India’s Most Trusted CEO’S 2017
Describe your business in 10 words or fewer.
Unlocking India’s potential through nutritious food solutions
What is the big idea behind your business?
Kellogg’s in India is guided by the company’s purpose of nourishing families so they can flourish and thrive. As a part of this belief, we champion the importance of breakfast to ensure a great start to the day, highlighting the benefits of cereal as a balanced breakfast.
It’s often said that leaders these days must operate in an environment of extreme volatility. Do you agree? How does that affect the way you lead?
We live in a VUCA world. These cycles of volatility will only get more frequent. In addition, in an increasingly digital world, traditional business models are being continually disrupted. As a consequence, our ability to forecast or predict is seriously challenged. In such an environment, leaders need to demonstrate spikes along three dimensions – agility, resilience and boldness in execution. Leaders also need to create the conditions for these behaviours to be embedded across the organisation.
Highlights for the year
Kellogg’s brought cereal boxes to India. We bet big on relevant “India-centric innovations” to boost growth and this includes making products to suit the Indian palate and investing time and resources to understand Indian culture and context.
Spate of innovations were launched in 2016 with the objective of becoming more relevant to the Indian consumer. Ragi, an ancient grain, was used in our flagship brand Chocos, which is been well received by the consumers. In Oats, Kellogg India introduced innovative and differentiated offerings such as ‘Simply Pongal’ and ‘Shahi Kheer’.
Kellogg’s India also expanded into the snack category by bringing Pringles into India, which is off to a great start.
We continue to build our distribution reach and are strengthening our presence in the emerging channels, with partnerships in the e-commerce space.
Do you have a formal mechanism for making sure you stay in touch with employees and customers on the organization’s front line?
Kellogg’s culture is similar to that of a start-up. We encourage employees to demonstrate an owner’s mindset.
This impacts the way we work and the way we communicate. Our communication is transparent, engaging and a two-way mechanism to keep all employees informed and involved. Right from the formal employee town halls which are essentially all-hands meetings to together pave the path for future business strategies, to informal interdependency sessions between individual teams to align on work and processes; I ensure there are numerous channels of engaging our people.
Advice as a leader to a leader?
As a leader, I would say focus on four things:
(a) Lead with purpose. Inspire people to be a part of a cause which is bigger than themselves
(b) Create possibilities. Never give up and never compromise
(c) Create conditions for people to succeed. Create an environment that facilitates agility, resilience and boldness
(d) Coach and mentor your team while holding them accountable for performance
How are you a consumer conscious company?
Kellogg’s India has its consumers at the heart of all its decisions. Every offering from the Kellogg’s bowl is inspired by a consumer need. Every function of the organisation, and not just marketing, must put consumers and shoppers at the heart of what they do. We have processes to ensure that we listen to our consumers on an ongoing basis, reflect on their voices and make decisions that address their needs. This often means taking their feedback on our products and launching products and variants that are customized to suit an Indian consumer’s need. Special K Protein & Fibre, Mango cornflakes, Simply Pongal oats or Ragi Chocos are some examples.