The greatest leaders revel in being real. Their humanity and authenticity are what sets them apart. Their primary purpose is to nurture the organization to be able to live and work in this manner, where people can blend their personal instincts with their business decisions.
Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo, embraces who she is through how she leads. She is a disarmingly endearing combination of serious leader and “everymom.” And she actively calls on both dimensions of her life in how she leads and gives people permission to lead and act. She was held to extremely high standards growing up. Her mother would pick, for example, one topic per evening on world or current events to discuss. Nooyi uses a similar tactic at work, pressing her teams to come up with solutions to problems, such as creating a lower cost alternative to palm oil. Colleagues say that Indra “brings her whole self” to work. Her delivery and how she talks about herself and her world are very real. She actively talks about being a mom, pushing her teams to create products that are healthy and easy to grab when it’s your turn to provide the snacks at your child’s school. Tough but real. Tough but human. Indra Nooyi teaches by example.
Beloved companies establish lasting bonds with customers—by deciding to blend their personalities with their business decisions. In the beloved companies:
- Leaders blend who they are as people with how they lead.
- Business decisions combine purpose and passion.
- Leaders give employees behaviors to model and permission to be “real.”
- Relationships are between people who share the same values.
These attitudes and actions embody what is behind beloved companies. They take what informs their personal decisions with them into business. They let their roots influence decision making. Inside beloved companies, people call upon their personal experiences to inform their behavior. And they blend it with their business acumen to accomplish extraordinary outcomes.
- How do the actions that come from your decisions reveal the story of who you are as people and as an organization?
- Does your personal authenticity come through when you decide which direction to take your business?