Principles and Practices of Leadership and Management,
The oldest and the most relevant management and marketing mantra, that has been and will always remain is ‘Consumer is the King’. When Director Jorge Rubio of PepsiCo dynamically transformed the marketing and research unit at PepsiCo in to a more innovative and creative Consumers Strategic Insight, the aforesaid marketing mantra was the key to this transformation. The objective of the said revolution is to get a detailed proactive insight into what the consumers really want and convert them into foresights to prepare the organization to bring innovative products to satisfy this want. The key element here is “sensing” which consumer needs are under served both from a corporate and current perspective and responding accordingly. This proactive and innovative approach of leadership is a key to the out of box thinking and creative outcome of the team. Out of the various theories of Leadership which is the most apt for a particular organization is a matter of debate as the leadership has to be dynamic and responding to changes proactively rather than following set path of any particular theory. Thus, what PepsiCo has done in this case is a classic example of contingency and contemporary theories of Leadership sailing in the same boat together powered by the Traits of the leader and the intricacies of the situation.
Critical evaluation of the Leadership theory
Collins (2010) has mentioned in his analysis of the Leadership style at Pepsi that its hardcore rival Coca Cola has to spend enormous financial resources in order to stay ahead in competition, whereas Pepsi’s effective leadership style often gains competitive edge in many aspects with optimum use of its financial resources. The Consumer Strategic Insight set up is a classic example of the innovative leadership style. Leaders play an important role in the success of any organization and their leadership flair takes the organization to greater heights. It not only has tangible effects on in terms of financial gains and competitive edge but also intangible optimistic effects within the organization such as energized environment and motivated employees. In this case, the Consumer Strategic insight team members have been given a free hand for creative thinking, innovative approach to consumer demand analysis, data collection, interpretation and usage and to keep on trying new ideas and not fear failure. When looking up to Google’s corporate creativity center and having the idea materialize at Pepsi, the Director Gorge Rubio has projected the contemporary and transformational theory of leadership where the leader stimulates and inspires the team members to achieve extraordinary outcomes by transforming their vision and personality to change expectations, discernments and motivations for working towards common goal of the organization. This has resulted in provided PepsiCo the upper hand in competition and catering to its customers in a manner where the others fail. PepsiCo has many insights teams — at least 22 across North American beverages, corporate, the Frito-Lay group and so on. These teams comprise of about 16 members each and are powered with urbane market research function that uses focus groups, sales data and research to analyze who its customers are and what they want. This data is then sent to other Business Units and groups within the company — marketing or product, for example — so they can use it to make better decisions.
Leadership Skills and Competencies required
It is the work of the Leader to ensure that the followers are aptly motivated, stimulated and enthusiastic in achieving the common goal of the organization. As times and situations change, the leaders adapt to different leadership theories and styles to overcome the challenges and tap the opportunities making the team the key element of the organizations success alongwith the external factors. In this case, there are no formal targets or set guidelines which would provide a roadmap for the employees to follow and the leader to evaluate. Here, the style or theory of leadership which the management is following is subject to loose controls rather than monitored performance. Therefore, it is important to lead the team members in a way that would foster greater creativity as well as help achieve the goal of increased efficiency and innovation in Consumer Strategic insights. The crucial competencies of leadership required in this type of open environment as in this case are –
- Inspirational Motivation
- Consideration for individuals : Emotional Intelligence
- Intellectual Stimulation
Taking together these attributes are all about creating a productive and trusting environment which would self-motivate the employees to work towards the organizational success. The following paragraphs would discuss these skills and competencies in greater details.