Post-Covid economic revival calls for transformative leaders

The year 2020 has been the year of COVID-19  pandemic that has not only impacted the business landscape all over the globe but also drastically impacted how businesses function and sustain. With many businesses shutting shop and others laying off their employees, the Indian and global economy has been hit hard. 

The Indian economy has witnessed a constant dip as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also slashed India’s GDP growth forecast to -10.3% for this fiscal. This is significantly lower than what the IMF had predicted in June, i.e. 4.5%. 

As per the report titled, ‘A Long and Difficult Ascent’ prepared by the IMF, for the world as a whole, the growth is projected at -4.4% in 2020. 

Areas affected most by COVID-19 pandemic 

The strict regulations and limitations enforced as preventive measures during the pandemic has affected several industries including aviation and tourism, automotive, construction and real estate, etc.

Organisations can hasten recovery with the right transformative measures

Once you have acknowledged the need to change your business and identified the areas that need your attention and focus, you can begin to work on the same by preparing for transformation and taking resolute action. 

Identifying areas of low cost investment but high impact

  • Identify the pain points: You must acknowledge the need for implementing transformatory measures for your organization and identify the pain points of your organization. Focus on areas that need your attention and time, be it shifting within the market, exploring new technologies, understanding low profit and turnover, etc.
  • Communicate with your leadership: Once you have identified the strategic steps that you need to take, you must communicate the same to your leadership and devise an effective strategy and communication channel to implement the same successfully. 
  • Seek support from your board members: Seek support from your board members and promoters and build a strong, diverse team to lead the change. 

Creating a roadmap for change

  • Develop a transformation vision: Preparing for transformation can be a tedious process. You would need the support and inputs of employees at different levels for developing the transformation agenda. After you receive everyone’s inputs, you may want to develop a transformation vision that will give a clear picture to each stakeholder about the mission and vision of the company and finalize the same. 
  • Determine the transformation agenda and set goals: Determine the transformation agenda, decide what needs to change, identify the big moves and quick wins, and recognize the opportunities for future growth. Once you have taken all these things into consideration, you can assess the readiness of your stakeholders and employees for change and set clear long-term goals. 

Prepare for implementation

  • Set realistic goals and mentor your team:Taking resolute action means setting realistic expectations of the growth of your organization, reviewing its progress, introducing changes, and staying committed to your goals. As a leader, you must communicate and mentor those around you, actively seek feedback from them, and work towards change. 
  • Build trust: By sharing key accomplishments and proactively recognizing and rewarding wins and people behind them will help you build trust within the team. Finally, you can share these changes with your customers and make them aware of the value created for them. 

There have been several instances of leaders who have stood strong in the face of crisis and handled them using their expertise and skills. Some of those transformational leaders include- 

  1. Warren Buffett 

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. effectively dealt with the 2008 crisis. By helping rescue companies like Goldman Sachs Group and General Electric Co. during the crisis, Berkshire’s investments in September and October 2008 exceeded $15 billion. 

According to Buffett, “One of the lessons of the 2008-09 experience… was the fact that every company in the United States was a domino, and those dominoes were placed right next to each other. So when they started toppling, everything was in line.”

A clear long-term vision, strategic planning, and decision making helped Buffett make decisions which worked in his favour. Buffett has admitted that his strategy is to “be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful”.

  1. Reed Hastings

Founded in 1997, Netflix was only about rental-by-mail. But, its CEO, Reed Hastings had a bigger vision for the company – to make Netflix the leading company in streaming services. 

At the height of the economic crisis in 2009, Netflix was one of the companies that saw its earnings jump to 24% and its subscriptions reach over 9 million. Additionally, Netflix shares had increased over 57% the previous year. 

Understanding the importance of home entertainment for its customers, Netflix launched the perfect product at an ideal price. By providing its users with streaming services, allowing them to access a range of content from the comfort of their homes, Netflix tackled the crisis by understanding the needs and demands of its customers. 

Moreover, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to stay indoors more, there has been an exponential growth in the demand for streaming services.

Reed Hastings’ long term vision for the company and his commitment to make Netflix the leading streaming service is what helped the company achieve new heights. 

  1. Howard D. Schultz

Howard D. Schultz had returned as the CEO of Starbucks after a gap of eight years in 2008, replacing Jim Donald. Amidst an economic crisis, where the company was facing competition from McDonald’s in 2008, Schultz decided that “The company must shift its focus away from bureaucracy and back to customers.”

