Sancy Suraj: The CEO of Knowles Training Institute on the Power of Diversity and Inclusion
As the CEO of Knowles Training Institute, Sancy Suraj has been at the forefront of the corporate training industry for over a decade. Under his leadership, the company has expanded to offer over 400 different training courses to clients in more than 30 countries worldwide. With a focus on innovation, inclusivity, and empowerment, Suraj has been able to build a thriving company that is changing the game for corporate learning. In this article, we will delve into Suraj’s leadership style, his strategies for attracting and retaining top talent, and his approach to decision-making and problem-solving in a fast-paced and competitive industry.
How would you describe your leadership style, and how has it evolved over the course of your career?
As the CEO of Knowles Training Institute, my leadership style has evolved over the years to be more adaptable and inclusive. In the early stages of my career, I tended to lead with a more directive approach, where I would simply tell my team members what to do and how to do it. However, over time, I realized that this approach wasn’t always effective, and it could lead to a lack of engagement and buy-in from team members. As a result, I began to shift towards a more collaborative approach, where I would involve my team members in the decision-making process and empower them to take ownership of their work.
My current leadership style is focused on building a strong team culture, where everyone feels valued and heard. I believe that every team member has something unique to offer, and it’s my job as a leader to create an environment where they can bring their best selves to work every day. To achieve this, I prioritize open communication, active listening, and a willingness to take feedback from team members. I encourage my team members to take risks and to learn from their mistakes, which helps to build a culture of continuous improvement.
One of the most important aspects of my leadership style is my focus on developing my team members’ skills and abilities. I strongly believe that investing in people is one of the most valuable things that a company can do. To this end, I provide my team members with opportunities for professional development, such as training courses, mentorship programs, and leadership development programs. By investing in my team members, I’m not only helping them to grow and succeed, but I’m also creating a more resilient and effective organization.
Overall, my leadership style is centered around creating a supportive and collaborative team culture, where everyone has the opportunity to grow and succeed. Through a focus on open communication, active listening, and investment in professional development, I aim to build a strong and engaged team that is able to achieve great things together.
What do you believe are the most important qualities of an effective leader in the corporate training industry?
In my experience as the CEO of Knowles Training Institute, I believe that there are several qualities that are essential for an effective leader in the corporate training industry. These qualities include a strong focus on communication, a passion for learning and development, and the ability to adapt and innovate in response to changing circumstances.
Firstly, effective leaders in the corporate training industry must have exceptional communication skills. This involves not only being able to communicate effectively with team members, but also with clients and stakeholders. Leaders must be able to clearly articulate their vision for the organization, inspire their team members, and build strong relationships with clients. They must also be able to provide constructive feedback and actively listen to the feedback provided by others.
Secondly, a passion for learning and development is crucial for leaders in the corporate training industry. As the world of work evolves rapidly, it’s essential for leaders to stay up-to-date with the latest trends, technologies and best practices in training and development. Leaders who are passionate about learning and development are more likely to inspire their team members to develop their own skills and to deliver high-quality training programs.
Finally, effective leaders in the corporate training industry must be able to adapt and innovate in response to changing circumstances. This involves being able to identify emerging trends and new technologies, and to develop strategies that take advantage of these trends. It also involves being able to pivot quickly in response to unforeseen challenges or disruptions, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
In summary, effective leaders in the corporate training industry must have strong communication skills, a passion for learning and development, and the ability to adapt and innovate. These qualities are essential for building strong relationships with clients, inspiring team members, and delivering high-quality training programs that meet the evolving needs of the corporate world.
How do you foster a positive and inclusive company culture at Knowles Training Institute?
At Knowles Training Institute, we place a high priority on fostering a positive and inclusive company culture. We believe that a strong company culture is essential for building a happy and engaged team, and for delivering high-quality training programs to our clients. To foster this culture, we focus on several key strategies.
Firstly, we prioritize open communication and active listening. We encourage our team members to share their thoughts and ideas openly, and we make sure that everyone has a voice in decision-making processes. We also regularly solicit feedback from team members, both in terms of how we can improve our training programs and how we can improve our company culture.
