Indra Nooyi Leadership Style Examined

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Indra_Nooyi_-_World_Economic_Forum_Annual_Meeting_Davos_2008_no._2

Featured Image: By World Economic Forum [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Indra Nooyi is the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo. Her style of leadership has inspired countless managers, CEOs and many others who see the benefits of learning from a great leader.

What Makes a Great Leader?

A great leader guides people rather than pushes people. They analyze the future to see how future events could impact their company and they lay plans now, to avoid future challenges. A great leader is aware that their position is a challenge and never forgets that everything depends upon their decisions and actions. Learning new skills never stops for great leaders as they are continuously facing new challenges that require new skills and knowledge. A compassionate and likable personality also comes as part of the package where great leaders are concerned.


7 Takeaway Leadership Skills from Indra Nooyi

1. You Need to Develop a Coping Mechanism: Being the CEO of a large organization is one thing, and coping with family life is another thing entirely. But both areas of your life have equal importance for the people involved. The long hours required for effective leadership often mean that family members will feel left out of the picture as it appears that business always comes first. You need to develop coping mechanisms to help your family members see where everyone fits in.
2. You Need to Take Idea’s From Everywhere: Indra Nooyi says that everyone is a product of their upbringing. With this way of thinking she also understands that all the employees of PepsiCo are also the product of their upbringing. Indra decided to write a letter to all the parents of PepsiCo employees to thank them for the gift of their child who now works for the PepsiCo organization. The feedback from the parents has been enormous.The parents feel involved in the company and take the time to write to Indra to tell her things that they have seen that may benefit the PepsiCo organization.
3. You Need to Develop a Truly Global Perspective: Being a large organization based in the US, it’s straightforward to believe that you only need to know about your own country. Organizations with a global customer base, however, need to be fully aware that their operations are very much global. To this end, you must learn as much as you possibly can about other countries news, politics, social attitudes and their languages. Develop a global perspective to deliver better everything your organization has to offer.
4. Be visionary and See beyond: An organization often needs to get tasks done that they never thought they’d have to undertake, and this is because a great leader sees the future before anyone else sees it. The mission then is to educate the rest of the organization to the challenges ahead and get them on board to navigate those future challenges. It can be an uphill struggle at first as people are working towards a goal that they cannot even see at this stage. Managers will ask: “why fix it when it ain’t broke?” and the great leader replies: “because it’s going to break.”
5. You Should Have Performance With Purpose: Great leaders at CEO level need to appreciate that their organizations are LLCs (limited liability companies) and this in effect means that society has given you the license to operate. With this being the case, you owe society gratitude, and you should repay that gratitude with your decsions and the plans that you make. The costs of your projects cannot simply take into account expenses and revenue, but must also account for the social costs associated with your projects.
6. Never Mix Professional life with Personal Life: This is a great story told by Indra Nooyi when she was given the position of CEO for PepsiCo. Indra was, of course, delighted with the position and headed home to tell her family. When she arrived home, her Mother greeted her. Indra informed her Mother that she had some great news to share with her and the rest of the family. Her Mother stopped her and told her that her news would have to wait and told Indra to go out and buy some milk as it was needed for the following morning. Indra was full of excitement to pass on her good news and asked why her Father couldn’t get the milk – “because he is tired,” her Mother replied. Indra drove off to buy the milk and on returning told her family that she had just been given the position of CEO for PepsiCo and complained that all her Mother was interested in was milk! Her Mother stopped her in her tracks and told her that she might be the CEO of this large organization, but when she enters their house she is the Wife, the Mother, the Daughter, the Daughter-In-Law and all of those things, and nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage and don’t bring it into the house.
7. It is Essential to Invest Time in Communication Skills: It is vital to understand the importance of excellent communication within large organizations. The emails and documents that you write that are intended to motivate people are written for hundreds of people at all levels. Every recipient must clearly and quickly see your message without any doubts regarding your intended message.




I love the leadership style of Indra Nooyi, and I believe that many other leaders in her kind of role could greatly benefit from her views, opinions, and skills. I also love Indra’s personality, and I am very sure that PepsiCo loves that too!

What Do You Think? Comment Below…