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Name: Anoop Suri
Title: Executive Director
Organisation: Leminscate Hospitality Initiative
A versatile professional with extensive experience driving revenues, profit, workflow, and business growth objectives across various industries (Hospitality, Tourism, Education, and Non-Profit) in diverse geographical locations and workforces. Well-versed in general, business, sales & marketing, and customer relationship management. A track record of leading training and development programs for executives and managers focused on general management, business, travel & tourism, Hospitality, Revenue, and customer management for over a decade. Proficient in developing and implementing effective policies, service standards, operational policies, and control measures to reduce costs and capacity building of the organizations. Demonstrated ability to accomplish projects while complying with budget and time constraints. Proven expertise in:
• Training & Development
• Business Development/Customer Liaison
• Operations & Project Management
• Strategy Planning & Budgeting
• General Management
• Social Media & Online Marketing
• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultation
• Leadership Development
• Hospitality & Business Education
• Resources Utilisation & Deployment
• Policy Development & Implementation
• Academic Guidelines and SOP Implementation
• Facilities and Logistics Management
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Navigating global teams with diverse backgrounds has been a significant leadership challenge for me. While it offered valuable perspectives, it also demanded attention and expertise. Cultural differences often led to disputes and misunderstandings, requiring me to listen patiently and appreciate diverse viewpoints. By fostering open dialogue, I aimed to create an inclusive environment where ideas and opinions could be freely shared.
Building teams that embraced diversity, equity, and inclusion was another hurdle. Convincing stakeholders of their significance required various explanations. I emphasized the positive impact of diverse teams on innovation and problem-solving, highlighting the benefits of multiple perspectives. Creating an inclusive environment where every individual felt valued and contributed their unique strengths was crucial.
As a leader, I recognized my role in fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Leading by example, I embraced different perspectives and encouraged others to do the same. Through tangible results and a culture of respect, I aimed to create teams that worked collectively towards shared goals.
Working with diverse global teams was challenging, yet I viewed it as an opportunity for growth. By consistently advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion, I created an empowering work environment that promoted collaboration and brought out the best in each team member.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Becoming a leader is not something inherent; it requires continuous learning and an ability to understand and meet the needs of the team. Gaining acceptance from team members is vital for successful leadership, which necessitates the development of listening, understanding, and critical thinking skills. The mere designation does not make one a leader; true leadership entails working collaboratively with the team and creating a safe environment where mutual respect and belief in the leader thrive.
Working with diverse teams and in many international locations has given me the priceless opportunity to gain and impart information. Through these encounters, I have learned the value of empathy and compassion in corporate leadership. Along with other characteristics, these attributes have been fundamental to both my professional and personal lives, which has aided me in developing into a strong leader.
Leaders are in charge of guiding, coaching, and offering chances for professional growth through training and skill development to their employees. This dedication to the team's growth is essential for developing a cohesive and effective entity.
My development as a leader has been influenced by a combination of academic success and significant job experience spanning more than three decades. In addition to numerous fellowships and certificates in the hospitality sector, I have pursued a variety of educational initiatives. I'm currently working toward a Master's in Business Administration to expand my education and develop my abilities.
I have held important positions throughout my career, both in business and as an advisor and honorary member of many organizations. These positions have given me insightful perspectives and helped me develop as a leader. Along with my commercial activities, I have held executive director and international consultant positions in the field of health cooperation.
I've been able to gain a thorough understanding of the industry and hone crucial leadership abilities thanks to a combination of lifelong learning, real-world experience, and a sincere enthusiasm for leadership. I have developed into a leader capable of navigating the intricacies and challenges of the corporate landscape by consistently improving my knowledge and actively participating in a variety of professional responsibilities.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As a management leader responsible for overseeing multiple teams and operations with a significant number of employees, my workdays are structured to ensure efficiency, productivity, and effective management. From waking up to going to sleep, my schedule revolves around balancing strategic planning, team collaboration, and operational execution.
