was a powerful reminder that the best solutions often emerge from the synergy of diverse perspectives.

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 Art of Possibility" by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander has been transformative. Its lesson about shifting perspectives hit me during a challenging project. Instead of focusing solely on problems, I adopted the mindset of possibilities and potential. It turned the narrative from limitations to expansive thinking.

The impact was immediate—the team felt a renewed sense of creativity and enthusiasm. By embracing the principles from the book, I learned to lead not just with solutions but by fostering a culture where every challenge is an opportunity for innovation. "The Art of Possibility" became a guiding light, showing me that leadership isn't just about navigating obstacles but turning them into stepping stones for growth and creativity.

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

Listen deeply, learn always, lead with empathy.

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

In the midst of a crucial project, we hit an unexpected roadblock. Instead of playing the all-knowing leader, I decided to gather the team for an open discussion. Amidst the shared frustrations and brainstorming, a junior team member, usually quiet in larger meetings, spoke up with an idea that was nothing short of genius.

What struck me was not just the brilliance of the idea but the reminder that impactful solutions can come from anyone in the team. It highlighted the strength of inclusivity and how every team member, regardless of their position, brings a unique perspective to the table. This story serves as a vivid reminder that fostering an environment where everyone's voice is heard not only resolves immediate challenges but sparks a culture of continuous innovation and collaboration.

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