Get To Know Perthpal Singh Khosa, Founder and Managing Director Of Learning Edge
Perthpal is a Leadership and Culture Transformation Specialist, Keynote Speaker, Storyteller, Humorist, Host of the #ThriveTok podcast
Perthpal Singh Khosa is a Great trainer, and by his skills, he is helping organizations with their leadership development and team-building programs. In 1996/97, when Malaysia was hit with the worst economic storm, that was the time he realized to be the best whatever comes in his way. So, after Twenty years of hard work, he started doing his sessions more passionately. As a result, he has improved all skills to deliver the best in all his sessions.
His team is more committed to Asia’s best workforce involving leadership development, culture transformation, and talent development programs. The key to his organization’s success is Great leadership and a powerful vision.
As a leader, he is very influenced by how well his team operates and their results. According to him, “Every manager strives to be a good leader, but the desire is not enough. There needs to be a shift in thinking and behavior ”.
Let's learn more about Perthpal how he overcomes himself from an economic storm to a successful leader :
Perthpal, As we know, you are an all-rounder and doing a great job in Learning Edge; it's an excellent brand. We are also one of your avid readers. Before we dive deeper, tell us about yourself, your hobbies, and your professional background a little bit.
Honestly, I love spending my time at home. Despite the fact that my job requires me to travel all across the country and internationally, to meet and speak to thousands of interesting people a month, the time I look forward to the most is when I can be home with my wife, and playing with the little monkey running around the house; my daughter.
I do make it a conscious effort to run several times a week to release stress and keep fit. The pandemic has given me that flexibility to make the most out of the condominium living in, either swimming, playing squash, or running up and down the stairs. I also love my motorcycles. Anything with two wheels intrigues me. Taking the occasional scroll on my bike whilst enjoying the breeze is a feeling of freedom that only those who ride will understand.
In terms of my professional background, I have been in the human resources development business for the past 25 years. Anyone who has ever run a business will know it comes with lots of failure, hardship and some success. I take pleasure in knowing that through the power of words, the understanding of human behavior, recognizing their hot buttons, and what makes them tick, I am able to make a difference in a person’s personal or professional life.
What are your roles and responsibilities in the company?
Officially, I am the founder and managing director of the ever-growing and developing Learning Edge. My daily activities consist primarily of creating new ideas, concepts, and strategies for the growth and development of our clients with my team. We construct the appropriate framework/guidelines outlining the key features and initiatives which reinforce change and culture in organizations.
My beard is white enough for me to not only have observed the changes that time bestows upon us all, but I have also lived through it. This is why I make it a conscious effort to observe, research, and understand the new and upcoming trends before anyone else, that way we can be proactive rather than reactive. To view opportunities that are not visible to most and to take that chance and make it happen. As I always tell my team, we need to have our consultant’s goggles on all the time. The scenario might just be a fun day out with the family at an arcade, but at the back of our mind we are always asking ourselves, how can we incorporate a VR game console in our workshops and have it highlight the key values we are trying to get across to our audience.
With the age and experience gap between my team and me, I often conduct sharing and coaching sessions to help get my team to where they need to be. Among other responsibilities that I hold in this company, the one role that I take the most pride in and hold dear to my heart would be my teams' coach. Watching a person grow and become all that they can be is a beautiful and fulfilling moment. Being a part of their success and journey to self-discovery is not only a defining moment in their lives but also mine.
As we know, you are more passionate about what you do, honing and refining your craft to deliver the best in your sessions. Can you tell our readers about a time when you demonstrated leadership skills?