By launching the “My Starbucks Idea” campaign in the midst of an economic crisis in 2008, Starbucks encouraged its customers to share what they wanted from the company and how the company could provide a better experience to its customers.

With an increased social media presence, Starbucks became a brand committed to its customers and built a successful fan-base for itself. It was Howard D. Schultz’s customer-centric approach that helped the company gain popularity along with the trust of its customers.

Traits of transformational leaders

Every transformational leader possesses certain unique characteristics and traits that sets him/her apart from the others. Such leaders exhibit confidence and stand strong in the face of crisis, without letting their teams and organizations get demotivated with frequent setbacks. A few prominent traits of such leaders include-

  • Learning: A prominent trait of transformational leaders is learning. Such leaders keep a firm eye on KPIs, seek constant feedback and are lifelong learners. 
  • Championing: Transformational leaders champion large scale or high impact changes in the organization. They are risk-takers who drive the organization towards success and change. 
  • Communication: Effective communication is an essential trait of transformational leaders. They communicate effectively about the organization’s focus areas to all stakeholders. Such leaders ensure that there are no communication gaps in the organization and avoid miscommunication. 
  • Decision-Making: Efficient leaders influence and make decisions that have a large organizational impact. They ensure that decisions impacting the organization and its employees are taken with careful deliberation and planning. 
  • Building Trust: Transformational leaders build trust through their own character, competence and personal conduct. 
  • Coaching: Transformational leaders coach and mentor other leaders to unlock their potential and become successful. 
  • Representation: They represent the organization to the outside world.
  • Empowerment: A strong leadership delegates, empowers and inspires other leaders and managers. They ensure that they not only empower themselves but also all those in their team and together achieve success. 
  • Strategic Direction: Transformational leaders provide vision and direction to the organization’s strategy and pave the road map for the organization to set achievable goals for the organization, its employees, and themselves. This reflects their skillful and critical thinking. 

According to the famous motivational speaker, Brian Tracy, “The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis.” The way leaders act in a crisis and lead their team, determines their true potential. A successful leader is one who makes skillful decisions and takes the team along with him/her.

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About BOD Consulting Team

BOD Consulting is a strategy and design consulting partner for those who lead into the future with humility and fortitude. We solve the leadership’s most pressing business challenges, unlock value creation, and implement transformative solutions to help them grow meaningfully and compete sustainably, as they tread into the future.

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Ravi Kant

Founder and CEO, Innovation Spark Asia | Ex-RBS, Polaris | Delhi University | University of Virginia Darden School of Business

Ravi Kant has over 30 years of experience in IT outsourcing and a decade dedicated to fostering innovation through Design Thinking. He holds a B.Sc (Hons) degree from Delhi University and a specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation from the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

Ravi is passionate about integrating user-centric design and strategic planning to cultivate a culture of innovation. Throughout his career, he has held senior leadership positions at RBS and Polaris. As the Founder and CEO of Innovation Spark Asia, he specializes in helping organizations achieve growth and profitability through creative problem-solving and strategic innovation.

Ravi’s extensive experience and dedication to mentoring emerging leaders and fostering continuous learning have made him a valuable asset in driving transformative change and cultivating high-performing teams.

Bhaskar Pramanik

Expert Advisor at BOD Consulting | Ex-Microsoft, Oracle and Sun Microsystems | Advisory Member of Board of Schulich University, Canada and Bennett University, India | IIT Kanpur

Bhaskar Pramanik is an accomplished management leader and professional from the Technology Industry. He is currently appointed as a Senior Advisor at Rothschild & Co. and Board Member and Independent Director of TCNS Clothing Company Ltd. He is also on the Advisory Board of Schulich University, Canada, and Bennett University, India.

He has previously held National and Global Leadership positions in leading Multinational Technology Companies like Microsoft, Oracle & Sun Microsystems. He has worked in India, Singapore, and the US.

He recently retired from the Board of SBI, India’s largest bank. He has also been on the Executive Committee of NASSCOM and the National Committee of CII and AMCHAM. He regularly speaks at Industry and Leadership forums.

