Indira Nooyi was the first female CEO of Pepsico. In her first five years in that position, Nooyi successfully led the company through the great recession of 2008 and pushed the company to nearly double its worldwide revenues – from $35 billion in 2006 to $65 billion in 2011. Nooyi is said to “have led a financial recovery for Pepsico” by focusing on environmental sustainability initiatives, increasing company globalization, and shifting product portfolios.
According to Nooyi, Pepsico’s success would not have been possible without her own self-improvement. One of her most repeated quotes reinforces this progression:
The distance between number one and number two is always a constant. If you want to improve the organization, you have to improve yourself, and the organization gets pulled up with you. That is a big lesson. I cannot just expect the organization to improve if I don’t improve myself and lift the organization because that distance is a constant.
Just like with Nooyi and Pepsico, applying concepts of “building a better you” not only helps individuals, but also helps organizations to thrive.
Why Self-Improvement Matters
The current self-improvement industry is worth $11 billion. Effective leaders are investing both time and money into self-improvement in order to successfully compete in the ever-changing global market. Becoming self-aware of personal strengths and weaknesses, building character, and taking risks is the perfect place for them to start. Jim Rohn – famous author, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker – once said, “formal education will make you a living, self-education will make you a fortune.”
Self-awareness has two components. The first, internal self-awareness, is the ability of leaders to identify and understand their own values and thought processes. Developing internal self-awareness helps with decision making and allows professionals to act in ways that will most effectively achieve their personal and company goals. The second component, external self-awareness, is the ability of leaders to understand how those around them see and interpret their actions, values, and intentions. Mastering external self-awareness allows professionals to consciously act in various situations and avoid reacting or responding in ways that would reflect negatively on themselves and their businesses.
Integrity is the ability to act with consistency according to a value system. An individual’s values serve as their personal ethical foundation, which can either be complemented or challenged by the priorities of the organization they serve. Those who rationalize that business decisions are independent of ethical decisions put their reputation and long-term profitability at risk. Individuals with integrity must also become managers with integrity. These professionals will bring their standards into the workplace and encourage others to do the same. It is important that global leaders cultivate an environment that encourages honest communication, collaboration, and trust.
Willingness to Take Risks
Risk can be both positive and negative for individuals and businesses. Because the largest losses are often associated with management making risky decisions, many leaders feel the best route is one that avoids risk altogether. But when leaders aren’t willing to analyze and take calculated risks, large returns can be forfeited. To make risk taking more manageable, global leaders must analyze and decide beforehand what the business can lose, educate themselves so they understand potential outcomes, and be ready and willing to learn when failures do arise.
The success of an organization is directly tied to that of its leaders. Pepsico would not be having the success they maintain today without the strong leadership of Indira Nooyi, a woman who knows the importance of self-improvement. Taking the time to be more self-aware, improve personal integrity, and create a healthy relationship with risk will lead global leaders to not only life, but business improvements as well.
Start the journey to building a better you by checking out the three articles below.