Mr Aznirulhisham Mohd Hussain Sukor, the CEO/Senior Consultant of SC Creative Solutions Sdn Bhd. This in-depth interview explores Hisham’s role as an entrepreneur, he shares his business background and his training life.
Briefly tell us about your educational background and what SC Creative Solutions is about?
I graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration (BCA) degree from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. During the early part of my days I was very much interested in business so when I studied this particular course, my intention was to go into business like any other conventional businesses as I never thought training is a business on its own. I worked for about 4 years with a logistics company and after that I started to do a number of things on my own which unfortunately did not amount into anything substantial. There where various sort of businesses that I went into until eventually someone told me that I should go into training because it seemed like I have that talent but never realized it.
It actually started when I was asked to become a Master of Ceremony (EmCee) at a students’ function at the Malaysian High Commission in Wellington, New Zealand. I didn’t know I have that talent but people kept on saying that I was good at training. Later on when I seriously started going into training, I was fortunate enough to get a huge contract to train rural women throughout Malaysia on entrepreneurship. So I went around Malaysia to train these women of which there were 55 programs altogether of which each program lasted for 2 days covering all 14 states throughout Malaysia and that was considered as the launch of my long-winded career. It was sometime back in 1998.
I was basically freelancing then and was not attached to any company until later when I started my own company. It wasn’t this company, it was another company and at that time I was practically running the whole show myself even though I had a number of employees probably due to their lack of knowledge, skills and experience, it was going nowhere. So at the end of the day I had to dissolve the company. Later I spent some time and put in some money to learn more about training to gain more experience and knowledge on how to conduct training properly and professionally. It also gave me a lot of exposure because when you meet a lot of people, you don’t how they are, what they want, you just need to be prepared all the time.
We conduct all sorts of programs which are soft-skill related, meaning we don’t go into any technical training. Amongst others we cover Communication & Presentation Skills, Leadership & Teambuilding, Time, Stress & Emotional Management and all sort of soft skills of which all these are conducted either indoor or outdoor. These programs are normally conducted for the government, NGOs, Corporate Companies etc.
What is unique about SC Creative Solutions? I mean there are lots of training companies in Malaysia, what makes your company different from others?
This is how I use to answer this. Do you eat rice? Well training is similar to eating rice. It doesn’t make sense right? Now every day we eat rice in general especially in Malaysia. Think about how rice as being similar to training and learning. Even though sometimes people do get tired of eating rice and they will say they want to eat bread or something else but the staple food is still rice and they will get back to eating rice. There are many varieties of rice such as Nasi Goreng, Nasi Biryani, Nasi Arab and so on. You may say that this rice is different from that rice probably because of its flavor, the aroma, the garnishing, the way it’s cooked or whatever that differentiates this rice from that; training is the same.
We are just like any other training companies but our delivery may be different, our methodology may be different, our materials may be different as we do our best to meet the requests and demands of our clients. It is this that distinguishes us from others just like a chef that is unique to a restaurant, the same goes insofar as uniqueness of training is to our company. In short, most people don’t what to be taught but they do want to learn so we make them want to learn the way they like to learn…with lots of experiential learning seasoned up with fun, games and laughter.
What are your breakthrough strategies?
Our strategy is kind of simple in this line, we have 2 things; the first is Professionalism and the 2nd is Integrity. These 2 basic strategies put together is called ‘Walk the Talk’, which means whatever we say in front of the audience, we must be the ones who first have to practice it. For example, let say I want to talk about Time Management, I would have to be not just punctual but earlier than that so that the audience can see weather I live up to what I preach or not because they are all going to see it.
What are the strengths of your company in view of the current digital realities?
I cannot deny the fact that people can learn from YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, and others but I think it still cannot match the face-to-face interaction because I think face-to-face communication and learning is still the best. For instance when you are in love, you can talk to your lover by any means on social media but then you still have to see him or her face to face, right? Same thing with reading a book whether it’s an adventure or a love story, you will always feel the need to experience whatever you read even though it’s described and explained in great detail.
There are plenty of online courses now as well where people can learn and get their certificate through online classes, but it’s still not be the same as being in the lecture room with a lecturer. I believe that there is still a long way to go in this industry insofar as conventional training is concern. You can only imagine in a virtual world but you get to experience the actual thing in the real world. No digital experience can beat this.
What are the cardinal principles that define your establishment?
Firstly, I believe that your attitude must be right. It is ALWAYS about Attitude. Being in the training, development & consultancy line, you cannot have the wrong attitude. You must always have the right attitude and it has to be a very positive one because the audience is made up of a variety of people. For instance, let’s say I meet an audience that I personally dislike. I cannot show that right there and then. I’ve got to change my attitude, train myself to like them for the 2 or 3 days training session.
Secondly, when we are going for any form of training, we’ve got to Be Prepared and be over prepared rather than under prepared because it’s okay to be over prepared even if you don’t use some of the materials. When you are underprepared however, imagine if any of your audience were to ask you a question that you are not prepared for, how would you look like in front of them not been able to answer their question? Also it’s not just about answering the questions, it’s also about the materials that we prepare, the activities that we do and the whole package of the training. So being prepared is very important.
The third principle is Competency. By competency, it means having the command of skills related to training and not just about the subject matter alone. It’s about how you tackle your audience. When you meet new people, you need to know how to engage them and how to unlock their hearts. Once you manage to get ‘into’ them then you job will be a lot easier. It’s people or interpersonal skill that you have to master.
The last one is Discipline. Discipline is the key in training and development. You cannot do without discipline. Not just the discipline of time but also the discipline of what you wear, where you wear it, how to wear it, the discipline of the field of study or subject matter itself and basically the whole works of discipline where you carry yourself because people need to be able to see that in you. The manifestation of the Walk the Talk part which I expounded earlier and at the end of the day the most important thing is that the participants who attend the program are satisfied and you can see that in their faces. If you see smiling faces at the conclusion of the program, basically you’ve achieved probably not 100% of the objective but at least 70% and that calls for a celebration over a nice cup of hot coffee.
What are the challenges you face?
The first challenge obviously is the audience itself because in most cases when you conduct any form of training, you don’t know the audience, so the challenge is knowing them within 2 to 3 minutes at the beginning of the session. The main challenge is how to do a powerful icebreaking, you need to break the ice. Another challenge is that there are so many training and development companies, and each of them are probably as good as we are or better than we are, so you’ve got to demonstrate that we are unique and that we do cater to the clients’ needs in order to compete with them. And when you talk about challenges in the training and development industry, we are aware that many countries are currently facing economic downturn and when any country or any organization is faced with economic crisis, the first budget they will cut is the training budget. The budget that is probably being allocated earlier for training is the first to be on the chopping board because many organizations believe that training is merely an expense, we are the ones who have to make them believe that it is instead an INVESTMENT.
Having been in the industry for quite a while, we are very positive that the economy and the industry is still robust and we believe that somehow we will brave this storm as we had so many times and we will prevail.
- Company Name: SC Creative Solutions Sdn Bhd
- Office Address: No 32-1A, Jalan Putra 7, Taman Putra, 43000 Kajang Selangor Darul Ehsan.
- Website: www.sayacemerlang.com