Sidharth Balakrishna

Senior Partner at BOD Consulting | Mentor-MIT Boston, Faster Capital & Tiger Hall| Ex-Essel (Zee) Group and Cairn India| Authored 6 books | IIM Calcutta | SRCC

Sidharth Balakrishna has 18+ years of experience in senior management roles across many noteworthy organisations including the Essel (Zee) Group, Cairn India, KPMG, and Shell. He holds a post-graduate diploma from IIM Calcutta and an Economics (Hons) degree from SRCC, Delhi University.

He is a mentor with MIT Boston (USA), Faster Capital (Dubai), and TigerHall (Singapore) and mentors startups with MassChallenge (Boston and Tel Aviv). He has authored six books and is an adjunct faculty at many leading management institutes.

Deepak Vats

Senior Partner at BOD Consulting | Managing Director, Corpspark Advisors | Ex-BCG and ITC | IIM Calcutta | IIT Kharagpur

Deepak Vats has 16+ years of experience in defining strategic direction for global corporate leaders and new-age start-ups. He holds a post-graduate diploma from IIM Calcutta and a B-Tech degree from IIT Kharagpur.

He is an expert in growth strategy, organisational transformation & new business build. He has previously worked with leading global & Indian corporates and is a Co-founder and incubator of multiple startups in the E-Commerce, SAAS and Technology domains.

Atul Takle

Senior Partner at BOD Consulting | Senior Advisor to PR24x7 and Bridgeweave Technologies | Ex-RPG group, Tata Consultancy Services and Accenture | JBIMS Mumbai | Sydenham

Atul Takle has 30+ years of experience in corporate communications and marketing. He holds a postgraduate degree from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai and a bachelor’s degree from Sydenham college in Mumbai.

He has worked with renowned organisations like RPG group, Tata Consultancy Services, Accenture in India, Pantaloon Retail (India) Limited and SKS Microfinance.
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Sandeep Das

Senior Partner at BOD Consulting | Ex-McKinsey & Co., Kantar Consulting and Interbrand | Delhi University

Sandeep Das has 20+ years of experience working with global brands across multiple geographies on brand, growth and corporate strategy. He holds a master’s degree in Business Economics and Marketing from Delhi University.

He has a successful track record of working in impactful, senior and high client-exposure roles in leading research organisations like McKinsey & Co., Kantar Consulting, Interbrand & Ipsos Strategy3.

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Senior Partner at BOD Consulting | Founder, C-Xcel | Member of FICCI Wise Council | Director, Founder Institute | UCLA Anderson School of Management

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Saurabh Uboweja

Founder & Managing Partner at BOD Consulting | Board member-World Communication Forum Association | Adjunct faculty-EU Business School | Ex-Citibank | IIM Calcutta | NIT Bhopal

Saurabh Uboweja has 16+ years of experience in consulting, branding, leadership development and digital transformation. He holds a post-graduate diploma from IIM Calcutta and a B-Tech degree from NIT Bhopal.

Recognised as one of the 50 Most Influential Strategy Leaders by the World Marketing Congress two times, he serves as an advisor on the boards of both listed and non-listed firms. He is an adjunct faculty at many leading business schools including the EU Business School.

Ajay Kohli

Expert Advisor at BOD Consulting | Chair and Regents Professor at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business | Among 100 most cited authors in the fields of Business and Economics combined in a decade | University of Pittsburgh | IIM Calcutta | IIT Kharagpur

Dr Ajay K. Kohli is Gary T. and Elizabeth R. Jones Chair and Regents Professor at Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business. He previously taught at eminent institutions like Emory University, Harvard Business School & The University of Texas at Austin.

He holds a doctorate degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a post-graduate diploma from IIM Calcutta and a B-Tech degree from IIT Kharagpur.

He is among the 100 most cited authors in the fields of Business and Economics combined in a decade, and two of his articles are among the 10 most cited Journal of Marketing articles in the past 25 years. In 2017, he received the AMA-Irwin-McGraw-Hill Distinguished Marketing Educator Award and in 2016, he received the Paul D. Converse Award, termed “Marketing Hall of Fame” by Fortune.

Anil Kejriwal

Expert Advisor at BOD Consulting | Founder-I2Cure Pte. Ltd | Board Advisor of Felix Realty | Chairman of the Board of Uttar Industrial Estate- Uttar Development Pvt. Ltd. | IIT Kanpur

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Manoj Agarwal

Expert Advisor at BOD Consulting | COO-Algonomy | Ex-Future Group India and Procter & Gamble | Chartered Accountant | Mumbai University

Manoj Agarwal is the Chief Operating Officer of Algonomy, a Bengaluru-based digital retail solutions company. A certified Chartered Accountant, he has over 20+ years of experience in global organisations, playing diverse roles with increasing responsibilities, including leading and managing high-performance groups to deliver impactful business results.

