This post is by Jessica Miller-Merrell, a leadership blogger at Blogging4Jobs. She is a digital strategist with a passion for recruiting, human resources, training and social media and is the author of “Tweet This! Twitter for Business,” a how-to business guide for Twitter.

Female business leaders hold an advantage over their their male counterparts because they nurture and add humanity to the position, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said during her keynote address at BlogHer last week. “Women globally represent 70% of the buying decisions around the world,” Nooyi said. “There’s a shift happening among women in the world.”

This shift Nooyi mentioned is happening across the board, and conferences such as BlogHer are an example. The importance of incorporating humanity into advertising, business and the executive role is something that has become extremely important since the recession. Nooyi told the audience that senior leaders must balance their IQ with their EQ, or emotional intelligence. This emotional intelligence provides female leaders a huge advantage to relate directly to their employees and consumers. “Employees perform better when they bring their whole selves to work,” Nooyi said.

The proportion of women in leadership positions at organizations has yet to reflect the shift Nooyi mentions. Only 12 women hold the CEO position at Fortune 500 companies.

Nooyi distills her leadership philosophy into “Five C’s,” which she shared with the audience.

  • Competency. Stand out from the pack and be a lifelong learner. Remain ahead and abreast in your field.
  • Courage and Confidence. Speak out. Establish your knowledge base and be confident in it as a leader.
  • Communication. Over-invest in written and oral communication. Leaders constantly have to motivate the troops.
  • Consistency. Remaining steady, reliable, and determined allows for credibility and a baseline to measure your successes and failures.
  • Compass. Integrity is critical in this job.

Related Posts

26 responses to “Live from #BlogHer: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi on the leadership principles that guide her”

  1. John Abraham says:

    I am unable to understand what is really great about this article. These are basic principles that every leader knows and owns.

    • B. Mallory says:

      1) Reminders reinforce original lessons. Even top corporate leaders post maxims like these on their walls.
      2) A woman's perspective is rarely expressed at this echelon of leadership (Fortune 500 CEO's..See above)

    • Abraham John says:

      C'mon John. Play the game. You are supposed to start with "Great Post!" And then kow-tow to whatever any "leader" says. It's called "social media" i believe.

      PS how is this an "article" when it is really just someone summarizing someone else's banal speech?

      • maryslayter says:

        I'm sorry you didn't find the post beneficial. We find that our readers really like it when we recap the high points of well-known speakers at conference — not everyone has the resources to travel, and we try to give people a bit of the flavor of big-name events.

  2. John Ellett says:

    These are five great attributes, especially Courage and Compass. Reminds me of the eight attributes of effective marketing leaders.

  3. Luis M. says:

    Great stuff and I would add Compassion to make it an even half dozen 'C's.

    • Jessica says:

      Agree with you Luis. Compassion should be added to the list. Very important for leaders to have. Although acting on that compassion is a completely different thing.

      Thanks for the comment.


  4. These are indeed five great attributes; I might add people skills, too, but I can't get a 'C' word out of that. BTW, we are looking for someone to teach a female empowerment through entrepreneurship course; we had an inquiry from a fairly major television network about doing a show, or part of a show. We have five female mentors, all of whom came up through the 'old boys network', who love the idea, but don't know what they'd put in a course. If anyone out there wants to shoot me an email on this topic, I'm open to suggestions.
    John Heinrich, Chief Mentor
    American School of Entrepreneurship

    • Ann Ulrich says:

      Hello John,
      As you look to educate/mentor around Female Empowerment, 'coming up through the old boys network' as mentioned above is one voice/perspective, and not the only one needed to guide new thinking. I'd recommend a laser-focus on accountability and ownership, as based in self-leadership. We all (women and men) move forward when we take ownership and not blame or look to others in identifying what might be holding us back, sabotaging success. I'll shoot you an email to discuss futher…
      Thanks all for the inspiring perspectives!
      Ann Ulrich

    • Ed Reidy says:

      Hey John; what about compassion for people skills? Compassion does not mean you are "pushover" but rather actually listen to people and create an environment for them to grow, produce and prosper.

  5. […] Compass. Integrity is critical in this job. Link to original article:… […]

  6. Susan Williams says:

    What a great article! I am so in agreement with everything she said! I especially like the Courage and Communication elements! Unfortunately, in today's glass-ceilinged world, there are many male leaders who still are uncomfortable with strong women who do know how to lead with humanity. Standing out can sometimes lead to standing alone – but as a woman in business, we must all remain strong and true to those principles espoused here.

  7. […] to relate effectively to their customers and employees, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi told attendees at BlogHer last […]

  8. Vickie Elmer says:

    What a fine leadership philosophy. I especially appreciate the communication and compass – since those seem to be missing or misused by people at all levels of Corporate America. Thanks, Jessica, and SmartBrief for sharing this post.

  9. Kathy B. says:

    I had the opportunity a few years ago to hear Indra in person at the Women's Food Service Forum. She appears to be a remarkable woman and a wonderful role model. Her presentation demonstrated all of the 5 "C"s that she spoke of in the BlogHer speech, as well as Compassion.

  10. Ad_Chickadee says:

    To John's point…Unfortunately this was the only thing half way worth while Indra discussed. The rest of her BlogHer11 "presentation" sounded like a PepsiCo infomercial.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If only the majority of leaders adhered to these principles. Unfortunately most can only hear their own voice and see what they consider to be their own successes!

  12. Leaders and mangers that always forget to add compassion to the list often lead and manage angry, unwilling employees who take it all out on the customer; hence resulting in bitter customer experiences. In dealing with humans, you cannot ignore empathy and compassion.

  13. […] Nooyi, recently spoke at the BlogHer Conference ’11.  In a post about the keynote address, Leadership Principles That Guide Her, blogger Jessica Miller-Merrill summarized Nooyi’s five leadership principles:  the Five […]

  14. Graeme Roberts says:

    Moving PepsiCo out of the corn syrup and sugar business would require compass, if that actually means integrity. It would also require courage and confidence in huge measure. PepsiCo drinks are killing people slowly, by the millions. Would the CEO of Philip Morris talk about the importance of integrity?

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you for the comment, and this was brought up during the Q&A and in the twitter stream during the conference. The CEO's response is that they are being responsible by offering a variety, a balance of foods that are conscious of these concerns with their already established and very successful product line. Not every consumer thinks that corn syrup is reason enough to quit buying or using the product.


  15. Nicholas says:

    Hi John, Connect! I think not only must leaders communicate, they need to connect and relate to people. No matter how great a speaker is, a person who does not connect with his team, audience, target market, or shareholders, will never be able to pull people into their camp!

  16. Rodney Dyers says:

    Why do we criticize this article negatively? I'm a teacher in South Africa and surely i will use whatever will be to the benefit of my students. I adjust, delete and even add some leadership qualities from other blogs to suite my environment. In my case it is working i already notice an improvement in the attitude of my learners. i take at least 5 textbooks to class, don't open one of them at all. I affirm to my learners "i am well prepared for my learners" every time a new class enters my class. I am confident because i am well prepared. I also like to add compassion. Showing compassion and being consistent play a major role in success. My "trouble" learners are slowly becoming role models and leaders in class. One 15 yr girl who stays in a one room shack with her mom, dad and brother, who was molested by her father when drunk and abused by her brother on a hourly basis is blossoming on a daily basis. By encouraging, guiding (compass) and showing compassion towards her CONSISTENTLY, she is investing in herself and developing as a leader, firstly to lead her to a better life and then inspiring other learners. We take things day by day. I just thank God for the guidance whether through the internet or a summary of a speech or what so ever as long as i can use the positive out of it. Thank you very very much i appreciate positive guidance.

  17. […] globally represent 70% of the buying decisions around the world,” PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said at BlogHer’11. ”There’s a shift happening among women in the […]

  18. […] Live from #BlogHer: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi on the leadership principles that guide her […]

  19. ali al beak says:

    ??? ??? ????? ???? ????? ??????? ???? ????? ?????? ?????? ?????? ??? ??? ??? ????? ????? ???????
    ????? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ????? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ????? ????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ???? ???????