Secondly, we prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at all levels of the organization. We recognize that a diverse team is essential for delivering effective training programs, and we strive to ensure that all team members feel valued and included. To achieve this, we have implemented several DEI initiatives, such as training programs on unconscious bias and a mentorship program for underrepresented groups.
Thirdly, we prioritize work-life balance and employee wellness. We recognize that a happy and healthy team is essential for delivering high-quality training programs, and we make sure to prioritize employee wellness. We offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, and we provide opportunities for team members to participate in wellness programs, such as yoga classes and meditation sessions.
Overall, our focus on open communication, DEI, and employee wellness has helped us to foster a positive and inclusive company culture at Knowles Training Institute. By creating a culture where everyone feels valued and included, we have been able to build a highly engaged team that is passionate about delivering high-quality training programs to our clients.
“A positive and inclusive company culture is not just a buzzword, it’s the foundation of a team that thrives on collaboration, innovation, and excellence.”
How do you empower your team members to take ownership of their work and contribute to the company’s success?
At Knowles Training Institute, we believe that empowering our team members to take ownership of their work is essential for building a highly engaged and effective team. To achieve this, we focus on several key strategies.
Firstly, we provide clear expectations and goals for each team member. This involves setting clear performance metrics and outlining specific objectives for each project or task. By providing clear expectations, team members are better able to take ownership of their work and understand how their contributions fit into the larger picture of the company’s success.
Secondly, we provide regular feedback and recognition for good work. We believe that regular feedback is essential for helping team members grow and develop, and for encouraging them to take ownership of their work. We make sure to provide constructive feedback that focuses on specific areas for improvement, as well as recognition for good work. By recognizing team members for their contributions, we are able to reinforce the importance of taking ownership of one’s work.
Thirdly, we provide opportunities for team members to develop their skills and take on new challenges. We believe that providing growth opportunities is essential for empowering team members to take ownership of their work and contribute to the company’s success. We provide training and development programs that allow team members to develop their skills and take on new challenges, and we encourage team members to take the initiative in pursuing new opportunities.
Overall, our focus on clear expectations, regular feedback and recognition, and growth opportunities has helped us to empower our team members to take ownership of their work and contribute to the company’s success. By creating a culture of ownership and initiative, we have been able to build a highly engaged and effective team that is passionate about delivering high-quality training programs to our clients.
What strategies do you use to attract, retain, and develop top talent within your organization?
At Knowles Training Institute, we recognize that attracting, retaining, and developing top talent is essential for achieving our business goals and delivering high-quality training programs to our clients. To achieve this, we focus on several key strategies.
Firstly, we prioritize creating a positive and inclusive company culture. We believe that a positive and inclusive culture is essential for attracting and retaining top talent, as well as for creating a highly engaged and effective team. We prioritize open communication, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and employee wellness, as discussed earlier. By creating a culture where team members feel valued and included, we are better able to attract and retain top talent.
Secondly, we offer competitive compensation and benefits packages. We believe that offering competitive compensation and benefits is essential for attracting top talent, as well as for retaining and motivating our existing team members. We regularly review and adjust our compensation packages to ensure that they remain competitive in the market, and we offer a range of benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans, and professional development opportunities.
Thirdly, we provide opportunities for growth and development. We believe that providing opportunities for growth and development is essential for retaining top talent and for creating a highly engaged and effective team. We provide training and development programs, as well as opportunities for team members to take on new challenges and responsibilities. We also offer a mentorship program and a leadership development program to help team members grow and develop their skills.
Overall, our focus on creating a positive and inclusive culture, offering competitive compensation and benefits, and providing opportunities for growth and development has helped us to attract, retain, and develop top talent within our organization. By creating a work environment where team members feel valued and supported, we have been able to build a highly engaged and effective team that is passionate about delivering high-quality training programs to our clients.
“Building a team of top talent isn’t just about attracting the best candidates, it’s about creating a culture that nurtures their growth, empowers their potential, and rewards their contributions.”
When asked about his leadership style, Suraj emphasized the importance of empowerment and inclusivity. He believes that by empowering his team members to take ownership of their work and contribute to the company’s success, he can create a positive and productive workplace culture. Suraj also highlighted the importance of adaptability and flexibility, especially in a rapidly changing industry.
