The Daily Dose: Do You Own a REAL Leader?

 | Sep 13, 2013 | 9:00 AM EDT
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On an increasingly frequent basis, I am securing information on companies that I am unsure I should be holding. Nothing scandalous, don't get me wrong, but things that I know are not being revealed to the average investor via public filings and earnings calls.

Does this bother me?  Why yes it does, I am a positive individual and want folks to win against the powerful dealer named Mr. Life. It also causes internal conflicts for me because I am not precisely clear on what could be divulged where and to whom.

However, learning about companies and the people that run them from the bottom up has fascinated me going on 11 years straight to an extent that yes, logging a bunch of items unknown to anyone else sitting inside a Starbucks is a job perk and a pretty special deal.

I bring this to light as my business partner and I are attending an event at the Giants stadium this Sunday hosted by Pepsi (PEP) CEO Indra Nooyi and her team. Everything at this event will be off the record, so no emails please.

Traveling to company events is something that has been great fun for me through the years; the conversations with executives after a webcast stops taping are invaluable. The ability to study an executives' body language when I ask them a question is worth the price of omission.

In researching Indra Nooyi once again this week it was reinforced as to her amazing inspirational qualities and background. She is without question one of those rare executives, along with Starbucks' (SBUX) Howard Schultz, that have a certain "it factor" ingrained in their demeanor. CEOs in the mold of Nooyi and Schultz are true leaders (not just check collectors with an MBA), inspiring all facets of the organizational structure without them being able to visit every site and shake every worker's hand.

Further, these are the executives that are value creators for shareholders not in a day, not in a week, but for a long period of time. Their actions trigger positive responses by fellow team members, and in addition to their creativity in identifying future industry needs and challenges today, are why you give them a pass if a quarter is missed due to "increased investments in XYX initiatives."

Have you ever Google searched the CEO of a company in which you are part owner (shocking right, YOU ARE PART OWNER...along with the machine). Give it a whirl sometime, with the main objective trying to find comments made in interviews that shed detail on a CEO's operating philosophies and human character.

How am I able to offer glowing praise to Indra Nooyi you ask?  Check out the litany of comments/views she has put forth in various interviews. The important aspect here is that there are at least three common threads that bind her on numerous fronts: (1) family; (2) mentorship/teamwork; and (3) sense of self. Any executive could whip up a few bullet points on leadership for an interview, but only the real, authentic ones believe them and execute on those points for the benefit of others (whether it's workers or shareholders).

14 Business & Life Lessons from Pepsi's CEO

Sourced from various interviews (#14 is a direct quote)...

  1. Be known for your in-depth knowledge of an area.
  2. Take a stand with courage and confidence.
  3. Communication skills are critical.
  4. Bring your head, hands, and heart to work.
  5. Surround yourself with good people.
  6. Mentorship is a major force.
  7. Your moral compass must point true north.
  8. True success is being happy with yourself.
  9. The core concept of success lies in knowing what you want to do in life.
  10. What's important is trying to be the best and working to get there, that's how you fulfill your potential.
  11. Keep a natural curiosity.
  12. Be authentic.
  13. Businesses that have customers in different markets across the world need to tailor products, business models, and people practices to each market.
  14. "Brands go through ups and downs. I think every five or seven years, you've got to change out the approach to the brand, because you need a new boost of energy to think about the next iteration. Too many brands, when they are successful, just become arrogant and get trapped in their very self-confidence."

It has been a while since Pepsi made an acquisition, sure starting to see growth areas in the food and cooler aisles...

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