A few years ago, investors were trying to get the board to force out PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, but after years of flat stock prices, PepsiCo has recently beat expectations in both revenue and profit growth.
As the Harvard Business Review reports, Nooyi now “exudes confidence” and is focused on finding new ways to adapt her company’s products to changing tastes.
Nooyi tells HBR that her daily inspiration to keep PepsiCo growing is rooted in a sense of the rebelliousness she developed as a child growing up in the socially conservative city of Madras (now Chennai), India. She explains:
In those days, there was a well-defined conservative stereotype, so everything I did was breaking the framework. I played in a rock band. I climbed trees. I did stuff that made my parents wonder, “What the hell is she doing?” But I also was a good student and a good daughter, so I never brought shame on the family. And I was lucky that the men in my family thought the women should have an equal shot at everything.
I’m still a bit of a rebel, always saying that we cannot sit still. Every morning you’ve got to wake up with a healthy fear that the world is changing, and a conviction that, to win, you have to change faster and be more agile than anyone else.
Nooyi says PepsiCo is moving faster than ever before, rapidly testing new products and investing in the ones that develop an audience. She says to get where she wants her company to go, “we’ll have to be willing to tolerate more failure and shorter cycles of adaptation.”
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