Attracting and Retaining Talent:
Suraj shared several strategies for attracting and retaining top talent within his organization. He emphasized the importance of offering competitive compensation and benefits packages, providing opportunities for growth and development, and fostering a positive and inclusive workplace culture. Suraj also highlighted the importance of seeking out diverse perspectives and experiences when building his team, in order to create a well-rounded and innovative organization.
Decision-making and Problem-solving:
Suraj discussed his approach to decision-making and problem-solving in a fast-paced and competitive industry. He emphasized the importance of gathering input and feedback from multiple sources, and taking a collaborative approach to decision-making whenever possible. Suraj also highlighted the importance of being able to make decisions quickly and decisively when necessary, in order to stay ahead of the competition.
How do you approach decision-making and problem-solving as a leader in a fast-paced and competitive industry?
As a leader in a fast-paced and competitive industry, decision-making and problem-solving are crucial skills that are essential to the success of Knowles Training Institute. To approach these tasks effectively, I use a systematic and data-driven approach that incorporates input from key stakeholders and emphasizes collaboration and creativity.
One of the first steps I take when faced with a decision or problem is to gather as much data and information as possible. This includes data on market trends, customer needs, and internal operations. By gathering as much relevant information as possible, I can ensure that I have a comprehensive understanding of the issue at hand, which helps to inform my decision-making process.
Next, I prioritize collaboration and input from key stakeholders. This includes seeking input from team members, customers, industry experts, and other relevant parties. By incorporating a wide range of perspectives and insights, I can ensure that the decision or solution is well-rounded and takes into account the needs and concerns of all relevant parties.
In addition to collaboration, I also emphasize creativity and innovation in my approach to problem-solving. In a fast-paced and competitive industry, it is essential to be able to think outside of the box and develop creative solutions that set us apart from our competitors. To foster creativity and innovation, I encourage team members to share their ideas and suggestions, and I provide opportunities for experimentation and risk-taking.
Overall, my approach to decision-making and problem-solving in a fast-paced and competitive industry emphasizes collaboration, data-driven analysis, and creativity. By using this approach, we have been able to make strategic decisions and develop innovative solutions that have helped us to stay ahead of the curve in our industry.
Can you share a leadership challenge you faced and the lessons you learned from it?
One of the biggest leadership challenges I faced was managing a team through a period of significant change and uncertainty. At the time, Knowles Training Institute was expanding rapidly and undergoing a major rebranding effort, which included changing our name and logo, revamping our website, and launching new marketing campaigns. This was a challenging time for our team, as many team members were unsure of their roles and responsibilities, and there was a lot of uncertainty around what the future would hold.
One of the biggest lessons I learned from this experience was the importance of clear communication and transparency. In times of change and uncertainty, it’s essential to keep team members informed and engaged, so they understand what’s happening and why. To address this challenge, I made a concerted effort to communicate with my team on a regular basis, providing updates on the progress of the rebranding effort, and answering any questions or concerns they had. This helped to build trust and confidence among team members, which ultimately helped us to navigate the period of change more smoothly.
Another lesson I learned from this experience was the importance of flexibility and adaptability as a leader. Even with the best-laid plans, unexpected challenges and roadblocks can arise, and it’s essential to be able to pivot and adjust as needed. In our case, there were several unexpected delays and complications that arose during the rebranding effort, which required us to adjust our timelines and plans. By remaining flexible and adaptable, we were able to overcome these challenges and ultimately launch a successful rebranding effort.
Overall, this experience taught me the importance of clear communication, transparency, and flexibility as a leader. By prioritizing these qualities, I was able to help my team navigate a challenging period of change and come out stronger on the other side.
How do you keep your team motivated and engaged, especially during challenging times?
As a leader, keeping my team motivated and engaged is a top priority, especially during challenging times. One of the ways I do this is by providing clear and frequent communication. When team members understand what’s happening within the company and why it’s happening, they are more likely to feel invested in the outcome and remain motivated to see the project through to completion. This means setting clear goals and expectations and providing regular updates on progress and any changes in direction.
