Indra Nooyi wants us to reimagine the return to work (part 1) | ReThinking with Adam Grant
In a rich conversation with Adam Grant, Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of PepsiCo, shares her leadership insights and vision for the future of work.
She discusses her unique approach to leadership, the importance of mentorship, and her commitment to equality.
She also explores the challenges of implementing change in large organizations and the need to rethink traditional work models.
Challenges of Implementing Change
Implementing change in large organizations can be challenging, as Nooyi experienced when she initiated a health and wellness push at PepsiCo. Despite setting up an advisory board and creating a retail store with healthy products, some division presidents felt this was too far from PepsiCo’s core, leading to the dissolution of the initiative.
Effective Communication in Leadership
Effective communication is a crucial aspect of leadership.
Nooyi shares an experience where she was advised to use more words to convey her message, which she found to be a valuable lesson.
She also highlights the double standards women face in leadership roles, where assertiveness can often be perceived negatively.
Role of Mentorship in Career Growth
Mentorship played a significant role in Nooyi’s career growth.
She shares how her mentor helped her improve her communication skills and gain respect in her professional environment.
She also emphasizes the importance of mentors wanting their mentees to succeed and providing them with the tools to do so.
Addressing Pay Disparity
Nooyi shares her experience with addressing pay disparity within her company.
Upon discovering a 2-5% pay gap, she proposed paying women 2-5% more to fix the disparity.
This example highlights her commitment to equality and her willingness to challenge the status quo to achieve it.
Confidence and Financial Security
Confidence and financial security are crucial in enabling individuals to stand up for themselves in the workplace.
Nooyi shares her personal experience of being able to voice her opinions and challenge unfair treatment because she had the financial stability to potentially leave her job if necessary.
When to Consider Leaving a Job
Nooyi provides advice on when to consider leaving a job.
She emphasizes the importance of having marketable skills and the ability to quickly find another job if necessary.
She also advises against indicating a desire to quit without actually doing so, as it can damage credibility within the organization.
The Future of Work
Nooyi criticizes the current discussions on the future of work for focusing too much on technology and not enough on family and women.
She argues that if we don’t encourage more women to join the workforce, many jobs, particularly care jobs, will remain unfilled.
She calls for more support for women in the workforce, including providing more flexible work options and removing barriers for women who have children.
If you’re not going to make a difference in anything you do, don’t do it. Why bother to waste your time doing it? – Indra Nooyi
Challenges of Hybrid Work
Nooyi discusses the challenges of hybrid work, particularly the potential for unfair advantages for those who spend more time in the office.
She suggests that changing office footprints and mandating certain days for groups of people to come in could help address this issue.
She also emphasizes the need for leaders to be open to rethinking traditional work models.
Nooyi reflects on her leadership style, noting that she was not afraid to change her mind when the environment changed.
She believes that leaders should be open to change and not fear being accused of flip-flopping.
She also emphasizes the importance of including families, women, and young family builders in discussions about the future of work.