Valuable Business Lessons from Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi

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PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi has been known to introduce the mantra “Performance with purpose” in the company. And thanks to this headstrong, well-admired, and enthusiastic female leader, the leading food and beverage company is now truly focused on long-term growth while helping the society and the environment. Her leadership has brought the company pivotal changes and boosted profits, showing no signs of stopping.

Nooyi’s skills, vision, and commitment to working towards progress make her a great leader worthy to be ranked among the World’s Most Powerful Women. The new PepsiCo mantra is just one pearl of wisdom that she has shared with not only with Pepsi but with the whole world as well. Entrepreneurs can learn valuable business insights from her and here are five of them.

Keep an Open Mind

As a leader who’s a huge advocate of Socratic learning, Nooyi believes that asking questions is good and engaging in a cooperative dialogue is healthy. All too often, leaders close their minds to debates and opposition. But for Nooyi, keeping an open mind is needed in order to adapt to change. “Leaders must adapt, stay nimble, and be willing to listen to those around them,” she says.

Innovation is Essential

According to Nooyi, innovation is “Anything that drives the top line of the company.” PepsiCo is a huge global brand. As a leader of the company, Nooyi has to constantly come up with innovative, out-of-the box solutions to boost its top line to maintain and/or gain its share in the world.

It’s Okay to Lose Your Temper

“Don’t be too nice.” This is one advice that Indra Nooyi got from Steve Jobs – the legendary Apple executive and tech visionary, who had a reputation of being short-tempered. It’s okay to lose your temper when you don’t get what you want and you believe that’s good and right for the company. People may talk about you throwing temper tantrums, but then they’ll know that it’s something important to you.

Focus on Short-term and Long-term Goals

Indra Nooyi believes that short-term and long-term initiatives should be balanced. For her, effective leaders must not only focus on producing results in the short term. Their decisions must also be aligned with and beneficial to the longer-term goals of the company. “There’s a bunch of stuff that delivers in the short term. That gives you the breathing room and the fodder to invest in the long term,” Nooyi said.

Lead With Your Head and Heart

Indra Nooyi believes that employees should be treated as unique human beings and that using this approach is good for the business. She even goes out of her way and writes letters to the parents of her senior executives to show them gratitude. This unconventional act just proves that Nooyi has deep emotional intelligence and that she leads with her head and her heart.

Indra Nooyi is a strong, powerful, and inspiring female leader, who is committed to innovation and growth. PepsiCo sure is fortunate to have her as its CEO. She gives great importance to the people she works with and is ready to do whatever it takes to achieve the company’s short- and long-term goals (even if it means throwing tantrums). Entrepreneurs like you can certainly benefit from the valuable lessons she shares with the whole world!

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