Without a solid team, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get anything done!
Shankar Rajendran completed his engineering degree in computer science in Hydrebad, India. Upon graduation, Shankar completed additional computer courses to improve his knowledge in Chennai, India while working as a software developer. After gaining a couple of years’ experience as a software engineer, Shankar then applied for jobs at U.S based companies and got selected as a software consultant. After moving to the United States, Shankar worked for various large scale clients and shortly after became a full time employee for a Healthcare company in Rhode Island. In that company he developed himself from a software developer to a technical team lead and eventually became a project lead.
In 2010, Shankar Rajendran returned to school and received an MBA in business. Currently, Shankar is a Senior Project Manager in the IT department of an environmental company that operates throughout North America.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
The fact that the company has been in the field of healthcare and helping people’s health inspired me to develop and deliver projects for the company Heartlab Inc.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Typically I wake up around 6am, have breakfast with my family and arrive at work around 8am. I start my workday off by collecting daily updates from the team members and creating a schedule for all of the employees I manage to follow. We then move on to identifying impediments/risks and schedule follow up meetings to address these. After lunch, I work with end users to gather requirements for next product and sustain current projects. Additional tasks include performing administrative work to evaluate team members, hire staff, document project requirements and validation. The day-to-day requirements shift depending on the projects we are working on. But typically I get an early start and aim to be home with my family by 6pm.
How do you bring ideas to life?
There are many different ways. Most importantly, I bring ideas to life by having a mindset that complements the kaizen principles: there is always room for improvement, workers are confident about offering suggestions, everyone’s opinion is values, strong personal discipline, and teamwork in quality circles. Using these 5 principles to assess issues and design a better practice is crucial for success. I also depend on the feedback from end users and their own ideas about improving products to help improve the product life cycle. Lastly, as a project manager, it is important to develop and groom people to their strengths and cultivate a good working environment. This last point is essential to have a team that supports your ideas and helps you bring them to life. Without a solid team, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get anything done!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love the trend of companies getting involved with philanthropy! When you can use a company, which has so many resources and such a large influence over the lives of citizens, to improve the lives of others, you are truly embodying everything that it means to be a community. Corporate philanthropy is not only important for the people we are helping. It also improves the lives of employees who know that their hard work is going towards something much bigger than making a company money.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
The fact that I acknowledge that we work better as a team than as a single person is something that has made me very productive and successful. I always make sure to make the work environment a positive space where there is not too much stress that individuals feel they cannot share their ideas or experiment with new perspectives. I encourage team members to treat success and failure equally, so that they do not get discouraged when something does not go the way we wanted it to. Alternatively, it’s important not to let praises get to your head!
What advice would you give your younger self?
There are so many things I could tell my younger self to avoid a lot of challenging situations, but ultimately these challenges made me who I am, so I would not give that up for anything. I think all young individuals looking to break out into the workforce and get noticed should remember to work hard to achieve your passions/ dreams, be confident in your skills, and do not forget who helped you achieve success or where you came from.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Develop applications internally always within the organizations rather than buying or renting from third party companies/vendors. It’s so important to have individuals who know the organization inside out, and have seen the company grow. Hiring someone from the outside does not always give you a better perspective. Additionally, increment salary or introduce bonus structure for your A-players within the company rather than throwing money at free agents (outside contractors or consultants). Treat your employees right and they will do so much good for you!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
As I have said before, treating your employees well and training them to be the best they can be is very important. Continue to build a good farm system wherein you can build managers and directors from within the organization. When others see that someone has started at the bottom and climbed to the top, they will feel so motivated to do the same! Additionally, build relevant experience among your employees and encourage them to grow within the organization. When you see an employee has stuck with a company for 20+ years, you know that employee and that company are doing something right. Employers should not overlook this dedication.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One thing that has made me successful in both the healthcare and IT industries is building my network and being a people person. These connections have helped me enter industries I never thought I could on my own. I am so grateful for these connections. Of course, I also think it is extremely important to understand business objectives and always work to increase ROI. Sometimes, no matter how nice and smart you are, employers won’t see you as valuable if you cannot get a good ROI.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
A failure of mine was when I attempted to extend the infrastructure overseas yet failed because I did not understand the culture and behavior. This resulted in a lot of wasted investment with no returns. To overcome this failure, I had to research the culture and buying power, which allowed me to improve the infrastructure growth and ROI. Sometimes failure forces you to develop some amazing plans.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
A good business idea would be develop a gaming application for iOS and Android that allows you to spread awareness of your brand, products, and services. When it is in a gaming setting, the promotional aspect isn’t so obvious. With the amount of smartphone users, even a price of $1 for your app will help you earn millions of dollars if the application is innovative and successful
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I have spent recently was a donation to jimmyfund.org to help cancer patients. Giving back to the community is so important to me.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
I love the Splitwise app. It`s a way to share bills, IOUs, track payments, and most importantly for me: it helps manage expenditure in group parties with multiple spending. When you are traveling or buying clients stuff, such as business dinners or flights, it is important to track this so your company can reimburse you.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I love the book “Strengthsfinder“ by Tom Rath. It’s a national bestseller where Rath shares how you can find and apply your strengths to create opportunities where you love what you do everyday. I think it is so important to make a life that you love to live everyday. Do not settle. Of course struggle and misfortune is part of life, but when you have this mindset that you are creating something great for yourself, you push through the low parts and break through to the high.
What is your favorite quote?
“It is nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” Never underestimate the power of relationships and connections. Having family, friends, coworkers and other professionals that respect you and love your company is crucial for living a happy, successful life. Never use people to get to where you want to go. You will never be successful (or at least not successful for long!) if you treat people poorly.
● Learn your history and where you came from
● Understand your strength and weakness
● What is right and why?
● Improve your awareness towards future investments
● Work towards innovative business strategies
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.