My day typically begins with an early morning routine to prepare myself mentally and physically. This includes activities like exercise, meditation, and reviewing my priorities for the day ahead. Afterward, I allocate time to catch up on industry news, read relevant articles, and stay updated with market trends.
Once I arrive at the workplace, I prioritize communication with my management teams. This involves discussing the goals, targets, and objectives for the day, ensuring alignment and clarity across all units. I also take this opportunity to address any immediate concerns or challenges and provide necessary guidance and support.
Throughout the day, I allocate time for strategic planning and analysis. This involves reviewing performance metrics, analyzing market data, and identifying areas for improvement. I collaborate with my teams to develop action plans, set targets, and implement strategies that drive growth and enhance operational efficiency.
Additionally, I allocate time for meetings, both with internal teams and external stakeholders. These meetings serve as platforms for sharing updates, gathering feedback, and aligning efforts toward common goals. I also utilize this time to provide mentorship and support to my team members, ensuring their professional growth and development.
In managing multiple units and a large workforce, I prioritize regular check-ins, visits to the units and communication with my team leads. This allows me to stay informed about ongoing projects, address any issues, and provide timely guidance and support where needed.
As the day comes to a close, I dedicate time to review progress made, assess accomplishments, and prepare for the following day. This includes reviewing reports, identifying areas of success and improvement, and ensuring that any pending tasks are addressed promptly.
Last but not least, I make it a point to unplug as soon as my workday is finished and spend time with my loved ones engaging in activities that will help me unwind and recharge. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial if you want to stay motivated, focused, and generally content. I make time for intimate relationships and self-care so that I can wake up feeling rejuvenated and prepared to take on the difficulties of the day.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A recent leadership lesson that I have been reminded of is the importance of learning from my team and actively listening to their insights and experiences. One instance where this lesson truly resonated with me was when I had the opportunity to learn from an operations employee in our Hospitality Management company.
During a routine team meeting, one of our operations employees shared a suggestion to improve the efficiency of our check-in process for guests. Initially, I had assumed that our existing procedures were effective, but I decided to genuinely listen and consider their perspective. This employee had firsthand experience interacting with guests and identified a potential bottleneck in our current system.
I took the time to engage in a deeper conversation with the employee, asking for more details and understanding their proposed solution. It became evident that their suggestion had merit and could significantly streamline our check-in process, leading to enhanced guest satisfaction and operational efficiency.
The experience reminded me that good insights can emerge from any level of the company. It emphasized the necessity of fostering an environment in which team members may freely share their ideas and perspectives without fear of being judged or dismissed. It is my obligation as a leader to actively seek out and listen to the varied viewpoints of my team.
The lesson emphasized the importance of humility and open-mindedness in leadership. I was able to generate a positive change inside our organization by adopting a learning attitude and respecting the efforts of every team member. It reinforced the idea that effective leadership does not need to have all the answers, but rather establish a culture of cooperation in which everyone's unique perspectives are appreciated and integrated into decision-making processes.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't" by Simon Sinek has had a profound impact on my leadership. This book fundamentally changed my understanding of what it means to be a leader. Sinek explores the science behind effective leadership and team performance, emphasizing the significance of empathy, trust, and a shared sense of purpose within organizations. The central idea that resonated with me was the concept of prioritizing people and creating an environment where they feel safe and supported.
Reading this book prompted deep reflection on my own experiences in the industry at various levels. It highlighted a stark distinction between mere management, focused on resources and the status quo, and true leadership, centered around people and challenging the status quo. The book taught me that as a leader, my primary responsibility is to care for and nurture my team members. By prioritizing their well-being and growth, they become more engaged, committed, and driven to achieve excellence. Sinek's emphasis on empathy and cultivating a culture of trust is deeply aligned with my own beliefs and experiences.
I was particularly captivated by Sinek's use of storytelling throughout the book, which brought his concepts to life in relatable ways. Through vivid narratives, he demonstrated how organizations break down when individuals are undervalued, emphasizing the critical role of leadership in fostering a cohesive and high-performing team. "Leaders Eat Last" challenged and reshaped my perspective on leadership, emphasizing that it is ultimately about people, not just tasks or resources.
