ISA CEO Conference: Pace of internal change has to match outside change: Harsh Mariwala

Harsh Mariwala, Chairman of Marico, delivered a comprehensive talk on how leaders must take on the challenges of the Interconnectedness Paradox at the ISA CEO Conference.

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 19, 2019 8:21 AM
Harsh Mariwala Marico

At the ISA CEO Conference held in Mumbai on Monday, Harsh Mariwala, Chairman of Marico, shared a few words of wisdom about staying relevant in the current disruptive market ecosystem that is shaping industries today. 

Citing the example of Kodak which was the leading destination to buy cameras and print photographs suddenly losing its relevance as a deluge of smartphones armed with top of the line cameras hit the market he said, “We are in the midst of certain discontinuities that will accelerate over the next few years.” Mariwala further added the long term impact of technology on each and every business is going to be huge, he quoted - “The impact of technology is overestimated in the short-term and underestimated in the long term.”

In the current complex, volatile and uncertain marketplace the rules and ways to win have changed so “the job of CEOs if going to change dramatically.” Noting that this dynamic ecosystem can be viewed both as an opportunity and a challenge he said that it is better analysed through the lens of ‘opportunity.’

“The pace of internal change has to match outside change,” he said. “As an organisation we need to invest in new technologies and processes ahead of the curve,” Mariwala said that there should be a team of futurists who are focussed on preparing for the future. “These futurists should be exclusively working on concepts like e-commerce, digital marketing.”

He said that the youth which is part of the change should be put in charge of preparing for the future. “The role of the top management is also very important,” he said. “The change has to be led by the top, but the biggest challenge is that it has to filter down to the whole team.” Mariwala, who believes that the success of Marico stems from its culture and the talent said that a culture of innovation needs to be created in the organisation to grapple with the scale and extent of disruption that is facing businesses. “To inculcate a culture of innovation you need to create an environment that encourages risk-taking and failures.” 

Speaking about connecting with millennial consumers and addressing their requirements, Mariwala said that the job of the marketer has to move from “branding to bonding” to win the love of millennials. 

He said that business models are changing in the way that segmentation of markets has become prolific across markets. Citing the examples of how the gym and fitness business has been broken down into spaces that are meant purely for cycling, kick-boxing, aerobics for millennials, he said, “it is important to understand this segment of consumers and follow the global trends that are emerging in other countries and prepare for these trends to take shape in India.” 

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