A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step
for an organization to be effective, the people who make it up must be aligned on many levels — from what their shared mission is, to how they will treat each other, to a more practical picture of who will do what when to achieve their goals. Yet alignment can never be taken for granted because people are wired so differently. We all see ourselves and the world in our own unique ways, so deciding what’s true and what to do about it takes constant work.
Excerpt from“Principles” by Ray Dalio
Sahaj is 7 years old. My journey with Sahaj began right when it started — back in 2014. Yes, one would expect the seven years itch to kick in but ain’t I glad that it is totally missing in action!
We seeded the operations for Sahaj Chennai after our successful operation in Bangalore. Chennai was the 2nd office for Sahaj in a span of less than a year of Sahaj’s existence.
I was very excited to join the team in Sahaj and help build the organization, which I believed, would also aid in my personal growth.
It was a decision that I had to make after enjoying a wonderful tenure with my previous organization which shaped me in many ways and where I got to work with great minds and fantastic people.
The only thing that motivated me to join Sahaj was nothing other than the people factor. From an established brand, I was moving to a company that was just starting up. One would have normally expected anxiety and nervousness about pursuing a career in a new start up. But surprisingly I had none of those and I was convinced that I wouldn’t err here because I was very confident that I wouldn’t be let down.
I accepted the offer even before knowing what my pay was. There was trust — that I would not be exploited.
Secondly when I asked about the role and the work, “It’s pretty much everything” was what one of the founders told me.
We finally opened the Chennai office in a 3 Bedroom house. Believe me, it was one of the best office spaces that I had worked in. People who joined us later would say let’s move to proper office space but in a week’s time, they would reconsider their thoughts and actually enjoy staying back there. It gave such a homely feeling for all of us. Simple things like we would not enter the house with footwear to the nearby caterer serving home-cooked food. We used to sit on the floor in a circle and eat. In The Evening we would take a nice walk to a nearby restaurant for south Indian filter coffee and some snacks.
We were unsure if people would consider us seriously and join us since we were small and literally the office space proved it so.
Along with the usual work we also helped in carpentry, painting and some masonry works at the beginning. This is what I call building an organization, quite literally :-)
We met a number of techies everyday whom we thought would align with what we think. A wonderful set of people joined hands after they listened to what we were committed to.
One couldn’t ask for a better beginning than this. The team spent time and patiently shaped up things at Sahaj working with the larger group.
Also, during these times we had the massive Chennai floods of 2015. I took off to volunteer and serve those people in need and Sahaj supported it, though I was associated with a client project then. I was also assisted by fellow Sahajeevis to arrange essential services like doctors, food and other supplies. Things like these made me feel that I am in safe hands and a place that cares. What a time we had then! Logistically it was a nightmare though.
And to BAU
So when we started discussing the campus interviews, we were really unsure of being given a decent slot. We joined hands with alumni from the college who were a part of Sahaj and paid a visit to the college to meet the placement officer and a few of the professors. It was definitely not a one off meeting. We kept continuously meeting them and also talking about how we can help them build skills beyond usual campus recruitment. Since we were a small company, the encouragement was not so great from the institutions and the students. During presentations and the interaction during the interview process the students slowly started to believe our philosophy and got to understand that we were making some sense and were doing what we were claiming to.
We helped the institutions by organizing learning sessions for the students and from our approach, they understood that we were different.
From then on, we were invited and prime slots were given in many of the top institutions. The young bloods who joined us added energy to the momentum.
Fast forward to now, at campus hiring sessions, it is very heartening to hear people say “Yes, we know Sahaj and your culture and the work you do is pretty interesting”
We have grown and evolved in many ways in the last 7 years and the journey has just begun!