Samir Modi, Managing Director & Founder of Colorbar and 24Seven and Modicare is an intuitive entrepreneur, constantly striving to bring new and radical ideas to life. After thoroughly analyzing the contemporary consumer behavior and trends in the Indian cosmetic product offerings and convenience retail chain, Samir established Colorbar Cosmetics and 24Seven Convenience Stores. In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, he shares how he is firefighting the crisis and how the world of work will change post-COVID-19. Read the edited excerpts here-
What are some of the leadership lessons that have guided you in the current times of crisis?
As a leader, I have always been guided by my mantras of Soch Badlo and Samirness - my biggest strengths for all times. I’ve always leveraged different thoughts and perspectives, tackled such situations with a fresh approach as reflected in my mantras too; Soch Badlo – which means think differently and Samirness – Put your heart into your way and approach to work.
Who is the one leader who you consider an inspiration in the firefighting crisis?
It is very important to always have a fresh perspective and preparedness to deal with unexpected circumstances like these. Also, as a leader, it is of special importance to have a role model to look up to and draw inspiration from, and for me, that inspiration is Steve Jobs. He has been a stark example of determination and resilience for me. Steve was resolved to engineer products and solutions to enable ease and efficiency – he fought hard for it and created Apple, arguably one of the most successful businesses in human history. “Sometimes life is going to hit you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith.” – this famous quote by him has always encouraged me during trying times.
Along with him, I also admire Richard Branson for his gumption and the sense of belonging to his workforce.
According to a survey, 93% of high performing organizations believe crisis uncovers talented leaders. In your experience of managing crises, how relatable are these results?
Leaders must see opportunities everywhere and, in my opinion, a crisis provides leaders the opportunity to address the loopholes, overcome obstacles, and help people and businesses recover more strongly than ever before. A crisis is a runway to take a flight with resourcefulness and efficiency. These are the times for leaders to adapt to the new norms while leveraging their farsightedness and preparedness. Leaders are born out of such unexpected times, born to contribute to the larger good of scaling economies in the longer run.
Should the world of work be ready for the new face of leadership post COVID-19?
We are looking at a new world post-COVID-19, a world that will not be like the one we lived in - at least not for a while. It does not really solicit an overhaul of leadership, but definitely sets a podium for the emergence of newer champions. New leaders who will bring in a novel approach towards risk mitigations, speedy recovery, and a sustainable and inclusive growth. It is an opportunity for organizations and communities to let the innovative captains take charge.
The current crisis has majorly impacted the workplace. How are you managing this pandemic along with your CHRO?
As we gradually embraced the Work from Home culture, we rolled out a few initiatives for our employees and partners to see the bright end of the tunnel. Enclosed are some of the initiatives we have taken so far:
- We are reaching out to provide care and cover to our employees – insurance of INR 5 Lakhs has been provided to each employee at Modi Enterprises specifically for COVID-19
- We have enhanced hygiene & sanitation at our workplace basis COVID-19 norms.
- We are also investing more time in learning about our employees’ values, strengths and interests to experiment and figure out various ways of working.
What are some of the major decisions you took recently that have kept things under control?
With the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, it has been difficult across industries to keep up the business momentum. In order to control the cost in the current situation, I recently took a decision to re-align the fixed costs and remove all unnecessary expenses.
Do you believe that employees should lay more emphasis on upskilling themselves keeping in mind the future company goals & use the time to plan post lockdown?
Yes, I believe so. Even though it is a lockdown, it comes with endless possibilities of growth. Employees, in fact, every individual, should utilize this time to brush up their skills and take up new crafts to enhance their learnings- which in turn could add substantial value to their personal and organizational growth in the future.
What is going to be the biggest challenge for the retailer of 2020?
There is no question what retailers across the globe are facing currently is unique. This is the first event that is majorly impacting our in-person business, highlighting the need to be prepared for everything.
Retailers’ biggest challenge would be the customers and how to interact with the customers while abiding by the social distancing norm. Apart from this, safety of staff and their customers would be another concern that will have to be prioritized.
Here’s your chance to make it to the coveted list of emerging HR leaders to be identified by the People Matters Are You In The List Awards 2020. Apply here to find whether you have it in you to make it to the list. #AreyouintheList?