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7 Questions on Leadership with Rishabh Chhajer

Name: Rishabh Chhajer

Title: Vice President - Information Technology

Organisation: Byju's

Rishabh Chhajer is currently working at Byju's as its Head of IT Ops, Infra & Enterprises applications. He has over a decade of relevant experience in Enterprise IT. He had worked in EduTech, FinTech, eCommerce, Consulting, Manufacturing, Product based Organisations.

Previously he was with Dhani, OLA, and responsible for managing IT operations and handling Finance IT platforms, HR IT applications & Internal IT Tools. Previously, he has also worked for GE Digital & Oracle where he had implemented cutting edge technologies to make corporate function processes more efficient.

Rishabh is tech savvy & believes in enabling zero touch deployments & zero trust solutions for IT & building strategy around it.

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

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


Jonno White

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

Maintaining a high level of cybersecurity while enabling innovation and productivity is the most challenging task I have ever faced.

It require a delicate balance and as an IT leaders, One must implement robust security measures without stifling creativity.

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

After completing my engineering degree, I began my career at Oracle as a consultant. This role provided me with valuable experience in ERP and database systems, and I gradually transitioned into overseeing ERP applications. During my time at OLA, I developed a strong sense of responsibility, particularly during periods of organic attrition. Consequently, I willingly taken additional responsibilities, taking charge of IT infrastructure, operations, and enterprise applications.

My journey towards becoming an IT leader marked a shift in my mindset. I transitioned from viewing IT as simply "information technology" to embracing a focus on "innovation and technology." This shift led me to pursue various certifications, including renowned ones such as AWS, GCP, and Azure.

Some notable achievements in my career include:

1. Being recognized as a "LinkedIn Top IT Management Voice."

2. Receiving the CSO100 Award.

3. Earning the CIO100 Award.

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

My day begins early with physical activity, followed by breakfast. At the office, I kick off with a daily stand-up and team cadence meeting, reviewing what we've achieved versus our daily goals. Afternoons are dedicated to strategic meetings and engaging with business stakeholders. Post-lunch, I focus on addressing crucial emails and participating in team meetings. About 10% of my day is allocated for vendor interactions.

In the evening, I wind down, completing any pending work and planning for the next day. A calming night routine paves the way for a recommended 7-8 hours of quality sleep, preparing me for another productive day.

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

Adaptability and Resilience are Key."

I learnt very important lesson during COVID-19 pandemic, have emphasized the importance of adaptability and resilience in leadership.

Leaders must be prepared to adjust their strategies, support their teams through uncertainty, and bounce back from setbacks.

This lesson underscores the need for flexible leadership in an ever-changing world.

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?

"Leaders Eat Last" by Simon Sinek

In this book, Simon Sinek explores the dynamics of leadership and the role of trust and teamwork in organizations. He emphasizes the importance of leaders putting their teams first, just as the title suggests. Sinek delves into the science of human behavior and how it applies to leadership in the modern workplace.

"Leaders Eat Last" helped me to understand how to create a more supportive, trusting, and collaborative work environment, which is crucial in the tech industry where teamwork and innovation are highly valued.

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

"Embrace Failure as a Learning Opportunity."

In your leadership journey, you will face challenges and setbacks. Instead of fearing failure, view it as a chance to learn and grow. Failure often provides some of the most valuable lessons and can lead to innovation and improvement. Embracing failure with resilience and a positive mindset can make you a stronger and more effective leader.

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

The Story of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam:

Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, often referred to as the "People's President," was a prominent scientist and the 11th President of India. His life and leadership are an inspiration to many.

What sets him apart as a leader is his simplicity, humility, and his unwavering dedication to the welfare of the nation. He had a deep passion for educating and inspiring the youth of India and often spoke about the importance of dreams, vision, and hard work.

Dr. Kalam's leadership story underscores the power of education, innovation, and a strong commitment to one's country. His legacy continues to influence and inspire young leaders in India and around the world.

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