ruchika rattan

Be your authentic self and not look forward to becoming someone else in life: Ruchika Rattan, Aspect Software

Can you share some experiences from your initial years at work? What qualities helped you evolve?
The biggest strength is my inner drive to accomplish tasks at hand in the best possible manner and a constant urge to look for new business challenges and to be able to solve them. The important thing is that the whole journey of overcoming a business challenge must bring some business value to my organization’s customer base and ultimately impact its business positively in both soft and tangible ways.

I remember my second year of work in a technical profile. I was posted in Mumbai to assist one of the most complex and bigger ongoing deals for the organization. A solution had
to be built in terms of a 5-year plan incorporating techno-commercial details for all five years. The deadline was short—the request came in the evening and had to be turned around the next day morning. I resisted initially since it seemed a bit impossible to work the whole night through and complete the task at hand. Besides, I was scared that I would commit mistakes. I did not wish to go that extra mile for work, since I was exhausted after having worked the entire day. I was unable to understand my customer’s urgency. So, my sales person convinced me to take a break, grab some tea, and take a deep breath. Being at the frontline, he made me realize that we had to get this done in the best interest of our own business and that of our customer.

This step of alignment was key for me. We started and put together the whole business plan by 5:00 am the next morning. My sales person and I worked extremely long hours on this plan and I must mention here that this wasn’t driven by a mandate by our management. This was a call that the two of us took in the interest of business.
This experience inculcated the ‘never say no’ attitude in me for a lifetime, especially to difficult work coming my way. I would actually look for challenging work now. The feeling of achievement I experienced, once the techno-commercial 5-year plan was completed, was very different from other projects I had done till date.

Do you see women leaders in IT facing tougher time than their male counterparts? What are the major challenges for women in leadership roles?
I feel everyone faces challenges, irrespective of gender, role, or organization. The nature of challenges vary for men and women but so do strengths and weaknesses as well the ability to deal with them.

Today, women have a well-deserved opportunity ahead of them across verticals, and I think we all must rise up to it; forget gender differences and take all challenges head-on. The key is to keep faith in oneself and just keep moving ahead. Just like we do not give up on our personal situations, we must not give up on professional ones either. Situations were never easy and will never be easy but that’s the real challenge and we must look forward to challenges to be able to evolve as professionals and more importantly as humans.

The only sincere advice I have for everyone is to be your authentic self and not look forward to becoming someone else in life. We must idolize experiences, not people. Ensure, we retain our own unique identity while we continue to draw from our own and others’ experiences.

Can you share any interesting experience or personality that has inspired you in your professional journey?
Experiences have always inspired me personally and professionally. I remember, I was new to an organization and had just closed my first deal country-wide. Accolades and appreciation were pouring in from all over. Interestingly, the deal ran into some trouble because of total non-agreement between customer and our legal team on a few legal contractual clauses.

I had set up a call with all the key stakeholders including CXOs from the customer end and from our side. The call started and few minutes into the call, it wasn’t going anywhere. The CFO from the customer side got agitated and made some irresponsible statements, leading to total silence on the call. I was new to this organization, new to sales, and was conducting a CXO call for the first time. For a second, numerous thoughts ran through my mind—should I disconnect the call, should I counter the customer leading to potential order cancellation, should I ask my legal to just stop talking altogether and log him off, etc. I finally broke the awkward silence of almost 20 seconds, pushing customer back on his remarks and undue asks, requesting the customer’s patience and composure to move forward. For first time, I said ‘no’ to a customer and I wasn’t sure if I was right. Customer gave me that assurance.

The chief marketing officer from the customer side immediately apologized on his company’s behalf. Following this, the legal issues were amicably resolved within twenty minutes on the same call, and the partnership was sealed.

The key takeaway—most often than not, we all run into difficult situations and if those are first-time, we struggle to make right decisions in that moment, especially when there are important things at stake. But it’s okay to push back and say ‘no’ to unreasonable demands and behavior of other party. It’s important to balance your organization’s esteem and customer responsiveness, and believe me, customers will respect that.

What is your advice to the female IT professionals trying to find their way to the top?
I will share with you the principle I have always followed in life—never try hard to find your way to the top; it’s personally too distracting for me. Focus on the task at hand and give your best to the same. Let your creativity, ideas, energy, passion, hard work, and commitment flow into this task at hand and believe me the world will take you to the top.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to set long-term goals in life to reach your desired destination that most people refer as ‘top’, but hard coding them and chasing them each can be distracting and exhausting. It prevents me from being the best at what I have to do today, right now. Just give your best each day to each task.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *