It takes great leadership skills to recognize and acknowledge the efforts of co-workers. Only great leaders with far-reaching vision know the art of fostering a culture that celebrates and recognizes their team members and partners. Such leaders value collaboration over confrontation and therefore experience more success than their counterparts. Nonetheless, they never fail to inspire their co-workers and often set a precedent for others to follow.
Ven Thangaraj, the Founder of Radiant Sage, is one such inspiring Indian entrepreneur who ensures his team members and partners get the due credit and recognition for their contributions. As an accomplished entrepreneur with great leadership qualities, Thangaraj has ingrained this kind of collaboration and recognition culture in his work and business. And that has been his personal mantra for leadership for several years. As a result, he has retained his key employees for almost 10 years and has earned a reputation as a people’s leader since the inception of Radiant Sage.
The birth of Radiant Sage
Several events in Thangaraj’s early career stages laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial life and approach to business. After finishing his higher education at the tender age of 22, Thangaraj considered attending medical school and worked in medical research at a hospital to gain experience. However, he was confronted with significant office politics that changed the course of his career. He soon realized that he wanted to do something outside of the confines of typical office affairs and agendas. At the same time, he vowed that he would make sure anyone who contributed gets credit and recognition for their work.
Secondly, he was inspired by the entrepreneurial lifestyle of a friend. “I noticed that because he was a consultant, he could take the morning or day off and didn’t have to ask anyone for permission as long as he completed his commitments and deliverables,” says Thangaraj, CEO & President at Radiant Sage. This freedom propelled him to pursue entrepreneurship as his full-time career. In addition, exposure to a wide variety of books on entrepreneurship cemented his career choice.
With his passion for entrepreneurship and strong business acumen, he established his brainchild, Radiant Sage, in 2010. Radiant Sage helps pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies use medical imaging such as MRI, CT, XRay, etc. to track the effects of drugs and devices in the human body. “When drugs are in clinical trials, medical imaging is utilized to see effects of those medications – like how a tumor responds in oncological compounds, or how the brain changes for drugs related to Alzheimer’s,” explains Thangaraj.
Under the leadership of Thangaraj, Radiant Sage has developed a nimble and entrepreneurial mindset that enables the company to handle complex challenges in the arena that its competition avoids. Today, customers from across the globe choose Radiant Sage for meeting their medical imaging needs because of the company’s ability to work on complex projects demanding more flexibility and innovative technologies, such as those which support and include complicated workflows, integration of different types of data (e.g. imaging and Electronic Medical Records) and more. “We’ve also built apps to help patients acquire images using their cell phones right from the comfort of their homes to facilitate faster and easier data collection even in these times of COVID,” adds Thangaraj.
Over the past 18-24 months, the team at Radiant Sage also has been invested in assessing how artificial intelligence (AI) can streamline what the company offers to its clients. Their involvement with AI will indeed help streamline and automate the process while effectively controlling the timelines and cost involved.
Driven by an intense curiosity in solving problems and investigating potential solutions, Thangaraj approaches problems without preconceived notions and this has impacted all parts of his life. Although every person in the core team brings prior experience and knowledge, he urges everyone, regardless of the positions they hold, to take part in brainstorming sessions. By nurturing a work environment where everyone can communicate, cooperate, and innovate in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect, he ensures that everybody’s voice is heard and that the team is able to drive better results.
While several personal and professional traits make Thangaraj and his leadership style different from peers, what really distinguishes Thangaraj is his ability to break the stereotype associated with entrepreneurship and traditional business life. “I believe that how you dress, what you look like up to a point is not going to matter because you are trying to solve a problem that involves your mind, not how you look,” affirms Thangaraj. He further adds, “I’m not saying to show up to a VC meeting with shorts and sandals — but you don’t have to show up with an expensive haircut and a conservative blue suit you’d never wear in your daily life either”.
Finding Balance and Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is not all smooth sailing. Having the energy and focus to launch, grow, execute, and scale a business is no easy task — not to mention the stress that accompanies every decision they must make for their business. However, for Thangaraj, finding balance has always been the key. By following distinct morning, afternoon, and evening routines, he reduces as much stress as possible while facilitating clear thinking and action throughout his day.
From practicing meditation and gratefulness to intense physical activity including weights, ice hockey, or mountain biking, Thangaraj follows a disciplined routine that helps to keep the creative engine running at 1000%. “I never really need to go on vacations as my daily routine incorporates the downtime I need to rejuvenate my batteries,” asserts Thangaraj.
According to Thangaraj, leadership should educate teams on being a whole person, not just about the work. While he stresses the importance of mindfulness at the workplace to increase job satisfaction and productivity, he also takes pride in his employees who are doing more beyond just work. “They’re adding in things they enjoyed as kids, such as sports and hobbies which take them out of the work mode into something physically engaging to stay active,” tells Thangaraj. With an incredible passion for playing guitar, Thangaraj brought back music into his life as a way to meditate which over the years has evolved into a very active rock band that has released two albums and plays shows internationally. (www.facebook.com/firstbourneband)
Thangaraj also reminds aspiring entrepreneurs of the importance of staying healthy especially in a field like entrepreneurship that involves long working hours. Unlike other entrepreneurs, he doesn’t advocate quitting their main job immediately to follow an entrepreneurial passion. Instead, he suggests getting started and building up the side interest then leaving the main job when the side passion is at a sustainable level of income, rather than taking on the stress of an immediate complete changeover. “Keep it as your side hustle until it starts to pay your bills then make it your full-time hustle,” says Thangaraj.
Under the guidance of Thangaraj, Radiant Sage is growing steadily and quickly. With the right mindset and collaboration culture, we can certainly say the future looks bright for the team at Radiant Sage. When asked about the new remote working culture, Thangaraj says, “My company had started remote work about 6 years ago. We have continued with me being “remote” based in the U.S. and the rest of the team based in India. We made it work and now the world is doing the same.”