Interview

July 11, 2024

The Future of Travel with SKIL’s Managing Director Shylender Jindal

Managing Director, SKIL Travel

Agility Meets Strategy: Shylender Jindal Shares SKIL Travel‘s Vision for Innovation and Growth

By Amrit Arora for Project Leaders Magazine

In 2001, Shylender Jindal embarked on a journey that would transform the travel landscape in India. He co-founded SKIL Travel, a company that has become synonymous with exceptional customer service and innovative solutions.

In this interview with Project Leaders Magazine, Jindal reflects on the early days of SKIL, the importance of fostering a culture of ownership and inclusivity, and the key lessons he’s learned about navigating the ever-evolving travel industry.

Project Leaders Magazine (PLM): Welcome, Mr. Jindal. In 2001 you embarked on a start-up adventure with SKIL travel. what aspects of a start-up environment did you prioritize while shaping SKIL’s early culture? How did you foster the sense of ownership and engagement among your team members?

Shylender Jindal (SJ): In the early days of SKIL Travel (founded in 2001), we prioritized building a team passionate about customer service. Our “Customer First” approach meant hiring people with a natural “always here to help” attitude. This not only created a comfortable experience for our clients but also fostered a sense of ownership and engagement within the team, who felt they played a key role in our success.

PLM: As SKIL has matured, how have you adapted your leadership style and company culture to accommodate growth while maintaining the core values that propelled your initial success?

SJ: SKIL Travel prioritizes a culture of inclusivity and open communication as we grow. We transitioned from top-down leadership to empower all team members, valuing their diverse perspectives in decision-making. This fosters a sense of ownership and fuels innovation, ensuring sustainable growth that reflects our core values.

PLM: Many start-ups struggle with work-life balance. How do you approach this challenge at SKIL travel? What initiatives have you implemented to create a sustainable and healthy work environment for your team?

SJ: SKIL Travel prioritizes well-being, not just work-life balance. We believe focused, productive work within 9 hours leads to a more fulfilling life outside the office. We educate our team on healthy habits and empower them to create a sustainable work-life balance, boosting both happiness and productivity.

PLM: Can you describe some specific ways you encourage your team to experiment and develop creative solutions within SKIL Travel?

SJ: SKIL Travel thrives on creativity! We empower our team to explore new ideas, embrace technology, and develop solutions that enhance our services. Open discussions and valuing everyone’s input fuel a dynamic and ever-evolving work environment.

PLM:  What qualities do you look for when building your team and how do you nurture the spirit of continuous learning and development within SKIL Travel?

SJ: SKIL Travel unlocks potential in everyone, prioritizing growth mindsets and a passion for learning. We provide workshops, mentorships, and real-world projects to fuel skill development and fuel innovation. By valuing continuous improvement, we build a dynamic and industry-leading team.

PLM: Decision making can be fast paced in a start-up. How do you strike a balance between agility and strategic planning at SKIL Travel?

SJ: SKIL Travel thrives by balancing agility with long-term vision. We empower fast decisions and embrace new ideas in a culture of open communication. Meanwhile, regular check-ins keep us aligned with strategic goals, ensuring our adaptability serves a clear vision. This lets us navigate the dynamic travel industry, responding to the present while progressing towards the future.

PLM: How do you ensure everyone on the team feels involved in the overall direction of the company? See today this is a constant effort to bring inclusiveness?

SJ: SKIL Travel prioritizes inclusivity in decision-making. Team members contribute through open discussions, regardless of expertise. This fosters a sense of ownership and leads to well-rounded, successful decisions that value everyone’s input.

PLM: Looking back on SKIL‘s travel journey, what are some key lessons you’ve learned about navigating the challenges and opportunities unique to the start-up world and what advice would you offer to the aspiring entrepreneurs?

SJ: Startups thrive on energy, but need a mature approach to succeed. This means:

  1. Securing and managing finances.
  2. Building and leading a strong team.
  3. Spotting and seizing timely opportunities.
  4. Cultivating an inclusive work environment.

Focusing on these elements creates a solid foundation for growth in today’s dynamic startup world.

PLM: How do you envision SKIL Travel retaining its innovative edge and adapting to new market trends? And what exciting developments do you see on the horizon for your company?

SJ: SKIL Travel thrives on constant evolution in the travel industry. We learn from customers, competitors, and trends to stay relevant and innovative. By leveraging new technologies and expanding offerings, we aim to make travel seamless and enjoyable, solidifying SKIL Travel as an industry leader.

PLM: Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience building and leading a successful start-up?

SJ: Startup success hinges on team, finances, and clients, but the most crucial ingredient is hustle. A hustler never quits, learning from both triumphs and setbacks. Success isn’t just financial; it’s about gaining knowledge. Challenges can be rich learning grounds. Our ultimate goal is to make a positive impact and turn our vision into reality.

PLM: Thank you for sharing your insights, Shylender. Building a successful travel startup like SKIL requires a unique blend of leadership and vision. What excites you most about SKIL Travel‘s future?

SJ: Thank you for having me, Project Leaders Magazine team. What excites me most about SKIL‘s future is the opportunity to continue innovating and shaping the travel experience.

SKIL Travel ‘s focus on innovation, inclusion, and learning fuels its success. MD Shylender Jindal prioritizes continuous adaptation and technology to elevate customer experiences. Built on strong values and a “hustler” spirit, SKIL Travel is poised to stay ahead of the curve.

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Make sure you check out the latest edition of Project Leaders Magazine.

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Project Leaders Magazine is a brand of Denkoit.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the interviewee in this piece are their own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Denkoit Softech Private Limited or its associated brands, groups, entities or individuals. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the content of this interview for any purpose. Any financial information mentioned by the interviewee is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice. It is recommended to consult with a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. This interview may contain copyrighted material, trademarks, or other intellectual property. You should not modify, reproduce, distribute, republish, download, store, or transmit any of this content without the express written permission of the copyright owner(s). Denkoit Softech Private Limited or its associated brands, entities, individuals or groups, shall not be held liable for any damages arising from the use of this website or its content. 
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