Balancing the Grind with Dhruv Dhumatkar, Director of Solutions Engineering at NetApp ANZ

Dhruv Dhumatkar is the Director of Solutions Engineering across Australia and New Zealand at NetApp.

In this role, Dhruv leads a talented group of cloud architects that translate customer business requirements into innovative solutions that meet the demands of the digital enterprise.

This conversation is brought to you by The Well-Suited Group, providing premium executive support services to high level executives, who also recognise the value of work-life balance.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

At university, I studied Electrical & Computer Systems where I had an interest in software and robotics. It is fascinating to see how far we’ve come, where technology is now a critical part of businesses in every industry.

I started my IT career at HP and then moved to NetApp in a junior pre-sales role. Fourteen years later and I am now the Director of Solutions Engineering, Australia/New Zealand with NetApp and loving every minute!

2) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

This sounds cliché, but no two days are the same for me. I spend a lot of time talking with customers and partners to better understand what they want to achieve, and how our team here at NetApp can help.

Case in point, a lot of my time recently has been spent helping customers navigate the challenges of remote working due to COVID-19. Many businesses have accelerated their digital transformation journey, using cloud technology to respond to increased customer and internal operational demands.

Other days I am working with our team of senior leaders within the NetApp business to forecast industry trends whilst also seeking to support the wider team in their roles.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, for sure! As a father of three, I wouldn’t have been at NetApp for so long if there wasn’t such a great work-life balance.

I have the autonomy to set my own workload based on what my team and the business needs whilst also acknowledging my commitments at home. Sometimes this means putting in a few hours on the weekend or finishing earlier to take my kids for a bike ride when I can.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you manage your workload and schedule?

I think meetings can become a time sink if not kept in check. I like to keep meetings short and focused on a few priority items rather than everything under the sun. If something can be solved over an email or text, even better.

I also like to block out time for bigger picture items, like strategy meetings, so that I have enough time to prepare and provide meaningful contributions. Lastly, making a to-do list and prioritising a few items that will push my team and business forward, even in a small way.

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5) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

I try to make sure that when I’m home, I’m present and enjoying family time. On the flip side of the coin, when I’m at work, I am also fully present. It’s about having that flexibility. There are definitely times when I get too involved with work and that’s when my wife and five-year old daughter help keep me grounded and my ego in check!

6) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

Planning for sure. I like to set myself quarterly goals in terms of professional development and upskilling. I also meet with my leadership team weekly to ensure we’re tracking towards the goals we’ve set – both for our team and for the overall business.

Honest feedback is also critical. I try not to sugarcoat everything, especially when it comes to conducting business, and the same goes for the rest of my team. This helps keep everyone honest and boosts personal development.

7) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?

One that I read a while ago and is still important today is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s an essential read for everyone at any stage of their career, especially graduates who are getting started in the workforce and thinking about how they can effectively tackle challenges.

Another one is Grit by Angela Duckworth. From a young age, I have always believed that the only thing that separated the people that succeed versus those who fall short is this intense willingness to keep going and never give up. And the growth mindset, which is the main theme in the book, is so important in 2020 as we find ourselves in a very different world today.

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I like to focus on achieving at least two to three tangible outcomes each day to move myself and the business forward in some way. That way I can look back at my day and ‘tick off’ something I am proud of. Of course, not every day will unfold this way, but they do more than not. I also try to make time for some sort of physical activity every day which helps with winding down.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

When you work alongside people with common goals, work becomes a lot easier. You continue to be passionate about the work too and learn from others around you. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously! (my wife and daughter help me with this one).

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.