2019: Surfing the red ocean

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Photo by Diogo Nunes on Unsplash

Last week of every year is a very interesting time, on one side you want to reflect on things you have achieved personally and professionally on the other you are putting a framework for the next year (in other words the dreaded new year resolutions). This post is about reflections of the year 2019 and it’s a special one as it’s also the end of a decade as we usher into 2020.

This year has been significant in so many ways professionally, I completed the 5 years milestone in June this year with Nutanix and the company completed it’s 10th. Yeah, a decade of existence and the fastest growing infrastructure and enterprise cloud company of the decade. I feel very humbled and proud to be part of this journey and nearly the ~6000 strong family of Nutants around the world.

If you know the “Blue Ocean” and the “Red Ocean” strategy you will see that in the first 5–6 years of Nutanix we were in the “Blue Ocean” we invented a new market with a technology that transformed an industry and the way people deployed infrastructure through HCI. In last 4 years we have moved to become a full-stack company with a single-minded focus on “Making Computing Invisible Anywhere” and are now playing in the “Red Ocean” where we have to compete/ cooperate and coexist into a vast market with existing players, more technologies and the biggest organizations who have shown trust in us.

Playing in the “Red Ocean” requires continued focus and a team that understands the complexities and goals of some of the biggest organizations on the planet. In late 2017 and early 2018, our leadership team invested in a new segment of business with an audacious goal of helping the Fortune 500 clients simplify their goal of digital transformation with our technology. The team we call it the “Global Accounts” team, almost all the big vendors have a similar team however the difference is that they have an army and we have an S.E.A.L team ;-). During the last 2 years I along with Adam Wright handpicked people who were seasoned professionals, knew their craft, they understood their market and the customer and most importantly they were smarter than us.

2019 is a special year for this team as we won some significant logos but most importantly we built a stellar team spanning the whole of APJ with one goal in mind “Obsess over the customer and Frontline”. As I go along the “Top 5” of my learning of 2019, I want to start with the first one and that is to

  • Hire the right people — surround yourself with people that you can nurture or learn from. Make sure you also have someone who is asking the right questions, they are respectfully challenging your thought process. They will make you think differently and whilst working with them will take your energy and test your patience, the value they bring will be worth it.

Good teams become great by increasing their “Impact radius”, widening their span of control without losing control, creating a right “Domino Effect” with a small trigger but a big result oriented outcome. This is a must-have for high achieving sales teams, it’s not easy to do and requires a holistic approach of development of leaders and that is my second learning

  • Develop the leaders — Every member of a mature/senior team is a leader. Mentor, guide, spend time with them. It will be the greatest investment you make. Don’t talk about it or boast about it. Over time the people will talk about you and that will gradually build a reputation for you that is much more meaningful.

When you are in the trenches, what keeps you going? It’s the story of heroics the perseverance the legacy and the grit. When you are out there to do things which have not been done before you will encounter naysayers and my third learning is sharing the stories where you have overcome this and that is what holds us together and keeps us in the fight

  • Tell stories — When you share your own opinions, learnings, thoughts, choices, challenges, failures and decisions and talk or write about it people will begin to see who you are and what you stand for as a person and the company/product that you are representing — it makes you genuine.

In Simon Sinek’s words “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” I simply call it passion and the fourth learning

  • Be passionate — about what you believe and live by your values — don’t look upwards for instructions or downwards for gratitude. Always remember people inspire people.

Integrity within the organization and outside in front of customers/partners is paramount in becoming the trusted partner/advisor. This centers around the below three key processes and my fifth learning

  • People, Strategy and Operations — Deliver on your commitments. Drive for extraordinary results. If leadership is a funnel it will be in this order TO BE > TO DO > TO SEE > TO TELL

2019 was great, surfing on the red ocean was challenging and rewarding but also we had a ton of fun along the way. This team makes sure that fun and humor is part of work. People like to laugh and it’s good for your wellbeing so never forget to bring fun into the workplace as we do.

My sincere gratitude and thank you to my leaders, my team and the customers and partners who have given us a chance to work with them this year.

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I am looking forward to 2020 and this time sailing with this team and conquering the red ocean as we bring value to our customers and partners with what we have built in the last decade as a company. Here is for another decade of hyper-growth and continued momentum of this rocket ship that we know as “Nutanix”. Seasons greetings and a Happy New Year everyone !!

Written by

A technical leader with an extensive large company and entrepreneurial/startup enterprise IT experience. Dreamer | Learner | Yoga | Food | Music | Cricket

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