‘Leave the crown in the garage’, sounds like advice every boss (and employee) should abide, but unfortunately you’ll often find workplace complaints that show otherwise. PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi recently took to LinkedIn to write an aptly-titled (“Leave the crown in the garage”) column not just for budding CEOs but for anyone who could do with some career advice (now, can’t we all! Especially if it’s coming from her).
Having set goals not just for women and little girls, who often grow up saying they want to be like her, but anyone who wants to lead, Nooyi would be anyone’s ideal person for advice on running a Fortune 500 company in the 21st century.
Her seven lessons translate into the seven characteristics of a great leader: Vision. Persistence. Persuasion. Listening. Learning. Collaborating. Humility.
And thankfully, for us, she managed to put down seven critical lessons she has learned along the way:
Lesson 1: Everyone needs a vision
Nooyi starts off with quoting the Book of Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” adding that this applies to any workplace. Talking about taking the reins at PepsiCo, Nooyi’s first lesson is for anyone starting at a new job. And, regardless of the position, the learning remains the same, “be responsive to the needs of the world around us. Come up with a vision that inspires people”.
Nooyi’s second learning is the need of the hour, not only for good leadership but also a green planet. She takes us back to a cartoon by ‘The New Yorker’ with the: “Yes, the planet got destroyed. But for a beautiful moment in time, we created a lot of value for shareholders.”
Drawing from this, Nooyi stresses on the need “to balance short-term and long-term interests, and think hard about your time horizon”. This one is o ..
There will always be criticism. But, there will always be supporters too. Just as long as you believe in yourself and face the resistance. Nooyi’s next lesson is the “importance of persuasion”.
The third lesson is incomplete without this one. The fourth lesson talks about the most important part of persuasion: listening.
So, listen! Don’t let your position stop you from being open to ideas, ideas that may come from anywhere, ideas that you may not want to hear. But when you listen, you’ll always come out better, a person and a CEO.
Lesson 5: Be a student for life
Never stop learning. Never stop exploring. Talk to people, take courses, and go out in the real world. Citing references from her own life, Nooyi’s shares her fifth lesson “keep learning”. She recently took a course on Big Data, but learning she says comes not only in the form of new courses (which are very important, considering the age we are living in), but also by getting out of the office and seeing things up close.
If you had to have one rule to lead a team, it should be this! As Nooyi rightfully puts it, “the success of an enterprise usually comes down to one thing: the team.” Happy employees work better, which is directly proportional to the growth of your organisation. But keeping them happy has to go beyond just the job. “In today’s world, you need to appeal not only to your employees’ heads, but to their hearts.” Nooyi, who often writes app ..
As hard as you work to make a job work, remember you are more than an employee. And yes, work is important but family, and you, shouldn’t come second. And yes, there will be days when the balancing act will get more difficult than usual, days when you need to make a choice. So Nooyi wants us to “come together, as corporations and as a society to support workers who are caring for young children, aging parents, or both.”