Sailaja Nethi: Influencing ITConnectUs’s Forward March by Inspiring Her People

Sailaja Nethi
Sailaja Nethi

What is the biggest significant trait of the most successful women leaders? Before answering this crucial question, we must understand the difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders. Whenever an individual in authority becomes ‘Boss,’ he or she starts their journey towards un-leadership.

Because, according to Nethi Sailaja, the Director at ITConnectUs, “A boss has the title, a leader has the people.” These people help the leader to become successful. They are the foundation and journey of a leader’s successful progressive march. Take any successful leader, and you find that it is the people who have adorned that leader with the crown of victory. Thus, the most important trait of every successful leader is the people believing in them.

That is why, to Nethi, leadership is not about exerting authority. What confers power unto a leader is their ability to influence others inspire a shared vision, and motivate people to work towards that vision.

The Leadership Impetus

Nethi’s approach to leadership at her company is understanding her employees, clients and customers. She says, “To listen, put myself in their shoes and carefully consider everybody’s needs and motivations.”

This has helped Nethi steer her company in the direction that she desires. Because often she can appeal to her employees and impart her vision unto them. “It’s ever a scenario of me holding the steering wheel.” Everybody is pedalling towards the same end.

As a trailblazer in the Indian entrepreneurial world, taking us back to the beginning of her journey, Nethi says she always wanted to break the mould. Paving the way for those around her, opening doors to endless possibilities for all.

To ignite a fire within my kids and become their guiding light.” Refusing to surrender, persisting against all odds. “I knew that I could draw on my vision for creating opportunities for those around me as a driving force to lead my company through the ups and downs that came our way.”

Prioritizing People Power

Today, ITConnectUs has emerged as one of the world’s best enterprises in its niche of providing custom software solutions using advanced technologies. Sharing the guiding philosophy that has propelled her organization’s unstoppable success, Nethi says what she’s learned from her experience thus far is that the most successful corporations prioritize people- customers, employees, shareholders, etc. “As a company, we stand for putting our customers’ feedback, needs and requests above everything else. We constantly strive to monitor how well we have satisfied their needs and painstakingly work to fill the gaps where necessary,” she adds.

Additionally, over the years, Nethi and her team have strived to create a conducive and inclusive work environment to attract talent and encourage innovation. They prioritize building lasting relationships with employees and clients, which form the bedrock of ITConnectUs’s success. “This has helped keep us at the forefront of progress within our industry and competitive regardless of the obstacles that have impeded our growth.”

Additionally, the business environment is constantly changing, and they, as a team, are agile and adaptable to navigate challenges and seize opportunities. “Our commitment to research and development ensures our company’s offerings remain competitive and relevant in the market.”

Empowering the Evolution

The business landscape is continually evolving. Yet, Nethi ensures that her company remains adaptable and ahead of industry trends, providing innovative solutions to their clients. They regularly analyze the market and industry trends to identify emerging opportunities and potential threats. It involves staying informed about technological advancements, customer preferences, and changes in the competitive landscape.

They foster a culture of agility and responsiveness within the organization. They encourage employees to adapt quickly to changes, remain open to new ideas, and learn from both successes and failures. “We actively seek feedback from clients and collaborate with them to understand their evolving needs,” she says, adding that collaboration provides access to complementary expertise, resources, and new perspectives.

They also adopt an iterative approach to product development. This allows for rapid prototyping, testing, and refinement, enabling the company to respond quickly to changing market dynamics.

Fostering the Integration of Innovation and Expectations

The essence of successful women’s business leadership lies in bringing innovation and advancements by disrupting norms. When asked how women-led enterprises balance advancing trends and user demands, Nethi finds the question interesting because it assumes that advancing trends and user demands are mutually exclusive. “But in my experience, they intersect quite often.”

Advancing trends are a response to users’ needs and wants. “And being a women-led enterprise is a huge advantage in a rapidly changing industry because, as women, we are more predisposed to being sensitive to the needs of others and exercising empathy. This is a game changer in allowing us to respond instantly to user preferences changes, which allows us to innovate and keep up with trends.”

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are crucial aspects of modern industry. Nethi believes that protecting the environment goes hand in hand with corporate goals. It’s a huge misconception of companies nowadays that environmental sustainability comes at the expense of financial goals. “But in the long term, I think this is untrue. Our customers favour us more, and governments worldwide are more willing to support us when we have kept environmental sustainability at the forefront.”

Developing a comprehensive sustainability strategy aligned with the company’s values with clear, measurable sustainability targets helps. “Being accountable for every aspect of our supply chain and monitoring our partners and providers’ actions is also crucial,” she adds.

As big companies, they have huge potential for setting an example in an industry that is heading in the direction of sustainability. Nethi says they have to leverage this power to inspire others to progress in a way that protects our environment for future generations.

Advancing Techno-Links

In the realm of business, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. Nethi shares that they have embraced technology “Because we understand that in our world, growth and technology are synonymous.”

They have adopted a comprehensive digital transformation strategy to modernize business processes and operations. They utilize data analytics to extract insights and predictive analytics to forecast trends and anticipate customer needs. This allows them to instantly respond to user needs and stay relevant. “We adopt cloud-based solutions for scalable and flexible infrastructure.”

Most recently, they have invested generously in AI technology to personalize and optimize the customer experience.

They have also established a strong online presence through e-commerce platforms and digital marketplace. “And, of course, to stay true to our motto of being responsive to customer’s needs, we use digital platforms for direct customer engagement and feedback.”

As for ITConnectUs, Nethi hopes they can set an example in their industry for balancing sustainable growth alongside staying competitive and relevant in a landscape with rampant misconceptions about balancing sustainability and growth.

An Easygoing Advice

To the question of how she advises other budding aspirants to enter the globe’s women’s entrepreneurial leadership landscape, Nethi states, “Being in this position, I know the power I wield. Being a woman in a position of power is seen as a stressful and tough job, and this daunting misconception discourages many women from stepping into such roles.”

She adds that she is easygoing and joyful regardless of the circumstance. “Being the director of ITConnectUs has not taken away my lively spirit from me. I have been able to lead this company, and I think the misconceptions about being cold and hard to lead are untrue. I hope to communicate this reality to other women who aspire to assume such roles. If I had not overcome my fears and hesitations before stepping into this role, I may not have had the fruitful career I now have. I do not want other equally, if not more, capable women to be hindered by such fears and I hope I can play a part in shedding light on this reality.”

A Digitally Interconnected Tomorrow

In the realm of business, technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing efficiency. According to Nehti, they at ITConnectUS Embrace a comprehensive digital transformation strategy to modernize business processes and operations. Utilize data analytics to extract insights and make informed decisions. Implement predictive analytics to forecast trends and anticipate customer needs. “We Adopt cloud-based solutions for scalable and flexible infrastructure. Also, Utilize cloud services to reduce infrastructure costs and enhance collaboration.”

Implement AI and ML for process automation, reducing manual work and increasing efficiency. “We Use AI for personalized customer experiences and targeted marketing. We Establish a strong online presence through e-commerce platforms and digital marketplace.” Leverage digital platforms for direct customer engagement and feedback.

ITConnectUS rapidly implemented remote work policies to ensure employee safety and comply with lockdowns. Offered mental health support programs to address the emotional toll of the pandemic. Nethi concludes, “We implemented cost containment measures, such as freezing hiring, delaying non-essential projects, and renegotiating contracts.” Focused on optimizing operations and processes for increased efficiency.