His expertise lies in Information Architecture and Strategy, Organization Design for productivity, Organisation Change Management, Data-Driven decision-making, Customer service model, Business Intelligence, Enterprise Performance Management & Financial Reporting and Consolidation.

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Arun Gupta

Senior Partner at BOD Consulting | Independent Director & Board Member: Hemas Pharmaceuticals, Sri Lanka and Locuz Enterprise Solutions, India | Co-founder, Fortytwo Labs | Ex-Head eCommerce at DHL | Ex- Head Internet Services at Hughes Telecom | Leadership Development Program- The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth | Leadership Development Program- ISB | Post Graduation in Software Technology from NCST. 

With 38 years of professional experience, Arun has led many groundbreaking IT-driven ventures, shaping the industry and fostering technology adoption. His consulting practice has its foundations based on success as a CIO/CTO across various verticals, geographies, and businesses in mid-market, large enterprises, and Government entities.

Arun’s expertise lies in IT strategy alignment to business strategy & plan, project planning and management, identifying and creating business value from IT, technology team effectiveness, and business Intelligence and analytics. His domain expertise includes Retail, pharmaceuticals, e-commerce, and logistics – though he has consulted across other verticals too.

He has garnered numerous industry awards and recognitions, including the Hall of Fame Awards by CIO Magazine and Information Week. Furthermore, Arun is a celebrated speaker globally and has a passion for photography and travelling.

J Suresh

Expert Advisor at BOD Consulting | National Council Member of Retailers Association of India | Ex-HUL and Arvind Fashions Ltd. | IIM Bangalore

J Suresh is a highly respected leader and key spokesperson in the Consumer and Retail Industry who is currently working as an Independent Consultant. In a career spanning over 4 decades, he has largely worked for Hindustan Unilever Ltd. & Arvind Fashions Ltd. He retired as the MD & CEO of Arvind Fashions Ltd in 2021. He holds a post-graduate diploma from IIM Bangalore.

He serves as the National Council Member of the Retailers Association of India and in the past has been the Chairman of CII’s National Council on Retail & Chairman of India Fashion Forum.

He has played a key role in mentoring & leadership development of his subordinates. Many of them have grown to be successful CEOs of many companies.

Thomas Varghese

Expert Advisor at BOD Consulting | Business Head-Aditya Birla Group’s Textile Businesses | Ex-Chairman, CII – National Committee on Retail (2009-11) | Harvard Business School | IIT Delhi

Thomas Varghese is the Business Head of Domestic Textiles, Overseas Spinning and Acrylic Fiber Businesses of The Aditya Birla Group’s Textile Businesses. In the last 21 years, he has held multiple positions in the group and helped Aditya Birla Retail emerge as one of India’s foremost Supermarket & Hypermarket Retailers as its MD & CEO.

He holds an Advanced Management Program degree from Harvard Business School and Bachelor’s degree in Textile Sciences and Engineering from IIT Delhi.

Apart from being the Chairman of the CII – National Committee on Retail for 3 years (2009-11) and a member of the Coca-Cola Retail Research Council for Eurasia & Africa, he has received many accolades including CEO of the Year by the Asian Retail Congress in Mumbai (2012), Most Admired Retail Professional of the Year at IRF (2010), Outstanding Business Leader by Aditya Birla Group (2004) and Distinguished Alumnus award of the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi (2002).

Dr Raman Kumar

Professor | Researches on Asset Pricing, Derivative Securities and Financial Markets | Served on over 50 dissertation committees | Ph.D.-University of Pittsburgh | PGDM-IIM Calcutta

Raman Kumar is the R.V. and A.F. Oliver Professor of Investment Management in the Department of Finance, Insurance and Business Law at the R.B. Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. He received his PGDM (MBA) from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh. He teaches finance and economics courses in the undergraduate, MBA, Executive MBA, and PhD programs.
His research work largely centres around Asset Pricing, Derivative Securities, Financial Markets, Market Microstructure, and Empirical Research Methods in Finance, with some of his works published in prestigious publications such as the Journal of Finance, Journal of Finance and Economics, and Journal of Corporate Finance. 