One instance that I would take as a demonstration of my leaderships skills would be the time we were pitching a Cultural Transformation Programme to Malaysian Airlines (MAS). Our pitch was well-received, however, a comment was passed implying that although we are good, some of our methods seemed a little outdated for their liking. With that, I went back to the office and told my team that I am determined to go back to them in four days with a new and updated version of our program by transforming the materials in such a way that it appeals to the generation and environment of the current times. With that said, a team of 4 people including myself came up with a comprehensive learner’s guide, trainer’s resources, posters, books, a learning management system with pre and post-program management capabilities and etc all in 4 days. Two sleepless nights we were all in the office together carrying our weight and responsibilities. Being a leader does not mean you delegate work to your team and expect them to do it alone. Being a leader is being there together through the tough times and the good. The way I see it is if I ask my team to run 10 kilometers, I must be able to run 21 kilometers or more.
Another instance would be the 18-month pandemic whereby I come second to the organization. So much so for the last 18 months, I have not claimed my salary as I am committed to my team and my teams' livelihood is important to not just them being able to perform well but also to me as I see them as my family. Ever since the beginning of the pandemic, I am proud to say that we have not had a single pay cut and have managed to even provide deserving staff with an increment as their skills sets had changed over the 18 months of the pandemic. When working with us, your skills and development are how we assess your capabilities, not based on the number of years you've worked.
How do you monitor the performance of the people that you have to lead?
We do away with weekly and monthly meetings as I spend a lot of time developing a mature team who is self-empowered, knows the deliverance of their Key Performing Indicators (KPI's), and only come to me when they have a problem. So everybody monitors their performance level. We also use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to track our customer interactions, store our customer and prospect data as well as use it as a platform to share our findings and information. We are a very result-driven company and because of that our teammates are all accustomed to delivering what is expected of them and are also aware of their stretch target which is anywhere between 10-20%.
What can you do to motivate a team?
Motivating a teammate is so much more than just talking to one another. It is becoming the example you want them to observe and follow. Therefore they are not merely inspired by just your word but also by your actions. One of the key principles I always use in my session is how there is a difference between image and integrity. Having a good and respectable image is important, but the image is what people think you are, integrity is who you really are even when nobody is watching. This is why setting a good example as a leader is pivotal in not just their development but also the companies development.
I admit that I have weaknesses, but it is through the acknowledgment of my flaws and vulnerabilities that I have grown. That is why I encourage my team to do the same in admitting their flaws, declaring their weaknesses as well as celebrating them. It is from each other's mistakes that we learn and develop the skills we consciously and subconsciously need. We are all human, no one is perfect and that's alright. You don't have to be perfect for someone to see your worth. Once they've done that, all they need to do is ask for help. I have always believed that if you ask, you might receive, if you don’t ask, you will never receive. I also ensure that everyone has a personal target of achieving 60 hours a year on personal learning through our learning management system. We don't just use it for our clients, we also use it for ourselves, myself included. Things are changing so quickly that the skills we acquired 5 years ago maybe irrelevant today.
I live by the saying "You are the books you read and the people you meet". Meeting different people from different backgrounds and values, reading books that challenge your thought process, personal belief system and ones that challenge the accepted norms of this society are the best ways to enhance your personal development. In line with David Epsteins' book “The Range”, he talks about how the future will be a very wicked and vicious learning environment as things are already changing at such a fast pace, that we need to be quick in our response.
As you say, "The key to an organization's success? Great leadership and a powerful vision. "Who is your favorite leader? Why?
I think one of the biggest misconceptions about leadership is that you need to learn from those who are famous or are deemed the best. But what many people don't realize is that you can learn so much more from just the person who sits 3 feet away from you at the office, your family, friends, neighbors, and so on. However, to be able to do that you must know what are the answers you are looking for. I learned from such a wide range of people like my father who taught me how to be tenacious and a good leader, my daughter who has taught me love has no bounds, my wife who has taught me that nothing in this world is permanent so learn to take a beat and smell the roses and the list goes on and on.
There is never just one leader or mentor as they come and go throughout our lives. It's how we want to view and perceive the opportunities that lay in front of us. In Buddhism, it is said that when we (students) are ready to accept knowledge, that is when a teacher will appear. When your heart, mind, and eyes are open to learning and observing new things, that's when you truly learn about leadership. If you dig deep enough, you'll realize that every leader has flaws. If you're looking for the perfect leader then I must let you know that you will never find it.
