A highlight from Taken for Granted: Indra Nooyi wants us to reimagine the return to work


Got them. Any questions or comments before we dive in? No, I just nervous like hell no, it looks different in front of you. I think you've already cleared that bar a few times in your career. I mean, you retired as CEO of PepsiCo. I think at this point, you can't make any mistakes. You know, I'm still learning from people like you. So thank you for inviting me to your podcast. Well, sentiments are mutual. I finished reading the book last night and it is remarkable in how candid you are and how much you open up about your whole life. It really caught me off guard. Well, thank you. I mean, and it's a tough journey to talk about because you sometimes bury a lot of the things from the past. You don't talk about it. And then when you have to write it, you realize that one experience led to another experience led to another experience. And they all link. And you're a product of all your experiences. One place I wanted to start is just with the contradictions in your own upbringing. I thought it was just riveting that on the one hand you grow up in this conservative home in India where you have separate living rooms for men and women. Your parents had an arranged marriage. What was that like? You know, in those days growing up in India and that environment you just talked about was the normal environment. Nobody's parents hugged them and told them I loved them. I think it's almost like a new phenomenon to have parents hug and kiss and say, I love you. The emphasis was on providing a stable home life, creating a frame, giving you freedom within the frame. But it ended the day it was how do we give you the wings to fly and teach you to fly? And that's about it. And there was nothing else involved. And if you had any concerns or issues you want to talk about, everything resorted to. Okay, go pray. Or just ask God to give you away forward. So that was the upbringing we had. We never questioned it because there wasn't another model we could look at, you see? So we never questioned it. I love the question that your mom asked you when you were growing up. want to be? What was it? It was, well, how are you going to change the world? You know, she always pushed us to say, what do you want to contribute to the world? How are people going to remember you? My grandfather was the same way. He'd say, if you're not going to make a difference in anything you do, don't do it. Why bother to waste your time doing it? So it was always this notion of think of a broader society, a broader canvas, and how you can draw a picture that people appreciate on that broader canvas. It seems like early in your career that canvas was mostly about solving problems in businesses. Did it feel like there was a disconnect between what's my contribution and wait a minute, I'm making companies more profitable, but am I really making an impact in a meaningful way? Interestingly, when I was selling thread as my first job, you can say, what the hell is purpose and thread? But I didn't look at it that way. I was selling thread to those cut and so shops, which were 5 or 6 tailors making Madras cotton shirts to export. That was their livelihood. And I looked at the thread as making or breaking the livelihood because the color had to match, it couldn't run. So I had to deep sense of responsibility about those pools of thread, purposeful projects kept me whole. Whether it was selling feminine protection to women and giving them more liberation without a belt in their personal protection was a big thing. In India, selling branded personal protection itself was a big liberating factor for women. And that gave me a sense of great emotional involvement in that project. So if you really put yourself in each of these business situations Adam, you do a better job than saying, how do I maximize value for this company? Because then you might cut quality.

Coming up next