Balancing the Grind with Sanjay Rohatgi, Senior Vice President & General Manager APJ at NetApp

Sanjay Rohatgi is the Senior Vice President & General Manager APJ at NetApp, a hybrid cloud data services and data management company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.

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

I’ve been with NetApp for eighteen months and lead the Asia-Pacific/Japan region, where I’m responsible for driving sales with teams in different markets.

Prior to NetApp, I was the President at Symantec and held various roles at Cisco, including time as the Managing Director Service Provider for India and SAARC. Having spent much of my career in the tech industry, I was drawn to NetApp, a data-led company.

Data is now at the centre of everything we do, irrespective of industry verticals, so it was an exciting move for me.

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

My role is best surmised as keeping the wheels turning by helping my teams to succeed. My typical day usually starts and ends with a Zoom call because my role involves countries from multiple continents and many different time zones.

I could be providing an update to my manager in Europe, joining a call with the HQ team in California or working with regional teams within JAPAC.

I like how my teams have been able to work remotely with ease during the pandemic, although I am aware of ‘Zoom fatigue,’ and encourage everyone to prioritise and not be afraid to say ‘no.’ 

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

As a cloud-first data company, our infrastructure supports employees to work in a way that best supports their success, including remote working, which everyone at NetApp is doing at the moment. It’s been great to see how seamless the switch to fully-remote has been.

Everyone was up and running in no time! Moving forward, everyone’s role, including mine, will continue to be flexible so people can structure their days in a way that best suits them and find their own way to work efficiently.

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

It took some time to adjust to the routine of fully remote work, but I’ve been able to develop three practices that help me get the most out of every day.

Firstly, call preparation is key. I like to hit the ground running when I have a call with a customer or partner by having a clear agenda and value proposition ready beforehand. Second, I avoid back-to-back Zoom calls and leave at least ten minutes between calls to gather my thoughts and prepare mentally.

Lastly, I think it is important to say no to meetings when they aren’t necessary, or when you know that you won’t add value to that conversation.

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

My career is very important to me, but so is spending time with my family and children. I have a busy schedule (don’t we all!) but try to take holidays when needed or small ‘wellness’ breaks for a mental recharge. I also try to maintain a ‘no Zoom Friday’ rule so that I leave myself time to recharge.

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?

Think big, so you can win big – that’s my mantra. As a leader, I pride myself on building an A-class team and continually develop my own interpersonal and empathy skills so my team thrives. Since I’m lucky enough to have a great team that works well together, my role is that of an enabler – someone who removes roadblocks so that the team can succeed.

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

Execution by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan is a must-read for leaders. In essence, strategy without execution is an illusion. This book focuses on how leaders can execute strategy every day with laser focus. 

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

Stay positive, every day is just another day, so don’t sweat the small stuff. I also have a spiritual side which includes daily prayers – this helps with my positivity and gratitude. Lastly, I like to write down a few things I’d like to achieve from my day and focus on accomplishing them.

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

It’s important, especially when you reach a senior level of any business, to try and bring an element of fun to the company. I endeavour to take time out with the team for some team building activities, recreation or even a virtual drinks session – anything that builds the culture and improves team bonding. 

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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.