There is an almost imperceptible shifting in the sands across India’s business landscape, with multiple factors at play. To name but a few, these are the ripple effects of a once-in-a-generation pandemic, the existential threat of climate change, socio-economic and geopolitical strife roiling societies and economies, and severe inflationary pressures in some quarters. Together, these driving forces are reshaping the perspectives of India Inc.’s leaders and rewriting the playbook for corporate success in the 21st century.
And yet, where uncertainty looms large, there are opportunities to be unearthed too. Industries and sectors that might have previously flown under the radar now start to grab the spotlight, offering growth opportunities for savvy leaders and organisations to sow best-laid plans for the future, and reap the rewards of this foresight. Indeed, even as a slowdown has hamstrung economies the world over, the India growth story remains strong, with the country on track to become the world’s third largest economy by 2027, surpassing Japan and Germany.India is already the fastest-growing economy in the world, having clocked 5.5% average GDP growth over the past decade. IN particular, three megatrends—global offshoring, digitalisation, and energy transition—are setting the scene for unprecedented economic growth in the country of more than 1 billion people.
Inevitably, the eyes of industries and organisations the world over then turn to India as a once-in-a-generation opportunity starts to take shape.
It goes without saying that charting a course to a higher growth trajectory needs a skilled captain at the helm. One who ensures the tailwinds in play are fully leveraged, while course correcting or adjusting for environmental anomalies, as the case may be. In high-growth or lean periods, the criticality of strong leadership cannot be underestimated or stated strongly enough.
This is where the importance of the C-suite comes to the fore. Modern leaders have a critical role to play in co-creating meaningful value with and for all stakeholders and society, creating a win-win situation that ensures growth is sustainable and inclusive, leaving no one behind. The many hats a modern leader must wear - that of a visionary, a growth architect, a coach, or a catalyst - make them a critical driving force for good.
Studies reveal that the C-suite’s moves account for as much as 45% of a company’s performance, but scaling the leadership summit can often be a Herculean, thankless task. Just three in five newly appointed CEOs live up to performance expectations in their first 18 months on the job, perhaps a consequence of the high standards and widespread expectations of a swathe of stakeholders ranging from directors, shareholders, customers, society, and employees. This brings every move that the leader makes under intense scrutiny, something that can make or break the organisational, industrial, or social fabric.
In this changing milieu, a cross-section of leaders from across India’scorridors of power have stepped up and revised not just their organisational priorities, but also their organisational purpose. In a period of rapid change and glorious uncertainty, the Business Icons of India have provided a sense of direction, as the most influential voices of industry shaping a new wave of growth. Rather than being confined by traditional styles of leadership, these trailblazers have unlocked value by being in service of diverse stakeholders, acting as a strategic, cognitive, and emotional bellwether for their flock.
These are the leaders that embody an altogether new vanguard, demonstrating not just a commitment to growth, but also empathy, compassion, collaboration, innovation, and a holistic self-awareness that has served them well. The achievements of the Business Icons of India are commendable, and fundamental to the accomplishment of greater objectives for the greater good. We believe that their feats will serve as markers for what companies need to do to confidently navigate towards, and conquer, the next frontier of growth.
This unique initiative has been shaped by insights gleaned from an industry-wide consumer study conducted by LeadCap Ventures, with brands appraised on the following parameters: