Bhanu Chopra, founder and CEO of RateGain likes the comfort remote work provides. He felt more efficient while working in t-shirt and shorts at home. However, like many leaders, he’s back in office as he feels creative thinking and brainstorming can only be done face to face.
The 45-year-old started RateGain, a global SaaS solutions provider for the travel and hospitality industry in 2004. The company went public with IPO (initial public offering) in 2021. Chopra has worked with Deloitte Consulting, was a member of India Angel Network, and is a director of Singapore-based hospitality company RedDoorz.
Chopra speaks to Lounge about his diverse set of mentors, how growth mindset has made him resilient to withstand crisis, and why he practises visualisation.
Who do you consider your mentor and why?
Entrepreneurship is fraught with one too many risks. So to define my motivation and translate that into a sustainably fulfilling business life, I depend on different mentors depending on the area of concern. So, I find mentors in strategy, compliance and legal or leadership. Similarly, for fitness and spirituality, I have a different set of mentors.
I feel fortunate to have surrounded myself with a battery of excellent mentors, who help me forge better relationships and realize my potential. These mentors could be board members, investors, friends, etc.
For my personal life, I used to have a life coach, who helps me build a wholesome perspective and catch insightful glimpses into a variety of situations, without any prejudices.
One major insight you worked on with your mentors' guidance.
I have been able to cultivate a growth mindset that has helped me to introspect various personal and business situations and then devise a roadmap to align near-and long-term goals. This progressive approach offers me abundant scope to innovate, experiment, fail, learn and continually grow.
For instance, around 2015, the company was growing a challenging phase. It was demotivating and I felt like I was failing. I was advised by one of the mentors to read about the concept of growth mind-set. I learnt to focus on getting better from failure. So, even during the initial year of the pandemic, we lost 80% of revenue; I was able to manage the crisis. I feel I am a pro at withstanding crisis now.
What does being a mentor mean to you? How do you mentor your colleagues at work?
A mentor is someone who acts like a trusted advisor and guides you through your personal or professional journey by providing you with advice or resources tailored to your specific needs, without any biases.
At work, its super exciting to see my mentees succeed, some of whom had joined in junior roles but with guidance and constant support have successfully climbed the ladder to now being the heads of departments. In fact, we have an extensive induction programme to groom our management trainees.
What's your morning schedule after waking up?
I wake up usually around 7 am. The first thing I do is meditate for about 10 minutes using the Headspace app. I then read the Financial Times, and check emails. After that, I proceed to get some workout done either at my home gym or go for a run. Breakfast is optional. I get to work by about 11 am.
What's the one positive work routine you have developed during the pandemic?
I started practicing visualisation in the morning and gratitude prayer in the evening. I spend couple of minutes visualising what a great life means to me, what I serve and so on, and visualise it happening. I have found it to be very effective for me in realising my goals.
What are the key productivity principles you ardently follow?
Setting goals is very important. I set yearly goals, which I break down to quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. On Sunday nights, I review the weekly goals as it helps me plan my week ahead.
The other thing I do is prepare for meetings in advance. I don’t like people making PowerPoint presentations in the meeting. Instead, I ask them to send it to me beforehand so that we can discuss key talk points during the meetings. It ensures we don’t waste time and wrap up the meeting within the set time. I have also learnt what to delegate and what not to over the years. I believe leaders largely do two things – thinking up what-to-do strategy and execute these strategies. You need to effectively delegate the latter part.
Any book/ podcast you would recommend about mentorship and workplace growth?
I would recommend Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. This book outlines all the key tenets that can help a person steer away from “I know it all” fixed mind-set. It nudges you to become adept in finding scope in their daily reflections to rethink his/ her approach for transforming a setback into an opportunity to learn and grow.
How do you unwind?
I spend time with my family. I like to run, it helps let out steam. I also love to travel and do adventure sports like skiing, scuba diving, sky diving and so on.
Monday Motivation is a series featuring founders, business leaders and creative individuals who tell us about the people they look up to and their work ethics.