Now, That’s Leadership!
post # 255 — December 6, 2006 — a Managing post
I just heard a fabulous presentation on leadership by Craig Weatherup, former Chairman and CEO of The Pepsi Bottling Group.
The group he was presenting to had just spent much of a day debating whether a leader needed to have â€œcharismaâ€ so it was almost a shock for many in the audience to meet this low-key, self-deprecating â€œdown-homeâ€ man. He may now own and live in (just as a summer home, mind you) a 110-room mansion formerly owned by the Rockefeller family, but he still comes across primarily as the humble (and loyal) graduate from the regional college (Arizona State) that he also is.
Among his messages was the importance of actually, really, sincerely, â€œdonâ€™t even try to fake itâ€ caring about people. Again and again, he stressed the view that you can only be an effective leader if you view it as a privilege to serve in that role.
Describing various times when he had to lead Pepsi, his employees, his Board, the bottlers, and others through times of change, he said he was only able to bring everyone with him because they trusted him. When asked why he thought people trusted him, he said that he had worked very diligently for all his life to connect with people as individuals, not just people in a role. Just as one small (or not so small) example, he made it his business to talk with fork-lift truck drivers whenever he visited the companyâ€™s bottling plants which he did regularly.
People trusted me, he said, because they knew me. They knew I cared about them. You canâ€™t fake that, he said. Thatâ€™s what gave me the power to lead.