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7 Questions with Hansa Raghav
7 Questions with Hansa Raghav
Name: Hansa Raghav
Current title: Founder & CEO
Current organisation: http://www.hanzlearningsolutions.com/
My name is Hansa and I’ve been a training leader in the corporate world managing over 10 years and absolutely loved doing that role and have been working in leadership and communication training. I have delivered training for thousands of corporations across the globe. I have been a speaker for a management program from the University of Wisconsin training program 'Six Conversations Management Training Program'.
For the past decade. I have worked with training managers, leaders and employees, for some of the biggest companies in the world. In my corporate career, I have had the opportunity to manage over 16 trainers and work with various businesses to identify the training requirements and create training plans and customise their business requirements.
I have a Master's in Finance along with a HR Leadership and Management certification program from Cornell University. Hence, I have both the qualifications and training background to help provide highly impactful and productive courses and effective training programs. I also own a training business and learning Solutions which will have customized training programs, built in for requirements of companies, individuals and students to ensure that they have what it takes to do well and succeed in their careers.
I am certified in over 25 leadership training programs from fortune 500 companies and have won awards such as ‘Manager Excellence Award. I transitioned into the business world with my own company, Hanz Learning Solutions, last year. It has given me the opportunity to create and customize all my learnings into leadership and communication programs.
My company's mission is to provide and understand the training requirements for my learners and corporations but also at the same time provide training for nonprofit organizations to do our bit in helping the future generations to have an opportunity to have the best training facilities. Personally, training opportunities have changed my life completely and helped me build a successful career and I feel it's my time to give back.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium ente1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
I think one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced since starting my training business has definitely been the marketing and promotion side of it. Even though the internet has made it so easy to gain access to thousands of people instantly through social media, I have always been about trying to promote it more personally.
However, working with a PR Company or a marketing company to handle promoting my training would be the easy option. But besides that, I also want to focus on getting organic leads. I want to be able to interact with my customers and potential clients directly. It's important to understand on a one-to-one basis, what are the problems or opportunities in training that they need assistance with. It gives them confidence and trust to actually want to work with us.
It's important to understand exactly those pain points that customers are facing to be able to provide them the right service. The loyal customers who keep coming back to take your training, can provide you with more in-depth details. So I think that has been a challenge for me to balance my direct interaction time because for the person heading the organization.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I think my transition actually took place after having my baby and I just wanted to take some time off from work. Then the pandemic hit and things definitely changed. It then hit me that instead of again getting back to working, my husband suggested I should start my own training business. I did have over 10 years of leadership and communication training and management experience. I have also done so many leadership training programs, which has given me a vast knowledge and experience that I felt I wanted to share. So this was the right time to transition into the business world. My other ambition, for wanting to start a training company is I want to work with nonprofits. And my vision is going to be to partner up with them and make a difference.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The biggest lesson I have learnt is that failure is actually a stepping stone to success. It makes you more resilient and fierce, it pushes you from your comfort zone to try again and work harder to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Everyone has their story of how they failed, and what they did to try to pick themselves up and move forward. I have taken a lot of risks in my career, taking a break and then transitioning to business. Even though I am starting from scratch, I can't wait to see where the road will take me. However, I have learnt that it's okay to be fearful, scared and just demotivated at times. But I remind myself to look in the mirror and say, ‘I can do this’.
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?
I think the book that has impacted my life, the most and has changed the way I think about leadership has been Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Primarily, because it was the first leadership book that made me realize that you can actually apply all the leadership learnings in the book even to your personal life. He teaches leadership from a very common man perspective. His methods have really impacted my own style of training and working. One of the examples is the TIme Management Matrix of four quadrants that he explains to apply to your work. It has literally transformed the way I work and address people.
His books also highlight that the people element is the most important aspect of being a leader. You need to see your teams and the people you work with as people first and not labels. We get so wrapped up in the world of data and numbers and measuring how someone is doing, we often forget that they are people and that it's ok to not do well sometimes, or make mistakes.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
I think the only way to build leadership capacity in any organization. Be it small or big, it is to be transparent and to be somebody who represents being a good role model. You need to be a people’s person and be able to really care about the people you work with. This builds integrity and transparency and an organizational structure can be built on that.
The truth is that people are very observant and people watch to see how the leaders carry themselves. What is the organization culture and if they are living up to the expectations of what has been set. That truly builds a successful organization.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
I remember I was in the midst of setting up my training business with a number of endless things to do. Then I realised that I might have a lot of experience in the corporate world but the business world is a totally different ball game. There's various aspects to it and I decided to work with a business coach. I went through a few of them, and finally settled on one that I felt most comfortable with her content and work, Sarah Cordiner. It was fantastic to get her insights and her experiences of running a multi-million dollar business on her own and she is extremely honest and provided me with a lot of content that definitely made things really easy to set up my company.
Sometimes we all feel a little lost and overwhelmed and in those moments I think it's very important to realise that asking for help is not an option, it should be done. It helps you become more confident and gives you additional tools and skills from leaders who have been in the business for a long time and exactly how to run it.