Source | LinkedIn : By Surendiran Subramani
Mr. D. Shivkumar, CEO of PepsiCo India is called the youngest in the company by many of his employees for his sheer charisma and enthusiasm. He is an inspirational leader whom everyone in the organization are proud to follow. Receiving such insights about Shiv (as he is fondly called) all throughout the Induction week of the PepsiCo Summer Internship Program of 2016, everyone of us, the Summer Interns, were curiously awaiting his session at The Courtyard by Marriot, Gurgaon.
The session, “Path toLeadership”, by this astute personality in the FMCG Industry who has been CEO for most of his career was the most impactful I have had the opportunity of attending. Shiv talked about how the transition from the Business School to the Business world pans out and shared with us his rich experiences of working with companies like Unilever, Nokia and Phillips with Nominal and chronological precision. His streamline thoughts and authentic communication make him the Inspirational Orator that he is. Here are a few snippets from his session.
- Shiv himself aspired to be the best consumer marketer and has invested a lot of his resources on the same. He was a music-buff during his college days and played Cricket and Tennis. He has a strong network of batch mates and friends most of whom are CEOs and professors and stalwarts in their own fields
- Quoting the examples of Sachin Tendulkar’s masterclass and Vijay Singh’s legendary career (a Fiji Indian golfer), he shared Malcolm Gladwell’s words in “Outliers”, “it takes roughly 10000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field.” Which is approximately 10% of your time in the next 10 years
(Inside story: While hanging out with Sachin, Shiv asks him what the most difficult pitches to play on were, Sachin mentioned the pitches in Australia and New Zealand because the wind would blow straight down the pitch and it would be difficult to keep the eyes open. To solve this, Sachin used to practice keeping his eyes open even when facing the wind)
- There have been 63 new concepts in the last 75 years of management education; Learning is a never ending process; one has to be open to learn, unlearn and relearn
- Discipline is the deciding factor between informal and casual; every leader possesses a rock solid discipline; Geniuses (who are extremely rare) are the only exceptions
- Authentic communication is key! Barack Obama is looked up for the same reason; He quoted Ogilvy on Advertising: “When Aeshines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks’. But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march’
- In a world driven by cross functional innovations, learning from failure is key
- Discipline, hard work and patience makes leaders
- Prepare for a marathon not a sprint
- The harder you work, the luckier you get
- Pace your career
- Everyone needs to learn from a boss
- Ensure clarity about the end goals and show great commitment to the same
- Always look at your career 3-5 years down the line
- Being a CEO:
- Principles are important, it is a lonely thankless job
- You need to have the stomach for scrutiny; you are always under the radar
- Leaders also get inspired; keep connect with leaders
- Principles are important
- Width vs Depth debate: Being CEO is a width job
- Time is the biggest demand from a CEO and being one required a lot of sacrifices
- The CEO has to be on top of the business cycle all the time
The 40-minute short lecture was followed by the Q&A session where all of us got equal opportunities to pick his brains. Here are a few the highlights.
Q: How do you make Decisions?
Good question, Thanks for asking that! Here is my decision hierarchy:
- Is it right for the company?
- Is it right for the team?
- Is it right for me?
It has worked well for me but the problem is that a lot of people start backwards. Decisions should be driven by principles not emotions.