What values are most important to you as a leader?
Trust is a very common but important value to have between an employee and employer. I trust my team to have my back just as much as I have theirs as we are in this together. I firmly believe in taking ownership of your life and the circumstances that come along with whatever decision and action you make. There will always come a time when we make a mistake or even multiple mistakes and owning up to those mistakes as well as learning from them shapes us. What many people don't realize is that playing the long game will bear more fruits than playing the short one. Simply put we need to have a near vision but a far sight. We should not focus on the immediate returns but focus on the compounding interests that you would get by playing the long game. To be able to do this, you need to focus on authentic values. Focusing on the long horizon helps build credibility and integrity rather than just image. The phrase "Consistency is Key' really comes into play here.
Since you are an Author, lot of new ideas you get every time. Are You able to collaborate with others and accept new ideas?
I have been spending my time online and offline with so many writers, speakers, and CEOs to bounce ideas. I am a regular on Popcon and have been appearing on other people's podcasts to ignite the collaboration. At the moment I am currently working on 5 different books whereby I am collaborating with a few different people such as my colleague Heshwinder Oon who is also the Director of Training Solutions. There is one I am particularly excited about which is "12 Jobs in 12 Weeks" which is me trying a different job every week for 12 weeks. For example, I would like to experience the day-to-day activities of a barista and during my experience, I will be documenting my encounters with different people from different walks of life. I want to create a catalog of my experiences and the challenges that they face. Living a week in the shoes of a different person with different experiences will help me develop a better understanding of human behavior. I am also working on a book called "The Compassionate Warrior" which talks about the more philosophical aspect of things. Coming up with ideas and bouncing them around with people who are younger and different from me and might have a fresh new perspective is how I expand my thought process. We are constantly learning from each other, supporting each other, and growing together.
We are so fortunate to have you with us today as we know you are an excellent speaker, too; how did you set yourself apart from others who wanted the same job?
In all honesty, I have shaped myself through the observation and mimicking of those around me whom I admire. I try to analyze and picture their thought process, what books do they read, where do they go, who are their friends, and so on. When I was young and impressionable, I had picked up the lingo of different people. As a matter of fact, I had picked up swearing in my seminar because I was so inspired by Tom Peters's work from the early '90s. Over time I realized that there are things you want to pick and there are things you won't. That being said I have a lot of great mentors that I listen to, watch on the web, even read their books. Later over time as you start to mature, you will slowly start to bring in your personality and merge these two and therefore you become better. Self-development and knowledge are ever-present. When I've learned all that I can from one person, I move on to the next to be able to learn a new trait. Learning is an ongoing process that doesn't stop unless you do. I was always taught to be the best I could be by my father, a humble and hardworking man. His drive to provide the very best for our family has always been my inspiration to push myself above and beyond. Based on what I have learned and skills that I have honed over the years, I am continuously adapting the different ways to improve not just what our company does so that we are at the top of our game. I believe it’s because we continuously push ourselves to become better, our clients find us, and our services refreshing and new.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Well, I may not have received this advice at the time but what I wish someone would have told me years ago would be that a basic understanding and experience in business is a stepping stone to greater things. I rushed into things by leaving the business world at a young age and not gaining the experience I needed. I wish someone would have told me what I now tell everyone. Which is in the first five years of your career, work harder than anybody else, lose your sense of work-life balance, read more than anybody else, continuously volunteer to participate in projects that are challenging, put yourself in a state of discomfort, lose sleep for the first 5 years of your career and the next 25-30 years will be bountiful. This is the best time to take on challenges as it's the age to try new things and fail and pick yourself up again without the weights of commitments holding you down. Be all you can be and achieve all that you can. Chase the experience, not the money. Do that and later on in life, the money will chase you. So I would suggest that you develop yourself first and let the flow of finances come to you. Another important aspect that I wish I knew back then would be the skill of being digitally savvy. Everything is being digitalized now such as digital knowledge, digital branding, and so on.
