For nine private companies in India, October 14, 2022, will be remembered as the day when the world acknowledged their journeys, their choices, and the grit it took to become India's Best Managed Companies. Among them, two companies, Dabur India and KEC International had twice the reason to celebrate - having won the honour twice - in 2021, when Deloitte first rolled out the Best Managed Companies programme in India, and now, in 2022.
At the event held in Mumbai, N Venkatram, CEO, Deloitte India, spoke eloquently about the fundamentals that Indian businesses need to focus on. "In order to get to the US$5 trillion economy, one of the most important areas to focus on is the reduction of regional imbalances in manufacturing and services, which is where almost 25% of the growth is expected to come from. Of the 1,300 companies Deloitte surveyed internationally, 70% said that they wanted to manufacture from India: not for export, but for domestic consumption. Our opportunity is to build that quality, on our way to the $5 trillion, especially in the midsize sector."
Atul Dhawan, Chairperson, Deloitte India, on the other hand, spoke about governance systems that scale to the size of the business. He gave attendees a sneak peek into Deloitte's "five avatars" of what board governance would look like, in future. The five roles that boards need to play are: guardians, trust torchbearers, culture and talent cultivators, vision provocateurs, and crisis compasses. He also touched upon the need for crisis readiness. "The world has become so brittle, that crisis is becoming the normal state of affairs. Crisis management is going to become a normal activity, and this is something company boards would need to learn and handle going forward."
In a fireside chat with Porus Doctor, Partner, Deloitte India, Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, IHCL, also spoke about leadership playing the role of custodians of culture, passing the baton to the next generation, leaving businesses better than they found them. He spoke specifically in the context of the ethos of the company, where the community is not just another stakeholder but the very purpose of its existence. He spoke of the many initiatives that IHCL undertook during the Covid-19 pandemic, to take care of the larger ecosystem. "If you do good, it comes back," he quipped.
The conversation also centred around the importance of strategy in times of rapid change. As Puneet Chhatwal put it, "Stragility is the combining of strategy with agility. The strategy doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to innovate, adapt, and evolve to the changes. If you're not agile... it's like they say, it's not the big who will beat the small, it's the fast who will beat the slow."
India's growth story exemplifies this. While we have our share of large multinational corporations, India's growth has long been powered by agile privately held companies, and these businesses have often gone past the mere pursuit of profit into areas that would today be classed under social responsibility projects. From founding training and educational institutions to undertake environmental and social initiatives, to working with the government to create more robust governance, privately held companies have been at the forefront of responsible and sustainable growth in India.
However, with growth comes the need for strong governance. Deloitte has been helping businesses do just that. Several years of working with businesses have given Deloitte a distinctive vision and depth of experience. It has also enabled them to formulate a framework that gives businesses a boost by sharing lessons and leading practices that have proven their worth over time, geography, and changing economic policies.
The framework comes together under four main pillars, and each business is assessed on the basis of performance against several parameters. In his comments about the process, Porus Doctor elucidated, “The companies that participate in the programme go through a rigorous independent process where they are benchmarked against a common evaluation framework across the four pillars of corporate excellence: strategy, capabilities and innovation, culture and commitment, and governance and financials. We were delighted to see participants from last year participate this year again and make it to the list for the second consecutive year.”
The process ensures that it isn't just the winning candidates who gain value. When attending the Best Managed Applicant Lab, attendees are encouraged to reflect on what it takes to be 'Best Managed' based on leading practices, culled from nearly three decades of programme insights and interactions.
The winners were evaluated by a panel of exemplary jury consisting of industry experts Chetna Sinha, Founder - Chairperson Mann Deshi Bank and Mann Deshi Foundation; Harish Bijoor, Brand and Business Strategy Expert and Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc; Kiran Karnik, Chairperson - Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi and Former President, NASSCOM; and Krishnakumar Natarajan, Co-Founder - Mela Ventures and Earlier Co-Founder at Mindtree.
After a rigorous evaluation process, the winners were announced on 14 October 2022, at an award ceremony held in Mumbai. K.R. Sekar, Partner, Deloitte India, speaking at the event, expressed his delight with the winners. “The purpose of the programme is to inspire, celebrate, and build a community of private businesses that are creating a better future. India’s Best Managed Companies 2022 winners have showcased business ethics, a tremendous sense of direction rooted in mission and vision, and have redrawn the strategy wherever required, to be in line with the changing landscape.”
The winning companies are Ajanta Pharma, Coromandel Internationa, Crompton Greaves Consumer Electricals, Dabur India, Endurance Technologies, KEC International, Orient Cement, Welspun India and Zoho Corporation.
Deloitte's Best Managed Companies programme is only in its second year in India, and already, the programme is helping Indian businesses set and exceed industry benchmarks. For a country that is on the cusp of becoming the third largest economy, a growing number of businesses creating corporate excellence in the key areas of strategy, capabilities and innovation, culture and commitment, and governance and financials, is exactly what the business ecosystem needs.