In our new feature, Shaz Khan takes us through a day in his life leading operations as CEO at Vroozi.

The procurement industry is on the cusp of a golden age. The quality and breadth of software that we will have at our disposal will be able to solve pain points in ways we have never seen before. As CEO of Vroozi, every day is spent with the mission of trying to spearhead these innovations in sourcing and procurement tech forward. However, in order to keep a proper work-life balance and not burn the candle at both ends, I have to ensure that my days are organised in such a way that I can maximise productivity while leaving enough room to let my mind and body recharge.

My mornings typically look the same. I wake up every day at 6am and I spend the hour either checking emails or getting on phone calls with partners and clients who are located in different time zones. My wife and I love a great cup of coffee and she brews a mean French press every morning which I happily imbibe as we prep to take our youngest child to school.

After morning drop off, I always do some type of workout from 8am to 9am, a quick morning hike, weight training, or some type of cross-fit routine. Physical activity is important to me and I like to get my blood pumping first thing in the morning. I am based in Los Angeles and I love to take advantage of the favourable climate and conduct my daily morning leadership meetings when possible. We have built a great team and culture at Vroozi and I always want to start the day with complete alignment on our company objectives.

For the rest of the morning, I am involved in a mix of meetings with management, status calls with different departments, and direct sales calls. I try to schedule most of my meetings during these hours so that by 1pm, I can focus on my own work without distraction. I fit lunch somewhere within these time slots depending on when I find an opening, but it ranges from day to day. From 1pm to 4pm, I get to do the work I need to do to review items of importance — from various documents, contracts, or simply just game planning and overall strategy.

As a CEO, there are three major areas I am laser focused on. The first area involves evangelising the overall vision of the company, both internally and to the outside market. It is important to set a solid vision and mission statement for your team but also provide clear guidance to the market on your differentiators, value proposition, and capabilities in the simplest of terms. My second responsibility is Chief Recruitment Officer. I want to ensure that I am actively recruiting and building the best team. Of course, a big part of that involves hiring talent from outside the company, but I strongly believe in promoting from within — ensuring there is a proper promotional path for high performers within the company.

The third responsibility has two components: Innovation and Sales. I subscribe to the notion that tech CEOs should spend 50% of their energy innovating on the product and the other 50% driving sales and distribution for the product lines. CEOs need to educate themselves on the products and services that they’re selling and how to sell it. You cannot offload that responsibility to other people. You should immerse yourself in all aspects of the product and influence the roadmap of that product. That’s why it’s critical to be able to support sales efforts directly or indirectly.

After 4pm, I check in with the management team to see if there are any urgent action items or issues that need to be unblocked. I like to spend a portion of my day with core management to ensure we understand organisation goals and that we’re doing what is needed to achieve them. If we see some slips in the process, we’ll address the things we need to do to fill in those cracks. We are a tech company and much of our focus revolves around the pace and quality of innovation with our software platform. Are we responding to customer needs quickly? How quickly are we approving new features on a product roadmap that we feel is meaningful to the company mission? How quickly are we demonstrating value not only to our existing customers but to prospects in our sales cycle? Are we retaining customers and growing with them?

Shaz Khan, CEO, Vroozi

When selling software, customer retention and expansion is critical. We strive to maintain the same level of enthusiasm, service level, innovation and attention for both our long-standing customers and new customers in a consistent manner. The same way you expect a retail chain at a mall to look and feel relatively the same whether you are in Texas or California, we want our services to be consistent and world-class regardless of region and market.

As top management, you should not be the final verdict in every required key decision. You should be able to empower leadership with a framework for decision making and risk management and trust that business is moving in a continuous state of motion. You have brought leaders in for that very purpose—to lead departments, mitigate risk, and execute strategy. However, problem solving is absolutely a necessary part and art for any C-Suite executive. My approach is very action-based. If there is a problem in a department that I see is not getting addressed to the company’s satisfaction, I will actively pull up a chair and sit down with that department to ensure we don’t leave until we outline an approach to solve the issue at hand.

Leaders need to entrust the team that they have gathered around them to solve day to day problems and challenges. But CEOs also need to be active so that problems in the business can be addressed and remediated quickly.

I also draw a line in the sand where I will never go searching for problems to solve. There’s a trust that you build with your executive team to get that work done. Regardless if I’m handling the problem or one of my direct managers is handling it, I believe that if any item will take you less than 10 minutes to complete, get it done immediately. This is how you are able to streamline business operations without letting issues pile up month after month unaddressed.

Once I deal with any important matters at hand with upper management, I’ll take a break and wind down with dinner with the family or coaching my daughter’s league basketball teams. My last shift of the day is around 9pm where I will check in with our international team and partners and customers. I take any calls required from those overseas teams when it comes to product development or sales opportunities.

After 10pm, I make sure to shut down and prepare for the next day. It’s important to set boundaries when you’re off the clock. I don’t subscribe to the philosophy that you have to work all hours of the day to prove your worth. Being CEO will already require plenty of sacrifice and commitment within the title. You have to always be on and there is no real concept of a weekend or a holiday. But that does not mean that we must burn out. I always try to find time to disconnect and decompress, whether with music, art, or physical activities.

The procure-to-pay industry will see some dramatic and fantastic changes in the next couple of years and Vroozi is positioned to not only adapt to these changes but to lead these changes with our AI-based technologies. There will be an increasing proliferation of technologies within the procuretech ecosystem that will augment company resource pools with smart AI-enabled assistants. These advanced tools will streamline purchasing and payment transactions, and foster improved collaboration between buyers and suppliers, ultimately enhancing supply chain operations.

In the next three years, procure-to-pay will emerge as a vital organisational function, not only driving improved operating margins and enhancing productivity through intelligent document processing but also acting as a key catalyst for innovative supply chain developments between suppliers and buyers. This will involve capabilities that will span predictive analytics on pricing trends, supply chain scenario planning, and digital payment alternatives with AI assistants who will recommend the best course of action to take—both within the software technology map, but also with additional solutions beyond it to further strengthen your business case or outcome.

With these changes on the horizon, I anticipate shifts in my day-to-day. Before COVID, I was on the road for half the year, as I firmly believe you have to be physically present whenever possible rather than relying on management via Zoom or other video conference tools. As we continue to expand in 2024, I expect to dedicate more time to travel, engaging directly with customers, partners, and participating in key events.

As I prepare to hit the road this year, my typical day will often look different. However, regardless of my location, my routine will maintain a structured focus on developing the best possible product and getting that product in the hands of as many customers as possible.

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