HrHub Malaysia catches up with Mr.Azman Shah Dato Aziz, the founder of Perfomance Development Consultants Sdn Bhd – A training organization that offers a complete revamp in workspace environment covering from Mental Well Being & Toughness to Organizational Development including Employee Assistant Programmes, Leadership & Management Coaching and Talent Assessments. Performance Development Consultants are proud official partners of Celemi Solution Providers – a global business simulation provider, ranked the “Top 20 Business Simulations in the World”.
Calling himself an “accidental psychotherapist”, Azman Shah didn’t think he would venture into this field. It was by pure coincidence that he heard his calling in the form of an elective class on psychotherapy at the West Virginia University, USA. His stay in the USA was for 14 years, longer than the initial 6-year plan having garnered 2 Masters, one of them being in Psychotherapy. The extension of his professional tenure was to be proven fruitful in more ways than one. Being exposed to the medical field and having worked as a psychologist and a consultant with many prominent companies led to the idea of introducing “Emotional Intelligence” to Malaysia. Azman Shah is exclusively recognized by the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) for his practices where he was invited to the USA to present a paper titled “Effective 360 Degrees Feedback Implementation Across Cultures”.
The subject of emotional intelligence has become a much talked about topic in the psychology-sphere these days. But it was this man who pioneered this subject and brought it to Malaysia in the mid 90’s when no one knew about it. “Psychology, feelings or anything that resonates with the mind and soul can be a touchy subject to people”, explains Azman Shah. Somehow, somewhere along the way it became an instant connection to one being labeled as “mentally imbalanced”. Especially in Malaysia, it can be confidently vouched for that while growing up, we’ve all heard of stories from the infamous Tanjung Rambutan. Suffice to say, it was somehow a stigma. According to Azman Shah, who is part of The Mind Faculty, the stress level among Malaysians is very high which is why stress management programmes by PDC is conducted using cognitive psychology.
Upon returning to Malaysia, Azman Shah followed his calling to develop people. Prior to returning, he has researched the market situation hence decided to establish an office in Damansara, alongside a friend. In the initial three months, a lot of hard work was invested to project their idea. They didn’t know how the market would perceive this nor if they would embrace the idea on this type of approach. Initially after speaking to a prospective client, he was told that “emotions don’t play a part in business”. Intrigued, it led them to restructure the term and Azman Shah rebranded it as “engagement”. He has since retained that client’s trust for 20 years!
PDC’s psychology aspects are harmoniously integrated into its core programmes, which focuses on Emotional Intelligence, CELEMI Business Simulation, Senior Leadership Development Program (End to End) and Teambuilding. After every consultation, programmes are tailored to suit the client’s needs. PDC’s target audience varies, from top leaders to c-suite executives, locally such as Malakoff, Perodua, MRCB and banking clients. The organization is currently reviving Employee Assistant Program (EAP) which gives employees practical support and advice they needed to be able to deal with work and other related issues quickly and effectively. PDC also incorporates the CELEMI Business Solution, a method that has been proven to be very effective with a positive ROI. “Because what good is an education and investment without achieving results and applying them!” Azman Shah explains. With a motto that says “Merging Minds, Developing People”, he was certain to do so and has continuously done it in order to see the progress and results in the individuals and organizations that he has worked with. Keeping abreast on the current topics, refreshing teaching methods and continuous self-improvement are crucial for any professional trainer.
On thoughts of the current HR and training industry in Malaysia, Azman Shah states that it has seen some changes. A scandal overshadowed the government’s efforts to propel and develop programmes for the nation. As Azman believes that one shouldn’t stinge on education, he wasn’t one to shortcut his way nor shortchange his clients. He implemented the use of “gamification and simulations”. “Life Script” for example, are all part of the assessment tools created within the programme to train people. Azman Shah understands the human behavior and knows that sometimes, society tends to place themselves in a comfort zone rather than exceeding beyond their laurels. He has seen that throughout the years, the level of sophistication of the participants has risen, bringing with them capabilities that can be further enhanced. And with the reskilling and training programmes offered, employers and employees alike would overcome mismatched careers. Azman Shah had also addressed the importance of employee engagement as a speaker at The Bahrain Society for Training & Development (BSTD) Annual HRD International Conference in Bahrain.
For all the employers and employees in Malaysia, Azman Shah of Performance Development Consultants stresses that training is worth investing for the better economy. Never underestimate the potential talent that lies inside a person because an employee is more likely to be retained in a company and in return loyalty will be shown because of this growth. In two syllables, he encapsulates his last thoughts, “It works”. And it shows.