Super U Podcast | 7 Super Tips with Indra Nooyi
Indra Nooyi is an Indian-American, former chairperson, and CEO of PepsiCo. She’s ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2017, she was ranked the second most powerful woman on the Forbes list of The 19 Most Powerful Women in Business. She serves on the board of Amazon and just recently published her 2021 memoir, My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future.
5x #1 Bestselling Author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman has performed in over 55 countries and reached over 50 million people this past decade. He was voted the 2nd Most Likable Author in the World behind Harry Potter’s J.K. Rowling.
Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from the episode.
Super U Podcast | 7 Super Tips with Indra Nooyi:
[2:08] Tip #1
“I think easier today only because there are a few more of us in positions of power. But I think from a personal perspective, it’s got nothing to do with women or being in this position, I have the immigrant fear, as I’m always afraid that if I fail, I may have to go back to something that I don’t want to go back to. And so that fear always motivates me and I drive myself to be better and better and better at my job every day. I don’t have a choice but to be a role model. And I feel privileged to be the role model whether it’s for women, for minorities, for Indian women, for sure. Everybody looks up to me and, you know, wants to learn from me and get my advice. I can’t give them all enough time. That’s the thing that makes me feel very bad because I get letters every day asking for advice or whether I’d be a mentor to people. I can’t do it all. So I tried to do my best by speaking in public forums and trying to disseminate information on a large scale. But I think because there are so few of us, we have to play the role of being the role model and we have to make sure we do a good job because we have to set the standard for others who might follow in our footsteps.”
[5:04] Tip #2
“I tell you a painful, painful story. The other day when we move back to our headquarters and purchase after renovation, I had the opportunity to go through all my old mail and I found a letter that my daughter had written to me, my second daughter, and I joined PepsiCo, and she was 18 months old. And I lived in the company, I just worked all the time. And my desk was being given away to get a new desk. And she said, Mom, you can’t give away that desk. I said, why not? She said, “I slept in this little area underneath your table with my blankie.” All the time I was growing up, how can you give this desk away? And I sat back and said, My God, what a memory for her to have. I was going through the files, there’s a letter from her to me, which I’m keeping because I have to remind myself of what I lost. It says, Dear Mom, I love you. Please come home. Please, please, please, please, please come home. I love you. But I love you more if you came home, this is my four or five-year-old writing these notes. So how did I do it? Huge number of sacrifices, huge, huge number of sacrifices trade-offs. And I think through it all, I might be a CEO today, and I love the job. I love where I am. But I will tell you if I had to write a letter to myself as a younger person, I’d say, be careful about all the choices you’re making. Because you will look back and it’ll hurt like hell. And it does I regret is too serious a word, the heartaches, many times.”
[7:35] Tip #3
“The other thing he told me, which was unusual for me because it was just not in my personality to do that. He said, If you really feel strongly about something you don’t like something people are doing, throw a temper tantrum, throw things around, because people have got to know that you feel strongly about it. And I talked to agency partners, and they said that if you showed Steve a campaign or showed him a design for a product, and if he didn’t like it, he would throw the papers across the room and make the work all night. Now I haven’t gone that far. I’m beginning to use certain words a little bit more freely. And I have I am screaming a bit more. When I say screaming and pounding the table and saying, you know, this is a piece of something, go redo it, which you know, is really not the way I was, but it is effective because it shows the passion that I have for what I’m doing.”
[9:46] Tip #4
“The bolder we can be the better. The more we can break the rules, the better off we’re going to be because you know the world is full of ideas today. And if we don’t do it, somebody else is gonna do it. In fact, I’d say little startups are A lot of the growth today even in our space, even in the food and beverage space. So in many ways in our company, we have to act as if we were a bunch of little startups. That’s what we are a bunch of little startups. So in order to do that, we’ve got to allow people to be bold, you know, write the rules any way they want. And that’s what they’re doing in our company.”
[10:30] Tip #5
“I think every issue we’re facing today is long term in nature and requires systematic solutions when we have political cycles that are short term in nature and investors who are short term in nature. So the question is, who is going to address these issues, we’re looking at everything through a microscope, and we’ve got to look at a microscope and the telescope. From my perspective, that is the only strategy I knew. And that’s the only strategy. I know, if my board, my investors didn’t like that I wouldn’t be sitting here with you today. But I was very comfortable that that was the only way the company should go because I was looking at the consumer data, I was looking at, you know, societal data. And I realized that our strategy to shift the portfolio becoming more environmentally conscious, and creating an environment that was good for our employees, was the only shareholder value-creating strategy in the long term.”
[12:15] Tip #6
“As Millennials have come into the workforce in large numbers, their expectations of companies have changed. They no longer look at it as sort of a paycheck, but they look at it as how can I go to work and make a difference in society. So the notion of purpose is becoming a much bigger factor. The big difference is that in the past purpose used to be some sort of a corporate social responsibility program. And typically those programs were good people like them. But they were at the whim of fancy of the CEO who was there. So the CEO retired, that program got cut. So we had to weave purpose into the core business model of the company. How do you make sure that the sense of purpose can only be accomplished if you make profits, and the only way to make profits is through purpose? And that’s why we, you know, use the term performance with purpose linking both together. And I think that’s what’s excited millennials in particular, and what’s excited, the Boomers to even stay longer in the workforce, because they actually feel they’re contributing to the future of society, as opposed to walking in picking a paycheck and leaving.”
[14:53] Tip #7
“Now my three lessons I’d like to share with you. First, please be a lifelong student. When we are kids, we ask questions like, Why is the sky blue? Why is the bird flying so high. But for some reason, as we get older, that curiosity goes away. And if we’re happy with the knowledge we have, then we’re actually going to atrophy. So please remain a lifelong student. Don’t lose that curiosity. Second, whatever you do, throw yourself into it. Throw your head, heart and hands into it. I look at my job, not as a job, I look at it as a calling as a passion. And I don’t care about the hours I don’t care about the hardship, because to me, everything is a joy. So whatever you do, please look upon it as a calling and a passion. Not as a job not as something temporary. The third and the most important one, please help others rise. greatness comes not from a position, but from helping build a future. All of us in positions of power have an obligation.”
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The Super U Podcast is hosted by #1 bestselling author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman.