THE CEO of PepsiCo(NYSE: PEP),Indra Nooyi, is responsible for the growth of a $19 billion company. The products she bears some responsibility for include staples like Tropicana, Quaker Oats and Sabra Hummus.
She’s one of the most powerful people in business. How did Nooyi get to where she is today? The process involved three steps, which she recommends to any professional aiming for the C-suite.
Do your current job extremely well. It may seem counterintuitive, but Nooyi says that if you want to be a company executive, you have to stop fixating on it. Focus on the present instead.
“First, don’t start by saying ‘I want to be a CEO.’ Because the minute you start being obsessed with wanting to be a CEO, you forget what you have to do,” Nooyi tellsLinkedIn Executive Editor Daniel Roth.
“Focus on doing the current job you have so damn well that people say, ‘Nobody else can do that job as well as Dan’s doing it.’”
Have a ‘hip-pocket’ skill: The CEO says you should have a “hip-pocket skill,” something you’re known for being great at and can develop even further. Nooyi has a”hip-pocket skill” of her own, which is being able to explain complex issues in simple terms. It helped her stand out at PepsiCo.
“People should look at you and say, ‘You know on this particular issue, the only person who can answer it or contribute to it is Dan,’” Nooyi says.
Unique skills make you valuable and being valuable is how you get promoted.
“Inside the company, people have to really value your capabilities,” Nooyi says.
Be courageous: The third key ingredient comes down to character.
“Courage; I think that’s what lacking the most today,” she says.
If you want to be great, sometimes you’re going to have to stand out, according to the CEO.
“If you really feel strongly about something, have the courage to defend what you’re suggesting,” Nooyi says.
People who stand up for what they believe in make for great leaders and can help make important changes at companies and in communities, she says.