When Pepsico former CEO Indra Nooyi traveled to India to visit her mother for the first time after being named CEO, something occurred on that visit that change Indra Nooyi perspective on leadership.
At her mother’s house, a steady stream of family and friends came into the house. They’d went right over to her mother and said:
“Congratulations.” Or “You did such a good job raising Indra.”
According to Indra Nooyi, “Watching them, I realized I’d never done for our senior executives at PepsiCo what my mother’s family and friends were doing for her.” When she returned to Pepsi, Indra Nooyi sent letters to the parents of her executives and similar letters to spouses, which led to some of her most incredible experiences at Pepsi. I read this story, and I immediately remember the worst advice I ever got during my early working days. One of my former managers during a staff meeting indicated with a non-expressive look on his face, “work is work; I am here to work, not to make friends.”