Indra Nooyi is the Chairperson and the former CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest global food and beverage business by net revenue. An Indian-born, naturalized American, she has consistently ranked among the world’s 100 most powerful women. In 2017, Nooyi rated number 13 in the Forbes global 100 most powerful women list. Fortune magazine has ranked Nooyi number one several times in its annual ranking of the most powerful women in business.
On October 3, 2018, Nooyi stepped down as CEO, passing the baton to Ramon Laguarta, a 22-year PepsiCo employee who had served as the company’s President. Nooyi will step down as Chairperson in early 2019.
62 year old Nooyi led the company for 12 years through shifts in consumer sensitivities and preferences, triumphing over an attempt by an activist investor to split up the company. She expanded PepsiCo’s product range way past its cola beginnings, venturing into kombucha, hummus, and other more nutritious items. PepsiCo’s annual revenue increased 81% during her tenure to $63.5 billion. So how does this extraordinary woman think?
I analyzed Nooyi’s thinking during PepsiCo’s 2013, 2014, and 2015 first quarter earnings conference calls. Her commentary was rated according to our Hierarchy of Thinking Styles.
The analysis revealed an overwhelming combination of moderate positive thinking, extraordinary positive thinking, and Optimal Thinking. Although Nooyi willingly confronts and discusses headwinds and shortcomings, she employs a very small portion of negative thinking in her remarks.
This analysis provides a snapshot of Indra Nooyi’s thinking process in a critically important context. Nooyi utilizes moderate positive thinking to connect with her audience and achieve understanding. She uses words like “increase”, “improvement”, “better”, and “grow”. She also uses phrases such as “good balance”, “better leveraging”, “positive results”, “higher brand equity”, “growing environmental consciousness”, and “talent management processes”.
Nooyi often deploys extraordinary positive thinking to articulate the PepsiCo’s focus on innovation and product differentiation. She does not deploy extraordinary positive thinking as wishful thinking.
We were especially pleased with the successful innovation in North American beverages with four products, Mountain Dew Kickstart, Gatorade Frost Glacier Cherry, Starbucks Iced Coffee, and Lipton Pure Leaf, on track to achieve $100 million in annual retail sales….And we are focused on achieving product disruption and differentiation through science-based R&D , especially in the area of sweetener innovation.
Optimal Thinking is the language of our best self. This realistic thinking style gives us the best chance of achieving everything we want.
Like other leading CEOs, Nooyi employs Optimal Thinking to define the context of PepsiCo’s values, benchmarks and direction.
We’ve concluded that ownership by PepsiCo of the North American beverage business in its current form maximizes shareholder value, because our current ownership structure allows for optimally aligned objectives and execution.
Nooyi also deploys Optimal Thinking to articulate evidence-based achievements.
As evidenced, in 2014 we were the largest contributor to U.S. retail sales growth among all food and beverage manufacturers.
To definitively assess your thinking and compare it to how Indra Nooyi thinks, take the Optimal Thinking 360 Assessment now. I developed this assessment for my executive coaching clients over 27 years. More than one million executives and 6500 companies have used the assessment to uncover their primary thinking style, thinking profiles, core motivation, decision-making and communication styles, and how to best interact with others. Take this assessment (designed for desktops and tablets) on your own as a Self-Optimization Assessment or with your team as a 360 to confirm your strengths and weaknesses, discover your blind spots, and optimize every situation.
The transcripts used in this article are © SeekingAlpha.com. 2013, 2014, 2015.
If you would like to nominate other well-known leaders for a thinking analysis, feel free to include them in your comments below.