Saurabh Saxena | COO - Scaler

Saurabh Saxena works as the Chief Operating Officer at Scaler. Scaler is an ed-tech company which is also going into the college education domain recently. They are currently building the Scaler school of technology with their team.

What is your morning routine like?

I'm not really a morning person. I usually wake up anywhere between 8:30 to 10:30, depending on what last night was like. 

Usually, whenever I wake up, I try to get some sunlight, as Mr Andrew Huberman has suggested to us all. 

So I just open my windows and go to the balcony. I always have these super dark curtains so that my sleep doesn't break because of the lights. 🥱

I step out and grab a big jug of water and make sure that I eat something in the first 30 minutes, followed by a coffee. 

What do you do in the evenings?

Most of my evenings are at work. I don't wake up early in the morning, so I usually start my work day around 12:00 o'clock. 

This also means that my work day would end anywhere between 9:00 to 11:00, depending on what we have on the plate for that day. We have these amazing breakout zones in the office. 

We have table tennis, and we have foosball, we have a big walking area and stuff 🏓

Usually, around 6:30, I go for a few table tennis matches. That's my stress Buster in between a very hectic day. 

How do you manage your workload?

I don't think there is a very clear-cut answer there because, like I said I usually end up working till 11. 

What I try to do is hire, train and delegate. 

I get people on board and make sure that they have all the right skills to make me redundant. 

I just try to build the right reporting with them so that I can talk to them for 30 minutes every day and get a complete overview of what's going on. 

There was a book that I read when I moved to a managerial role, which is called One Minute Manager. That's a book that I live by, and it just makes my life a lot easier 📚

How do you Identify areas to improve?

When we are working, we get feedback from the results that we are able to deliver and from the expectations that we have set for ourselves. 

If the expectations that I've set for myself are not met, I know there's a gap. I know that those are the things that I need to focus on. 

It can be my presentation skills or it can be the ability to motivate the team to get the results that I want. It could be even making sure that we are tracking the right data. Whatever it is, There are certain expectations that we have set for ourselves ✨

That is my feedback mechanism, followed by an occasional peer review, talking to friends, and talking to colleagues. Brainstorming about what we could have done better in this cycle, and then going back to the drawing board, making sure that we're learning on that.

What do you do for your mental health?

To be honest, not a lot. Whenever I get a chance, I play table tennis on a daily basis. 

Whenever I get a chance, I go for bike rides. So anybody who knows me knows my love for motorcycles and my love for travel. 

Whenever work allows, I pick my bike, I go for a short or a long trip depending upon how much time I get. That's my retreat  🏍

I regularly talk to my counsellors. I have a bunch of friends who are also counsellors. So depending upon the seriousness of my thoughts and the depth of help that I need, either I would reach out to a friend or a professional.    

Any advice for team leaders?

I think it's very important to have a support system in place. This is something that we identified when we were less than 100 people in the company three years ago. 

When we were going from this 100 to 2000 journey, we identified that mental health is very important in a company that is growing so quickly and rapidly. 

We onboarded a lot of counsellors who work with us and our team very closely. They're always available. 

My advice to entrepreneurs would be that if you are not an expert at something, don't try to be. Get help across the board. 

This is not just for mental health but in general. If you are not a techie and you want to build something, get help. If you are not a mental health professional, get somebody on board who can work with you as a mental health professional and advise your team.