Balancing the Grind with Theo Naicker, Chief Operating Officer at Splose

Theo Naicker is the Chief Operating Officer at Splose, an Allied Health & NDIS practice management software that helps you efficiently onboard clients, accurately manage funding, get paid faster, access real-time reporting and more.

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

Hi! Having started in customer service and learning & development roles, I grew into operational leadership roles, had a brief stint in change management, then gravitated towards SaaS product management. As a commercially minded non-techie, it’s been quite a ride! 

My current role is COO at a HealthTech startup, I am driving 5x growth through product management, customer acquisition, and monetisation strategies.

Splose provides an all-in-one practice management SaaS for allied health professionals that automates frustrating admin, so there’s more time for clients and growing the practice.

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

The days are quite different working with a handful of people in a startup compared to thousands of people at listed companies. There’s context switching across the different functions of the business – marketing, product, operations, finance, P&C.

Then there’s zooming out on big picture strategy and zooming in on tactical execution. I try (!) to chunk up work to focus on a particular function or set aside time for zooming out to strategise. Note the word “try” – a recent day had a mix of marketing execution, investor relations, financial reporting, and time with customers!

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

Like most people I haven’t perfected this but there’s a couple of things I’ve learnt along the way. There’s almost infinite jobs, workplaces, and even careers, but there’s only a tiny group of loved ones that are your people.

Whether that be a spouse, kids, family, close friends, it’s these evergreen relationships that can last the test of time. I’m conscious of the little time there is for relationships each week.

Like a scarce resource, it helps me limit the number of nights I’m away from family and even the types of roles I take – in this season of life I’m not in roles that require huge amounts of travel interstate or overseas which I was doing earlier in my career. 

4) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I’m more careful about the “always on” mentality, especially with “busy” work like catching up on emails at night. The other mindset shift is that I’ve gotten more comfortable with not getting to everything.

I’ve learnt to be ok with 100’s of unread emails, not being in every meeting, and occasionally dropping the ball on things that perhaps I didn’t need to pick up in the first place!

5) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

  • Start with Why – Simon Sinek
  • Boundaries – Dr Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend
  • Switch on your Brain – Dr Caroline Leaf
  • The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
  • Radical Candour – Kim Scott

6) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Anyone who has got the “life” part of that balance is in pretty good shape. There are countless people that are successful professionally yet their personal lives are in tatters. For me, it’s the people that have got personal lives in a decent place, not just professional success.

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

Sometimes it isn’t balance that’s the issue. Sometimes its purpose and the misalignment with your purpose. There’s a Japanese concept called Ikigai and it points to a deeper “why” than balance.

It’s about purpose, and Ikigai helps people connect their passion, vocation, and profession, to their mission, their why. Here’s a LinkedIn post I shared on Ikigai if you want to explore further. Always happy for people to reach out for a chat about career, life, and purpose!

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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.