“The Journey Continues” — Part 2

Premkumar S
4 min readMay 12, 2021

Simplicity — The State of Being Simple and Uncomplicated

“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become” — Paramhansa Yogananda

SAHAJ means Elegant, Natural, Fluent, Spontaneous, Simple etc. In more ways than one, this represents our motto, our guiding philosophy. Sahaj provides a great and invigorating environment where everybody is at their natural best, allowing for the most spontaneous and uncomplicated behavior, making it impactful and rewarding for everyone who gets in contact with SAHAJ.

This was evident when a new idea was thrown by a colleague when he saw the struggle that we went through in one of the campus rounds. An idea was conceived and he called it out in Gram Sabha (All hands meeting). Those who were interested, jumped in and the idea was materialized. A great effort was put in by our colleagues and the system was ready for the next campus season. The amount of time that we saved after using this system was mind boggling. From 5 hours of strenuous work to less than 5 seconds for output. This saved a lot of time and energy not only for us but also for the students and the institutions.

One of the major educational institutions in Tamilnadu has adopted this system built by us after looking at the efficiency during our campus interviews. They are using it at scale.

The point here is how a small idea could create a big impact and how it was supported by the organization.

There were other ideas too that took shape. I enjoyed looking at our colleagues working on their idea and Sahaj providing a space for it. Also, I got to work with them closely where I learnt the product life cycle. This also helped me in honing my problem solving skills through Design Thinking, which is my other passion.

To materialize something is not straight forward. There are bound to be questions, suggestions, debates and arguments that would happen in an open culture.

True to our philosophy and belief system, we were very conscious that at no point in time the culture gets diluted, at no point do people feel there is a hierarchy where they think twice to challenge a viewpoint or question irrespective of the seniority level.

What we do in a nutshell — Honest thoughts on the table | Thoughtful disagreements.

Idea meritocracy in practice

A common problem that we generally see is someone wanting to be the one to produce all the correct answers. Our environment stresses this — parents and schools want you to have the right answers on tests and be the one producing the brightest ideas.

But in an ‘idea’ meritocracy, you need to accept that ideas can and will come from anywhere.

‘If you value being right and having the best ideas above all, you shouldn’t care if the right answer comes from you or from someone else. Focus on finding the truth and the best ideas.’

This is what we have been practicing and continue to practice. We are seeking to create an environment that has shared values, a deep commitment to the mission, and high standards of behavior.

We practice integrity and demand it from others. — Mistakes and weaknesses are not hidden. Failures are encouraged. How else would one learn without trying ?

I personally have tried a few things and failed. People were fine with it as long as we tried something new and failed fast and failed forward.

In an environment where radical transparency is put first, there are a lot of things that people get to learn and benefit from. Since our meetings were open to all and every business decision was talked about in an open setting, people got to learn the business side of things. Be it the salary, profit share, projects in pipeline, everything was discussed openly.

People are given free hands to learn, create and share. Events like Dev Day (monthly tech events), DevMerge (hackathons) were conceived as an idea by our folks and executed. The leaders were there to support and we executed it.

True to our thought process, everybody at Sahaj owns the company. We share profits regularly and everybody gets stock options.

On top of it we recently received a substantial amount as a gratitude bonus. This was totally unexpected until one of our founders announced it. Things like these don’t necessarily have to happen but when it does happen, I think about one of our guiding principles — “Reduce Exploitation”

Sahaj — An environment where everyone feels not being exploited, so people just think solely about what’s accurate instead of how it is perceived so that it pushes them to focus on the most important things.

A place where people are free to express their opinions, ask questions and seek an answer.

Yato Dharmastato Jayah — where there is righteous action, there is victory.

Link to Part 1https://southpawprem.medium.com/a-journey-of-a-thousand-miles-begins-with-a-single-step-62f0bae75261

Link to Part 3https://southpawprem.medium.com/the-journey-continues-part-3-62d06e33c3d9