Another way I keep my team motivated is by recognizing their hard work and contributions. I make a point of praising team members for their accomplishments and thanking them for their efforts. Celebrating wins and milestones can help to build a sense of camaraderie and keep team members engaged and motivated. Additionally, offering opportunities for professional development and growth can also be a powerful motivator. This could include providing training and development opportunities, encouraging team members to attend conferences or industry events, or offering promotions and other opportunities for advancement.
During challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s particularly important to prioritize the well-being of team members. This means being flexible with schedules and work arrangements, providing resources and support for mental health and wellness, and checking in regularly with team members to ensure they have what they need to succeed. Additionally, fostering a culture of collaboration and teamwork can help to build resilience and motivation during difficult times. By encouraging team members to work together and support one another, we can help to create a sense of community and shared purpose that can help to keep everyone motivated and engaged.
Ultimately, keeping a team motivated and engaged requires a multi-faceted approach that prioritizes clear communication, recognition, professional development, and a supportive work culture. By investing in these areas, we can create a team that is invested in the company’s success and motivated to achieve their goals, even during challenging times.
What advice do you have for aspiring leaders looking to make an impact in their industries?
My advice for aspiring leaders looking to make an impact in their industries is to prioritize personal development and growth. This means seeking out opportunities for learning and skill-building, whether through formal education, on-the-job experience, or mentorship from experienced leaders. Additionally, it’s important to stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments and to remain curious and open to new ideas and approaches.
Another important aspect of leadership is building strong relationships with team members, colleagues, and stakeholders. This means investing in effective communication, active listening, and empathy, and taking the time to understand the needs and perspectives of those around you. Building trust and rapport with others can help to foster a sense of collaboration and shared purpose that can drive success.
It’s also important for aspiring leaders to be proactive and take initiative. This means taking ownership of projects and tasks, and being willing to go above and beyond to achieve success. It also means being adaptable and flexible, especially in fast-paced and rapidly changing industries.
Finally, I would encourage aspiring leaders to be resilient and persistent in pursuing their goals. Leadership is often challenging and requires the ability to navigate obstacles and setbacks. However, with perseverance and a growth mindset, it’s possible to overcome challenges and make a lasting impact in your industry.
In summary, my advice for aspiring leaders is to prioritize personal development and growth, build strong relationships with others, be proactive and take initiative, and remain resilient and persistent in pursuing their goals. By focusing on these areas, aspiring leaders can build the skills, knowledge, and mindset needed to make a meaningful impact in their industries.
How do you plan to continue developing your leadership skills and growing as a leader in the future?
As a leader, I believe it’s essential to continuously work on personal and professional development. My approach to continuing to develop my leadership skills and growing as a leader in the future involves a few different strategies.
Firstly, I plan to continue seeking out opportunities for learning and skill-building. This could involve attending workshops, seminars, or conferences related to leadership, management, and other relevant topics. I also plan to continue reading books, articles, and other resources that can help me to stay up-to-date on industry trends and developments.
Secondly, I plan to seek out mentorship and coaching from experienced leaders. I believe that having a mentor or coach can be invaluable in providing guidance, feedback, and support as I continue to grow and develop as a leader.
Another strategy I plan to use to continue developing my leadership skills is to seek out new challenges and opportunities for growth. This could involve taking on new projects or assignments that push me out of my comfort zone and require me to develop new skills or approaches.
Finally, I plan to continue seeking out feedback and self-reflection. I believe that being open to feedback and willing to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses as a leader can be incredibly valuable in identifying areas for growth and development.
In summary, my approach to continuing to develop my leadership skills and growing as a leader in the future involves seeking out opportunities for learning and skill-building, seeking out mentorship and coaching, seeking out new challenges and opportunities for growth, and seeking out feedback and self-reflection. By focusing on these strategies, I believe that I can continue to grow and evolve as a leader, and lead my organization to even greater success in the future.
“True leadership is not about reaching a destination, but about embarking on a journey of continuous learning, growth, and self-discovery.”
Sancy Suraj’s leadership of Knowles Training Institute has been marked by a commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and empowerment. By fostering a positive and productive workplace culture, attracting and retaining top talent, and taking a collaborative approach to decision-making, Suraj has been able to build a thriving organization that is changing the game for corporate learning. As the industry continues to evolve and grow, it will be exciting to see how Suraj continues to lead his organization forward.