He has served on over 50 dissertation committees as Chair, Co-chair or member for PhD students in the Departments of Finance, Accounting and Information Systems, Marketing, Management, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Economics, Building Construction, and Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech.
Shubhendu Agrawal

Shubhendu Agrawal

Senior Partner at BOD Consulting | General Electric (USA), Nestlé, Tata Motors | IIM Calcutta | University of Pune

Shubhendu Agrawal has 18+ years of experience in Strategy, Business Operations, Organisation Transformation, Process Design & Implementation and Commercial Excellence. He also has extensive experience in the end-to-end New Product Development cycle – from consumer insights to product adoption & growth. He holds a postgraduate diploma from IIM Calcutta and a B-Tech degree from the University of Pune.

He is passionate about profitable growth & social impact and serves as an advisor/member on the boards of several social enterprises & non-profits.


Kanika Mathur

Senior Partner, BOD Consulting | Founder, K-Trends | Ex COO APAC Mullen Lowe I Ex-Senior Vice President (Digital & Content Marketing), Dubai Tourism | Ex-Managing Director, Digitas | Ex-CMO, Harappa Education

As a Marketing & Digital Transformation Strategist, Kanika Mathur has 30+ years of extensive interdisciplinary experience across Technology, CPG, Travel and Ed-tech. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Arts from Delhi University.

Her professional career spans multiple industries and renowned organisations. She founded ‘Solutions Integrated Marketing Services’ in India. She set up Razorfish for the Publicis Groupe & shaped it into one of the country’s largest interactive agencies. As its first CMO, she also helped bolster the Harappa Education brand.

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Sumit Singla

Senior Partner, BOD Consulting | Independent HR Advisor at MSMEs | People Strategist, CompTeam | Guest Faculty Member, MDI | ex-Deloitte | ex-Accenture | ex-Aon

With 18+ years of experience in the HR and Consulting domain, Sumit Singla has worked with various prominent organisations. He holds a Bachelor’s in Engineering from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh & a PG Diploma in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations from XLRI Jamshedpur.

He has teamed up with diverse clients on a variety of high-impact projects relating to HR transformation, organisation restructuring, M&A, and HR tech.

Currently, he consults with micro, small & medium enterprises to intensify their HR capabilities, while also mentoring young professionals. He has authored a book that deals with workforce experience & also participates in speaking engagements, forums, and guest lectures at business schools.


Dr PV Ramana Murthy

Expert Advisor at BOD Consulting | Managing Partner at Pinsight By PV | Adviser – Employment and Labour Law Practice at Economic Laws Practice | Board Member at Swadha Foundation | Ex Global CHRO, Indian Hotels Company Ltd | Ex Executive VP HR, Coca-Cola

Dr Murthy boasts an extensive 35-year corporate career, during which he contributed to renowned Fortune 500 and Global organisations. Apart from being a Lawyer, he holds a Master’s Degree in Organisational Psychology from INSEAD, Singapore. Additionally, he earned his Ph.D. in Strategic Human Resource Management from Sri Krishnadevaraya University, Andhra Pradesh. 

Beyond his legal background, he serves as an HR Advisor and Consultant, extending his expertise to Indian and multinational companies. His focus spans leadership development, culture transformation, and integrated talent management services. His recent collaborations include supporting organisations like Bosch, Tata Projects, Novo Nordisk, and Taj SATs.

During his stint at Coca-Cola, Dr Murthy not only managed the global leadership development function for the Bottling Investment Group (BIG) but also facilitated impactful leadership development initiatives.

    Mukesh Mathur

    Senior Partner at BOD Consulting |Ex-Godrej & Boyce, Polaris Retail Infotech and Oracle India | IIM Calcutta | IIT Kanpur

    Mukesh Mathur has 40+ years of experience in sales, marketing, and general management with leading Indian Companies and MNCs. He holds a post-graduate diploma from IIM Calcutta and a B-Tech degree from IIT Kanpur.

    He is passionate about training managers in KAM, value selling, and negotiations. He has been in senior leadership positions in Godrej & Boyce, Polaris Retail Infotech, and Oracle India, successfully managing multiple product categories including consumer durables, office automation, banking equipment, industrial material handling, and service engineers.