In a world proliferated with disrupted business models, rapidly advancing technologies, transformed and starkly altered consumer behavior, the CMO’s role evolved quickly and permanently. As businesses today work to recalibrate their product, channel, and demand strategies in the everchanging multidimensional digital world, marketing leaders must reimagine their role, discard redundant processes, overcome thought process linearity and explore new possibilities and growth paths to continue to stay relevant.
Shimona Chadha – Business Marketing Leader is a disruptive marketing & business strategy professional with over 20 years of experience in aiding Fortune 1000 and startup companies. She heads a large geographically distributed team united under a common purpose and aims to guide, support, and encourage the next generation of leaders, nurture her client base, and reimagine the customer experience through the convergence of marketing and technology.
She is a passionate advocate of women’s empowerment in the corporate workspace and is the co-chair of both the Women’s Empowerment Chapter and the Sales and Marketing Chapter of the IAOP. She recently co-authored a book ‘The Anatomy of Accomplishment, which quickly became a bestseller on Amazon. In her book, Shimoma encourages the younger generation to strive to become their best version by demystifying their motivations, uncovering their passion, and discovering what they want to achieve – the change they want to make and the value they can deliver.
Heading towards Growth and Positive Change
Growing up in a military family helped reinforce some valuable skillsets early in her life – a willingness to take risks, speak up about her thoughts and beliefs, persistence, need for achievement, the importance of resilience, and a strong work ethic. Her parent’s hardworking ethos led her to discover her purpose in life – to strive to build a legacy and not just to do a job.
Inspired by the ambitious and intelligent people around her, she feels energized by being a part of a team of diverse individuals working towards a shared goal.
She believes that every day is a brand-new day to grow, make a tangible business impact, and empower people. One must feel excited to have challenges as they help sharpen our grit and play a crucial role in shaping who we are. C.S Lewis summarized it well when he said, “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”
Mentioning a book of former England rugby coach Sir Clive Woodward’s ‘How to win’ inspired her to realize that winning was not about building the team with the best players – it was about building a team full of skilled energizers. The book was about how he borrowed the concept of sappers and energizers from the Royal Marines. Sappers take energy away from a team, while energizers provide it.
Inspiring leaders have integrity, are authentic, and lead with vision, purpose, humility, and compassion. Such leaders are known to set an essential cultural tone of educating, mentoring, and inspiring, thereby infusing energy, passion, and commitment. They can make quick decisions consistent with their high standards of ethics and integrity while simultaneously putting their employees first and giving them the tools they need.
Father Bill Atkinson, a paraplegic teacher, once said, “I can’t touch or feel someone’s hand, but I can touch and feel someone’s heart.” In today’s distanced work environments, that is what inspirational leaders do – they touch people’s hearts.
It is also essential for leaders to take ownership of their project and their employees, share their victories and defeats, and give credit where credit is due. It is necessary to show leadership when times are tough and exhibit courage and fortitude when their decisions may not be popular at the time.
A big part of leadership comes down to authenticity and being yourself. That is why it is so important to be passionate about what you do. If you can bring passion and purpose into the workplace, you will automatically be an inspiration to anyone else who aligns with your vision.
Shimona’s career as a Marketing Leader in HCL has been an adventure with broad and diverse experience across fourteen divisions which helped her grow both as a leader and as a person. Witnessing her team members’ passion who have embodied the ethos of – Think Bigger, Be Different, and Bring value.
During her years at HCL as a revenue marketer, she has been an integral part of its growth journey from $2.7 billion to $10 billion. HCL is today India’s 3rd largest information technology services player and one of the fastest-growing large global technology companies. Shimona’s career journey spans five industries and two continents. She has won multiple awards, helped create new markets and categories, and works in advisory board positions in several innovative tech startups like Analytix Solutions, CloudAdvisors, and RoboNegotiator.
She is also actively involved with coaching high school students, advising early-stage startups, and fostering inclusivity across HCL’s clients and partner ecosystem. As businesses reinvent in response to shifts in consumer behavior, leaders must continue to be curious, adaptable, and innovative.
Embracing the disruption, discarding redundant processes, and exploring new growth paths can help marketing leaders deliver growth and exceptional brand value and emerge as customer champions and stewards to stitch the organization’s cultural fabric.
Risk and Reevaluation in Pandemic
COVID-19 has shown how vital technology is to our lives, and it is likely that the societal changes that we have gone through will continue into the foreseeable future. This means that people will feel more empowered than ever to do distance work, while corporations and governments will rethink their tech priorities. Digital and contactless technologies will become the norm, while consumers’ preferences will continue to evolve.
The pandemic has also highlighted the need for companies to safeguard both employees and clients. Leaders of all types need to reimagine their organization across many dimensions like location-agnostic work approach, enhanced cloudification and virtualization, modernizing applications with automation and intelligent data, and comprehensive end-to-end security.
With employees in all corners of the world, one of our biggest challenges was communicating change to ensure that all employees had a common perspective on our COVID best practices. We created an executive crisis management team and focused on being fast and factual. Time was of the essence, and our role was to take the latest best practices from the global health bodies and regional governments and communicate them as clearly as we could to our employees and clients.
It has been a privilege to watch so many passionate and talented people thriving in a dynamic industry. The pandemic has thrown that passion and talent into focus by motivating people to think outside the box to address business continuity and business growth while enabling and safeguarding the interests of our employees.