The Engineering Leadership Podcast · Episode 128

Adopting a GM mindset & building a resilient business

with Sandeep Chennakeshu

May 02, 2023
Sandeep Chennakeshu, Chief Operating Officer @ Uhnder Inc., joins us to discuss how eng leaders can adopt a GM mindset & strategies for building a resilient business. The author of Your Company Is Your Castle, Sandeep also reveals the key structural elements of all successful businesses, methods to improve your business’s financial fitness / cash flow, how to overcome operational inefficiencies, why strong decision-making matters when it comes to saving money, and much more.
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Sandeep has spent thirty-four years in three industries and led teams across the globe that pioneered amazing products in wireless (2G, 3G, 4G mobile phones, Bluetooth, Mobile-Satellite technology), semiconductors for consumer, automotive, and medical electronics, and safety-critical software for cars, medical equipment, nuclear power plants, high-speed rail, and industrial robots. Along the way, he transformed companies to grow profitably in a sustained manner using the principles outlined in his book “Your Company Is Your Castle”. He is a fellow of the IEEE and a named inventor on 180 issued patents.

"The single metric that I use to say, 'Am I doing well?' Because how do I know that the cash I'm generating is a good or bad? I use a very simple metric. If you take the enterprise value and you multiply it by the cost of borrowing money, your free cash flow must be higher than that product. When I'm doing better than that metric, then I know that I have a future.”

- Sandeep Chennakeshu   

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  • Sandeep’s most significant career milestones (2:27)
  • Why there is no difference between an eng leader & GM (7:16)
  • Sandeep’s passion for & background of transforming business (9:55)
  • Key structural elements of successful companies (12:54)
  • How a successful business resembles a castle (14:39)
  • Strategies to improve financial fitness & generate cash flow (15:56)
  • Metrics to determine how well you’re optimizing your cash flow (18:33)
  • Examples of how strong decision-making led to cost savings (20:32)
  • Frameworks for overcoming operational inefficiencies (23:01)
  • Sandeep’s tips for categorizing / prioritizing where the cashflow’s impact hits (25:27)
  • Why it’s important to stay ahead of the “gorilla in the room” (27:44)
  • Resilient business models utilize stickiness & have high operating leverage (29:46)
  • Questions eng leaders can ask to adopt a more effective GM mindset (34:55)
  • Rapid fire questions (37:27)


This episode wouldn’t have been possible without the help of our incredible production team:

Patrick Gallagher - Producer & Co-Host

Jerry Li - Co-Host

Noah Olberding - Associate Producer, Audio & Video Editor

Dan Overheim - Audio Engineer, Dan’s also an avid 3D printer -

Ellie Coggins Angus - Copywriter, Check out her other work at

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