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Career Advice: Innovation, Taking Risks and Everything in Between

What does it take to be successful on the Gartner Information Technology team? We’ll tell you. Below, Senior Director of Software Engineering, Anand Ranganathan shares his perspective on the key to success.

November 27, 2020

Written by: Anand Ranganathan, Senior Director, Software Engineering

It’s been well over six years since I joined Gartner as part of a business unit that was a new acquisition at that time. I had to adapt to a fast-paced environment, continuously improve, innovate, carefully listen, and consistently overachieve on organizational goals. I had to get trained, lead a team, and meet my own individual goals as a Technology Architect. 

While there was no lack of excitement working in these new, intriguing, and challenging times, I recognized that leaning on our cultural tenets was a vital ingredient for success.  In this process, I learned that there is very little difference between innovation, success, impact, failure, and pedestrian. So, here is a succinct reflection of the innovation and its key traits:

Creative risk-taking: While it is true that risks need to be carefully managed, proactively mitigated, and eventually shepherded to something manageable, over time, monotonous adoption of this approach tends to create risk aversion. Often, decisions and actions are reversible, so the key to committing to a risk-taking mindset is to deeply understand the consequences of the client’s mission-critical priorities and aim high, collaborate, and communicate with your leaders and team.  Build a case and demonstrate why some risks must be taken sooner rather than later. Adopt relentless prioritization, fact-based decision making and no-limits mindsets as guiding principles.

Continuous learning: Build a purpose-based learning and coaching plan to help build the foundational knowledge and expertise needed to help you make more calculated decisions. Risk-taking and learning are close relatives and when consistently applied, you’ll see tangible results of meteoric learning as you push the limits of your comfort zone with purpose.

Pattern hunting to challenge the status quo: Continuously assess your work and operating rhythm.  Are you seeing any patterns?  Try seeking ways to create efficiencies such as sunsetting, delegating, or automating processes to ensure efforts are spent on the most impactful activities to drive the greatest business outcomes. Since we all have limited time, knowing what is draining time for you and your team is vital for conserving productive energy. Think like a marathon runner, not a sprinter. This relentless prioritization continues to be critical to our success.  

Overall, if one were to measure innovation, it is nothing but a derivative of creative risk-taking, learning, and pushing the status quo.

What personal habits have helped you be more productive and achieve greater results?  Share with us in the comments below.


Are you interested in working with talented professionals? At Gartner, our associates strive to do their best work for their clients, teammates and themselves. Learn more about our culture and how you can work with and learn from the best and brightest here.

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