It reinforced the vital role of empathy, trust, and purpose in inspiring and mobilizing teams toward success. This book continues to influence my leadership approach, driving me to prioritize the well-being of my team members and create an environment where everyone feels valued and supported. In fact, it even impacted me as far as motivating me to reflect on my experiences and gather them in my book, "Compassionate Management." As "Leaders Eat Last" influenced me, I wanted the same for rising leaders thus I have made the book accessible for growing readers on platforms like Kindle Unlimited.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
If I could offer just one piece of advice to a young leader, it would be to prioritize compassion, empathy, understanding, and the ability to actively listen. While gaining qualifications and experience are important, developing these interpersonal skills is equally crucial for effective leadership. Being compassionate and empathetic allows leaders to connect with their team members on a deeper level, fostering trust, collaboration, and a positive work environment.
Understanding the needs and perspectives of others helps leaders make informed decisions and create a sense of belonging within the team. Being a good listener enables leaders to gather valuable insights, ideas, and feedback from their team members. It demonstrates respect and empowers individuals to contribute their unique perspectives, fostering innovation and growth. Additionally, I would emphasize the importance of continuous learning and personal development. Leaders should embrace a mindset of lifelong learning, seeking new knowledge, and staying open to growth opportunities.
This allows them to adapt to evolving circumstances, expand their leadership capabilities, and inspire others through their own commitment to self-improvement. Lastly, I would stress the significance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in teams. Encouraging a diverse range of voices and perspectives promotes creativity, innovation, and better decision-making. Leaders must prioritize creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best.
I further explore and reflect on these principles in my book "Compassionate Management". It delves into the importance of compassion in leadership, providing practical insights and guidance for cultivating a compassionate management style. Remember, leadership is not just about technical expertise and experience; it is about fostering meaningful connections, continuously learning and growing, and embracing diversity and compassion as catalysts for success.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
During my time as a general manager in a large 5-star hotel in India, I encountered a significant challenge that required me to strike a delicate balance between top management and the workforce. It involved negotiating with employee unions to achieve workman settlements that would be fair and satisfactory to all parties involved. The situation arose when the company needed to implement certain changes to ensure its long-term sustainability. These changes, however, had the potential to disrupt the existing work dynamics and employee benefits, leading to concerns and dissatisfaction among the workforce.
Recognizing the importance of open communication and involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process, I initiated a series of discussions and meetings. I brought together representatives from top management, employee unions, and key employees to ensure their voices were heard and considered. During these sessions, I encouraged everyone to express their concerns, needs, and aspirations. It was essential to create an environment where individuals felt safe to voice their opinions and actively participate in the decision-making process. I listened attentively, demonstrating empathy and understanding to build trust and foster open dialogue. Through these discussions, I gained insights into the concerns and challenges faced by both sides.
It became apparent that finding a solution that would benefit the company's long-term goals while safeguarding the interests of the workforce was critical. To achieve consensus, I facilitated constructive negotiations, focusing on finding common ground and mutually beneficial compromises. I sought innovative solutions that addressed the needs of both the company and the employees, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and maintaining a harmonious work environment. The process was not without its difficulties. It required patience, diplomacy, and the ability to bridge gaps between different perspectives. I encouraged everyone involved to put aside personal agendas and prioritize the collective success of the company.
After numerous meetings and discussions, we reached a workman settlement that was acceptable to both the management and the employee unions. It addressed the concerns raised by the workforce while also ensuring the company's viability and competitiveness. This meaningful story from my leadership experience taught me the value of inclusive decision-making and the power of collaboration. By actively involving all stakeholders and fostering a culture of open communication, we were able to find a solution that respected the needs and aspirations of both the workforce and the company. Ultimately, this experience reinforced the importance of seeking win-win outcomes and considering the interests of all parties involved. It demonstrated the significance of empathy, diplomacy, and consensus-building an effective leadership, and it reinforced my commitment to finding solutions that create a positive impact for everyone involved.