Sangram Vajre on Using Empathy for Others to Create Value
In our next episode of the Accelerating Value podcast series, we spoke to Sangram Vajre, Chief Evangelist and Co-Founder at Terminus. Sangram approaches family life with the same zeal as his marketing, and he’s always adding value in both areas.
We spoke about what energizes Sangram so that he can add value to others, the importance of asking questions as a leader, and how personal and professional experiences often mix. Our conversation offered many insights into the understanding of value creation as a whole.
Here are some of the key points from this discussion:
Part of what makes you special is that you have a rather electric presence, and when you're on stage or you're in person or you're on a podcast that really comes through. So let's start there. You are kind of a media personality. You get around, you're on a lot of podcasts, you're on a lot of stages. So how do you transmit value as you're interacting with audiences? How do you transmit value to individuals?
Sometime back, I heard that you've got to put the person in your mind before you walk on the stage. For me, I always think about who this presentation is for, and I start forming this person in my head, and I just speak to that one person in my head. That allows me to hopefully be as emotionally connected with that one person, and if the audience is right, that typically connects with everybody.
How much of your ability to do that today do you feel is stuff that you have learned either the easy way or the hard way versus who you are intrinsically?
It took me a while to just accept that as a gift. In the early days, I felt like it was necessary, we’re building a business and I have to be out there talking. If I didn't, and if I didn't feel the passion, and I didn't create all the things that I created, we wouldn't have a business to run. But after some point, it was not necessary for me to do it. So you get to that point where you recognize that you did what you needed to do, but you don’t need to do it anymore, or you actually have done so much of it that you get really good at it and now it's a choice that you need to figure out. So going back to the value conversation, I feel like it took me almost a year to realize that it's a gift and if I don't continue to focus on it and harness it, it will be a wasted gift. So why not use it?
Do you find today that it's easier for you to do that in large groups or one on one?
I think with one on one, I can only do so much. I may add value for some really deep conversations that somebody wants to have, but I can't have that level of conversation with every single person. It really would just not give me energy and I don't think I'll add that much value to their life.
You don't know if you can ever fill somebody's cup, but you can always make sure that you empty your cup, and I feel that it's a really important statement to think about. At the same time, if your cup is empty, you know that you have to go to somebody else to fill it. I think that's what happens to a lot of us and I think it's a problem of saying yes to too many things, and not recognizing that your yes is actually not adding value anymore.
Whether you're talking about relationships, whether you're talking about a business decision - figuring out how to spend a limited resource for maximum value, understanding that there are always elements to the equation in all situations that you don't control and that you might not even know about ever. How do you think about that today? You could kind of shorthand this question to being about prioritization, but it's more than just that.
I still think about everything I do as a multiplier effect, and I try to use that as a lens for everything. What I've learned is to figure out a way to do what I do best, what I offer the most value creation, and really just do that, and everything else can be delegated. So it's a matter of prioritization. Find your lane of genius, stick to it and figure out how you can give everything else that’s not in your lane of genius to others to lead and take forward.
So earlier you mentioned all the different things that you're doing right now. These are all going to monetize at different rates. How do you balance this in your own life?
I think the time lag is a big big factor in this. The important thing that makes me wonder all the time is: do I have the right end in mind? You've probably heard the phrase start with the end in mind, and I find myself asking this question more often than not. When you actually start a business, you should get your team rallied around the core values. It’s the same thing for your business, and it’s the same thing for your life.
So in both of these circumstances, based on what you said today, I would say that your natural bias is towards a longer time horizon. How do you balance that with the requirements that you have personally or your business has right now?
Well there you go, that's one of the reasons I'm not in the operating role of the business. But this is a really good point because one without the other would actually fail. It's extremely hard, as you initially said, about trying to build, trying to offer operating excellence, and then also almost being an evangelist in the way I think about my role, but both are important because both create the right kind of business model.
Sangram Vajre has a deep understanding of value. He knows how to add maximum value in both his professional and personal life, and he focuses on empathy and teamwork as key functions for creating value. The full conversation uncovered many important insights on this.
The Accelerating Value podcast series focuses on how we see, create, and plan value. Every week we talk to new guests, who are leaders across various disciplines. We understand their definition of value and showcase their expert insights to help you in your own quest to create value.