Title: Director of Product
I was born and raised in the capital city of India i.e. New Delhi. After completing Bachelor's in Technology, I pursued an MBA in Finance from California, USA. My professional experience primarily revolves around Product ownership and leadership roles in Mobile apps and Platforms, with organizations spanning across various industries, including automotive, travel, food and FinTech. Additionally, I have a passion for traveling which is evident from the fact that I have lived & worked in 5 countries..so far. You can reach out to me on linkedin @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/yashpiplani/
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Yash's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Managing change in an unstable environment - I believe it was John Cutter who explained the difference between wartime leadership and peacetime leadership. In a nutshell, he explained how a peacetime army can survive with good administration & management through the hierarchy, coupled with good leadership at the top. On the other hand, a wartime army demands good leadership at all levels. To me, that lesson is very much relatable today due to uncertainty and turbulent economic situations. Organizations and teams where leadership is omnipresent at all levels will have higher survival & growth prospects compared to organizations with limited leadership at the top. In today’s time, I believe this is the biggest challenge for a leader - creating leaders at all levels of the company.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Honestly speaking, I actually don’t remember any incident which acted as a switch to transition me into a leader. Having said that, I first led a team as a product owner back in 2012-2013 and loved the aspect of my role of aligning everyone to a common mission and building a high performance group from there on. I simply loved this part of the journey and ways of working. Another key aspect of my leadership development was seeking mentorship from experienced leaders in my organization. Their guidance and support were instrumental in honing my leadership skills, navigating complex situations and also gaining a deeper understanding of things or behaviors that I should avoid demonstrating.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
My work routine and sleeping cycles have changed massively in the last 4-5 years. Until 2019, I used to work late nights and would sleep only for 4-5 hours, but since then, I have been intentional about making progress.
Now, I ensure that I am not at my work machine after 8 pm (with a few exceptions) and prioritize getting a good 7-hour sleep. My mornings start with a glass full of warm water followed up with a 20-minute quick workout and 15-20 minutes dedicated to my spiritual connection.
The work consists of a block to catch up on slack messages from over night and to help me with focus time. Being a product & engineering leader, there are a handful of meetings that help me drive alignment with my team and stakeholders to get closer to the execution. At work, I begin by catching up on Slack messages overnight, which helps me prepare for a focused work time.
As a product & engineering leader, I have a handful of meetings that aid in driving alignment with my team and stakeholders to bring us closer to execution. Furthermore, my work involves sponsoring organization-level initiatives and mentoring/coaching product leaders.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
In our personal and professional lives - we often have to say NO and disagree to a wider spectrum of things. It’s important to remember that one can be kind and yet disagree.
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?
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. This book by Daniel Pink was recommended to me by a coach in circa 2014. The book left a significant impact on my way of thinking as a leader and I believe contributed immensely to understanding ways to motivate my team. It has clearly helped define my leadership principles with foundations such as Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Do what you say and say what you do. Your authenticity and ingenuity will leave a greater impact on your team and will always - I say always - help you build an honest and transparent culture in your team.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One defining moment that helped shape my leadership journey was during a challenging program early in my career, where our team has faced several setbacks in achieving goals and successfully delivering features. Something that came naturally to me was to take the initiative to gather the team, perform a retrospective, identify the issues, and work together to find the right solutions - all of that without pointing fingers at anyone. I believe this was one of the experiences which taught me the importance of resilience and how a positive attitude can inspire others even in difficult times.