“To be a great leader, you have to be a student. You have to be willing to learn. I’m still learning.” - Indra Nooyi

Posted by Parthiv Shah on Aug 21, 2023 8:00:00 AM

Parthiv Shah

I have a passion for seeking out business leaders who accomplish amazing things. I search out these individuals, learn as much as I can about their lives and their journey and then absorb as much of their stories and the lessons they have to offer for use in my own life and my own business.

One of the business leaders I’d like to highlight today is Indra Nooyi, former Chairman and CEO of Pepsi Co.   Indra was born in southern India to a conservative Brahmin family. She graduated top of her class in high school and got a BA in math, chemistry, and physics in Madras Christian College. She then came to the USA, went to Yales School of Management, and took a job with a Boston consulting group.

She joined Pepsi Co in 1994 as the Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Development. Twelve years later she became chairman and CEO of the company. PepsiCo experienced notable growth under her leadership. She implemented strategic initiatives and made key decisions that positively impacted the company’s financial performance, brand portfolio and global expansion.  

Over the course of her career, Indra has shared valuable advice for business owners during numerous interviews, speeches, and articles.  

Here are some of her key insights.

  1. A key piece of advice she offers in various interviews is for business owners to embrace change. A business owner who refuses to recognize market changes and trends will likely be out of business soon. By embracing change, you remain relevant and are poised to seize opportunity and grow. Do this by staying ahead of market trends, consumer preferences and technological advancements.  
  2. According to Nooyi, if you want long-term success, you must have a long-term perspective. You must be driven by a purpose beyond short-term profits.       She says to define a clear vision and mission that goes beyond financial metrics. If you align your goals with a larger purpose, you can build a sustainable and meaningful business.
  3. Diversity and inclusion are crucial for business success. Nooyi encourages business owners to create a culture that values and celebrates diversity in all its forms. This can drive innovation, improve decision-making, and create a more engaged workforce.
  4. Nooyi advises business owners to invest in their own growth. Seek out new knowledge, expand your skill sets, and stay curious. By continuously learning and evolving, you can bring fresh ideas and insights to your businesses.
  5. She stresses the significance of building strong teams, fostering a culture of collaboration, and valuing the contributions of each team member.       Effective teamwork lets businesses tackle complex problems and achieve collective success.
  6. Never give up and develop a thick skin. Challenges and setbacks are inevitable in business. Nooyi says to develop resilience, be prepared to bounce back from failures, and maintain a positive attitude. These are key qualities for long-term success.
  7. She emphasizes the importance of self-care, family, and personal well-being alongside business commitments. By maintaining a balance, you can sustain your energy, creativity, and overall happiness.

Indra Nooyi's advice is grounded in her own experiences and leadership philosophy. Her insights are genuine and relevant.   Any business owner would do well to heed her advice.   As a business and marketing strategist, I agree wholeheartedly with this advice. I feel her comments about developing and investing in the long-term success of your business are particularly worth noting.

So many times, I meet with business owners whose main constraint is their short-sighted thinking about their profits, products, and services. They look only to the next quarter’s earnings with too little regard for the following years and decades.   A long-game strategy for success is the key to building an empire and leaving a legacy through your business and your deeds.

If you’re the type of business owner who understands the value of long-term perspective and strategic marketing, call me, or send me a text at 301-873-5791 or go to to book an appointment. Let’s have a conversation about your goals. I promise by the end, we will have uncovered opportunities for predictable and sustainable growth you can begin to implement right away.


Topics: business advice, own experiences, business commitments, develop resilience, Effective teamwork, long-term success, business owner, profits, products, and services, leadership philosophy, positive attitude, technological advancements

 parthiv shah


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