Corporate Review

Sundara Rajan: Co-founder & Director, Thomas Assessments Pvt. Ltd.

20 Best Performing Business Leaders 2020 Interviews
SUNDARA RAJAN Co-founder & Director Thomas Assessments Pvt. Ltd.

“Each product and process created out of challenges given to us has helped us to grow and become stronger, consistently over the years.”- Sundara Rajan, Thomas Assessments Pvt. Ltd.

He has been there since day one, unlock­ing and inspiring the team’s potential to do extraordinary things.

As Thomas Assessments Pvt. Ltd. chases to hit its next milestones, we tried to bring light to the orga­nization’s nucleus, the astute lead­ership of a man who is leading the pack, Mr Sundara Rajan.

He is the Co-founder & Director of Thomas Assessments Pvt. Ltd., a leading people manage­ment and assessment frontrunner that gave the world psychometric tools to assess people 23 years back, a rare product for businesses in India at that time.

With its unique approach, Thomas Assess­ments created a market for these tools in India and neighbouring countries by sharing the knowledge and applications for providing deep people insights to predict and drive workforce performance, openly with Indian managers.

Over the years Thomas Assessments became a trusted name among Indian corporation(s) and have created numerous unique people assess­ment processes and HR Consulting tools & solu­tions in the process, particularly for India and the South Asian region.

We engaged with the leader himself who shared the journey of becoming the leader of his people. Here are the edited excerpts…

What does it take to be a business leader?

It a recipe of ability to see beyond the immediate future, visualising the goal and Acting resolutely, while constantly energising and engaging the team to achieve the goals.

These are the essen­tial characteristics every business leader requires to achieve success.

Almost all of them go through testing times in terms of lack of resources, includ­ing, challenges from the competitors and regula­tory environments, along with the usual challenges of running a business.

What do you do to mentor the indi­viduals on your team?

I encourage interactive discussions among the key team members on the future or new ideas or new processes that are thrown up by the team. As a team, we learnt over the years that creative ideas and solutions can spring from anyone.

Over the years I have also learnt that the adage “If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together” is true.

So, at any point in time, we have individuals driving rapid prototyp­ing projects and teams that are working on bigger, complex projects.

The communication lines in the company have been kept open across the organisation all the time.

This has helped younger talent to reach and ask for support and vice versa of reverse mentoring in some cases.

We have adapted the culture of fearless experi­mentation. Here, people try different ideas, some of which lead to minor failures.

Those driving these experiments reach out for help when needed.

Driving Strategic Business Changes

We maintain a constant watch on the changes across the globe on new ideas in People Manage­ment, HR Technology and Processes.

We endeav­our to absorb the knowledge from many sources and integrate them into relevant and innovative solutions in our consulting practice in appropriate situations.

Technology has impacted the assessment industry the most and we have made several changes over the last two decades impacting the way we serve our customers.

Also Read: Arun Bhutani: living with a mission mind-set to create a future-ready workforce

Revolutionizing as a leader

There are two critical aspects which I am involved deeply –

  • Selection of the right people into the team
  • Capital and resource allocation for new ideas

Among these two, selection of the right person is the more important one, as the right people can take an organisation forward at a rapid pace and build the platform for future growth.


Values demonstrating as a leader

  • Focus on Value Creation
  • Encourage experimentation and calculated risk-taking by managers
  • Keep the customer as the focal point of the business

Can you tell us about any habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?

I maintain a pre-office routine and a post-office routine that helps in reasonably compartmentalis­ing the personal life from official work, even though as entrepreneurs, it is very rare that you switch completely off work.

In the office, I use to-do lists that help me to be on top of the urgent and important. Otherwise, every day is different and hence I remain flexible and do not plan beyond a point.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?

  • Trust Yourself
  • Watch your cash
  • If you have made a mistake, accept it and cut the losses fast

What is the one behaviour or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?

Ambition without ethics

What are your future plans?

To help people succeed

What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?

Read, Watch and listen to other leaders and academic experts as much as I can

What sort of leader would your team say that you are?

Demanding, but always helpful!

What has been the best moments in your entrepreneurial life?

To have been recognised by our clients for the value we brought to their business


  • WHEN I FACE A BIG CHALLENGE, I… think and then take them head-on
  • THE MOST COURAGEOUS THING I’VE EVER DONE AS A BUSINESS LEADER IS… to take a personal hit to protect the team’s future
  • MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL/ RESOURCE/BOOK/PODCAST IS… the book – In search of Excellence
  • IN MY FREE TIME, I LIKE TO … read, and watch movies

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