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    Indra Nooyi reveals the two habits she follows as CEO to successfully run Pepsico

    Indra Nooyi reveals the two habits she follows as CEO to successfully run Pepsico

    Indra Nooyi reveals the two habits she follows as CEO to successfully run Pepsico
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    By CNBC-TV18  IST (Updated)

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    Nooyi was named CEO on October 1, 2006 and chairman on May 2, 2007 and heads a portfolio of global food and beverage brands.

    PepsiCo chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi knows a thing or two about leadership — her corporate life spans nearly four decades and she runs a billion-dollar global company. Nooyi was named CEO on October 1, 2006 and chairman on May 2, 2007 and heads a portfolio of global food and beverage brands, of which 22 generate more than $1 billion each in annual retail sales, according to the company.
    There are two habits that Nooyi relentlessly follows at work.
    Acquire New Skills
    The first habit, she said, was that she found that she had to become a learning CEO. “I have to go to school all the time because I am learning new skills that I need to run this company and I am realising that I am not equipped to just coast. I have to constantly renew my skills,” she told CNBC-TV 18 in an interview.
    “However, more importantly I have to surround myself with people who can help the company power through tough times.”
    As she moved up the career ladder, Nooyi said she had to elevate herself on how she behaved, how she thought and the kind of knowledge she had to imbibe. CEOs would often find that there aren't too many people who are giving them advice, she said.
    “You almost have to observe and learn as you go along.”
    Corporate leaders must also lean on people who they don't know too well, according to her. “You almost have to go and ask them for advice.”
    According to Nooyi, only a leader who is constantly learning can pull companies through difficult times. “The amplitude of change is more pronounced and the frequency of change is much more pronounced today,” she said.
    That is why, she explained, Pepsico is looking for leaders who are extremely agile and who can go from geopolitical calms to geopolitical crisis. “We need leaders who can work through scarcity. Very often we are finding that we need leaders who can make something out of nothing.”
    Empathise with Employees
    The second habit that stands in good stead for a CEO is to become visible, she said. In the past CEOs were extremely impersonal. But in today’s world, CEOs and C-suite executives should be highly visible and have empathy with the employees.
    Nooyi said this trait is important but the more a company can accommodate employee issues and concerns and somehow work with them to accommodate their issues, the more the employees want to stay in the company.
    At PepsiCo, she said the company has created an environment to encourage diversity. “We have a large number of women executives … if they have to go off and take a child to the doctor or go for a parent teacher meeting, we make sure we give them the time.”
    According to Nooyi, more and more women are rising to the top and what was once a male bastion is fast crumbling. “I think 10 years from now we are going to see a much different environment than we are even seeing today.”
    That said, she warned that women have to make their own progress. “We have to create our own tailwinds and create our own sisterhood if you want to call it that in order to move ahead.”
    This interview was conducted in November 2013.
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