Automation and Digitisation are two pillars of post-COVID economy: SoftBank's Manoj Kohli

21-11-2020

New Delhi, Nov 21 (UNI) Automation and Digitisation are two pillars of the economy in post-COVID time, said SoftBank Group International's India Head Manoj Kohli, who took the post in April this year.

Mr Kohli, who has recently launched Ritesh Wig's 'Leadership in Unrepresented Times', said in an interview, "The world is moving towards constant disruptions, and technology changes bring 'end to end' digitization as innovation across the industry. Further, the wave shall continue for more than ten years. Automation and Digitisation are two pillars of the economy in post-COVID time.

'The innovation of products is 'Name of the Game' due to consumer expectations being much higher, and products are more digitized," adding that young leader's are emerging as one of the critical forces in COVID-19 times. Rural Markets are essential to inclusive growth. Frugality is vital for business success in days to come. Further, High Performance and ethical values are fundamental for employees. Lastly, customer has more power than ever before.

Speaking on the global humanitarian challenge faced by the world in wake of COVID-19, he says, "No Doubt, COVID -19 is a pandemic, faced by society at large, once in a century. It affected all levels and created an environment of uncertainty - be it people's health, financial losses, or social and emotional disconnect. My initial thoughts are that it's a tough time for people, their family, and their business due to macro-environment changes. At the same time, believes in 'Strong Leadership', which means business leader's strong values, their key leadership traits, and their imaginative power to see beyond the darkness of uncertainty. Slowly and steadily, they plan for resilience and reach the original growth path or even better by having innovation around."

The common man and leader are two sides of one coin. Leaders always displayed key traits of inclusiveness, proactiveness, and courage about their target accomplishment. Further, a team member (a common man) needs to demonstrate their commitment, talent, discipline, and, more importantly, their passion. Hence, leadership is all-pervasive, be it a common man or a leader; both needs to display certain traits, the only difference is that leaders have a more prominent role, and the common man as a team member generates business facts by collating ground realities, Mr Kohli, who is supporting over 20 portfolio companies of SoftBank Group and SoftBank Vision Fund such as OLA, OYO, Paytm, Lenskart, Grofers, Snapdeal, WeWork, Delhivery, InMobi, Unacademy, Uber etc in India.

"Further, business leaders need to address the sentiments and demand of their consumers (again they are the part of common man) as they are the center point of their vision/mission. The leader and common man go hand in hand either as a team member or in the form of a customer," he added.

Mr Kohli, responsible for addressing government, regulatory, and public policy issues that help foreign companies based in India to

achieve their full business potential, underlined the steps needed to build resilience and said, "Resilience in personal and business life is essential in post COVID-19. Leaders can achieve it in both lives, cope with the swings of their business and personal life. The first thing is personal internal resilience, and their strong values make a difference. For business resilience, leaders need to pull down their Break-Even Point (BEP). Requires cut down in fixed costs, bring efficiency and lower cost of finance, etc., or lower debt level to cope with markets lows, so that companies can make profits, maybe even smaller than past normal, but not the losses."

In a nutshell, resilience can be built by strong leader's having their deep and robust values who believe in self and display key traits and motivates their teams to achieve their targets by constant motivation and rebuilding their critical skills, he went on to add.

Advising brands on how to recover their original position which is presently affected by the virus, Mr Kohli said that brands are not built in a day or fall in a day; it's a constant endeavor of people who service consumers or products' quality and availability at all times. In most challenging times like COVID-19, consumers demand the products' availability at their doorstep due to lockdown. The companies that can fulfill those customers' demands shall always appeal to them over others. The brand is a passion and ownership of the company's all stakeholders, be it a delivery boy or high-level vendor supplying raw material. Both levels know their role and job and how it will impact my consumer if he is not at his place. Hence, my advice to all focuses on building a brand and being with your CONSUMER always with passion.

"India is on the cusp of exponential growth due to many policy reforms ( Atam Nirbhar Bharat), by the Government recently for COVID -19; India is a land of opportunity for global investors post COVID-19 scenario. India is on a resilience path with more conviction and the emergence of young leadership across the industry," he said.

My advice is to follow the Government advisory to curb the COVID-19 virus attack. Secondly, rebuild your skills wherever you feel there is a gap, as post COVID-19 changes the whole game of operations, basically more digitized and automated. Thirdly, focus on family health and heal the sentiments of parents, spouse, and children. Fourth step is to develop your leadership skills and display a hunger for filling gaps by reading management books and applying the principles you read, Mr Kohli, who has 41 years of work experience divided between the manufacturing, telecom, renewable energy, and now digital sectors, added.

Mr Kohli has worked in the US, Europe, China, Japan, and build the business in 20 countries in Asia and Africa.