Empowering the Front Line through Micro-battles at Modi Enterprises

Micro-battles help companies develop a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, starting with the front line.


Empowering the Front Line through Micro-battles at Modi Enterprises

Too often, as companies grow in size and complexity, their metabolism for innovation slows. Krishan Kumar Modi, president of Modi Enterprises, shares how micro-battles—fast-moving initiatives involving real customers and frontline employees—can renew a culture of entrepreneurship. 

Read the Bain Brief: Micro-battles and the Journey to Scale Insurgency

Read the transcript below. 

KRISHAN KUMAR MODI: Well, three years ago, the major problem was the organization had lost its feet. People said that we take up different initiatives and before we can reach the end we give up and we start another initiative.

So our ability to reach or do anything innovative or out of the box had seriously diminished, and people as a whole were feeling helpless. Not only at my level—I felt helpless—but also throughout the organization. The people were a little bit disenchanted, and they didn't know why things don't work out. They were disheartened.

Well, micro-battle is a new term. We can divide the problems into smaller and smaller different parts, and you don't spend too much time in planning and discussing. Whatever your instinct says, you go ahead and do it, and if it doesn't work, it doesn't matter. You can rework.

That's the problem, it has to be solved by the people on the ground who are in touch with the actual situation. And there were a group of people, and they will analyze data and then take a decision. Their experience was very good, and people took very, very outstanding goals, beyond expectation. We can see that we are in the strongest position we ever have been, and the company is full of a very, very large number of entrepreneurs, and they're ready to take any challenge.

We had a program of a "stretch," where we asked people that you take something beyond what is expected, and if you fail it doesn't matter. And if you solve the problem, then we will calculate the benefit and we'll share it again with you. Well, we are very proud that we have done it. I think we have got the confidence now that we can take bigger challenges and do things outside the norm.

But now, 90% of the new brands we make, they are succeeding in the marketplace, and there the judge is the customer. He has to spend his own money to buy it, and he will not buy unless he's satisfied that what we have given is to his liking, whether it is a product or service. Both have to click, and making a brand has so many variables and so many technologies that it is not easy to come out right the first time.

Well, our executive committee has become very vocal, and people come to the meeting after studying what was the subject for discussion. And the executive committee now is adding more value, so it's not for discussion only. It also finds a solution. And once we have found a solution, we don't worry. We implement it with full vigor and don't have doubts whether it will succeed or not.

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Micro-battles and the Journey to Scale Insurgency

Discrete, fast-moving initiatives bring focus to strategic choices and help companies rediscover the art of getting stuff done.


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