Indra Nooyi: Six lessons I’ve learned as PepsiCo’s CEO

Posted: 4 October 2018 | | No comments yet

Indra Nooyi shares six lessons she’s learnt from her time as PepsiCo’s Chief Executive Officer.


Indra Nooyi was the Chief Executive Officer of PepsiCo from the summer of 2006 until the beginning of this month, when she stepped down as CEO. She will remain as chairman until early next year, and has publicly written in an open letter about lessons she has learnt over the years.

As the CEO she oversaw PepsiCo’s top brands – Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana and Gatorade, and was named as Fortune’s second most powerful woman in business last year.

In her parting words Noori said she felt “blessed” to have led PepsiCo, and that is had been ‘the honour of a lifetime’.

In the open letter, she describes six lessons she has learnt during her time:

1. Have a clear vision

“Whether you work in operations, sales, R&D, or any of our functions, always have a clear, compelling vision for what you want to accomplish. As it is written in the Book of Proverbs, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” And I’ve found that to be true for all of us, no matter our role in the company.”

2. Focus on both the short-term AND the long-term

“Focus on the short-term and the long-term. Yes, you need to hit your short-term targets, but always try to do so in a way that’s sustainable over the long haul, a way that balances the company’s level — and duration — of returns, a way that generates a profit while also making a difference, always advancing the values of Performance with Purpose.”

3. Work with your team

“Bring people along with you. No matter how smart your strategy, success or failure usually comes down to one thing: the team. In everything you do, find teammates who can help execute your vision and empower them to succeed.”

4. Be good listeners

“When someone gives you feedback, assume positive intent. Assume they’re genuinely trying to help. Think their words over, and be willing to challenge your assumptions. I promise, it will make you better associates and better people.”

5. Be lifelong learners

“Our world is changing rapidly all around us, and if you want to continue to thrive in the years ahead, you’ll need to continually educate yourself. Visit our Lifelong Learning Library in Purchase, take a course at PepsiCo University, listen to podcasts or search Google—however you do it, make your ongoing education a priority.”

6. Use time wisely

“Think hard about time. We have so little of it on this earth. Make the most of your days, and make space for the loved ones who matter most. Take it from me. I’ve been blessed with an amazing career, but if I’m being honest, there have been moments I wish I’d spent more time with my children and family. So, I encourage you: be mindful of your choices on the road ahead.”

In her parting words, she mentions that she is now ready for the next adventure, quoting the words of Rumi: “Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul, there is no such thing as separation.”

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