Many youngsters aspire to be like you in their future; any advice would you give to them?
My advice would be to not choose just one person to aspire to become as people change along with our values. Have many people who can develop you and your skills in many different faculties of life. We have so many different faculties to take into accounts such as the financial faculty, mental faculty, social faculty, and multiple other faculties in our lives that make us full and one person cannot fill all these faculties on their own. In instances like this what I would suggest is to learn from the best and if you find flaws in the other person, use that as a learning example of what you should and should not be. Anybody who comes into your life is a teacher if you are willing to learn. Always humble yourself by reminding yourself that you are not the center of the God damn universe. You are just as equal as everyone else around you as there will always be someone out there better than you.
What impresses you the most when you are considering hiring someone?
When hiring someone, the one thing I look for in a person is their behavior. Someone who is driven and hungry for success but also takes their time to understand the different aspects and communication strategies of the industry is someone whom I believe will go far in life no matter what they do. Someone who is ever willing to learn and adapt to the times is pivotal in today's day and age. During our hiring process, what we look for is a glimpse of a person's behavior. As they say, past behaviors can predict future behaviors. We want to know the details and reason behind your actions which determines your behavior. We want to hire people who are who they claim to be. I believe that a job interview should be a beneficial session for both the employer and the potential employee. We both have a gap to fill and we should work together to decide if we are a perfect match for one another. This is why I never take the autocratic approach of intimidation and brandish behavior like some interviewers.
Tell us about one or two happy moments in your professional journey that always make you smile each time you think of them?
One of the moments that make me smile till today would be when I walked out on an RM760,000 job due to certain kickbacks, details of which I shall not disclose, but least to say it challenged my sense of integrity. When you are young and your pockets are empty, walking away from a job of that caliber would seem like a crazy decision, but I knew it was the right thing to do. However, what I did not expect to happen merely a week later, as I was awarded a 1.2 million ringgit job by an organization who at the time, didn’t seem like they were leaning towards my direction.
The second would be the times we secured mega projects that put us up against big-league competitors. We were tiny in comparison to those corporations. In fact, we were nobody. But that never stopped us from putting in our bids because being a small organization, we would work even harder to get that paycheck, we would be the more focused group, the one with more to lose.
Another day to remember would be the time when I spoke to 25,000 people in PWTC and delivered 5 keynote addresses in a day. It was targeted towards the youth of the nation and I felt extremely proud to be able to speak to them and provide them with a stepping stone as they step foot in the working world.
Any last words to our readers?
I find that the greatest opportunity in the next 10-15 years will be in the Asian region. We are the future and because of the pandemic, the playing field has been leveled in such a way that anybody who wants to take a piece of the action and succeed, is theirs for the taking. Based on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and their projection, we should see a growth rate of 7.5% for the year 2021 and 5.7 in 2022 compared to the earlier projections of 7.7% and 5.6 respectively. Because of that, people from different regions such as Europe and America are making their way through Asia and setting up a place of their own to penetrate our market. Malaysia being a well-developed nation and having competent people can make a name for itself with the right leadership and hard work. The ability to set up an online business just like that through the utilization of the digital technology present in today's era without the cost of the physical setup has allowed many entrepreneurs to come up in their respective businesses.
I would also say be open to trying new stuff. In fact, that's my mantra... "Try Stuff, Do Stuff." In all honesty, I do not know when I will call it quits... but it won't be anytime soon! I am continuously learning new things about myself. People intrigue me and push me to do better. I believe that there is always that little bit more to do. As you keep doing it, you'll realize that you're never really done with what you've started, as there is always room for improvement.
How to get in touch with you, Perthpal?
My main platform for connecting with different people would be through LinkedIn. I share most of my ideas, points of view, and findings on this platform as our target market is focused more on the corporate world. I am also reachable through my email which is at firstname.lastname@example.org. or contact us via our website at https://lec2u.com Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for further inquiries.