7 C's of Leadership: Your Core Abilities

Indra Nooyi

Lesson time 12:55 min

Indra shares an overview of her leadership formula—the “7 Cs”—and provides a lesson on the first three Cs of this philosophy: Competence, Creativity, and Courage.

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Topics include: Indra shares an overview into her leadership formula - the ‘7 C’s’ - and provides a lesson on the first three C’s of this philosophy: Competence, Creativity and Courage.


- Leadership is a very hard concept to define. Yet, there are so many books written about leadership. In fact, somebody told me there are more books written about leadership than any other topic. And so you can adopt anybody's formula for what leadership is. What I'm going to share with you is-- what I have come up with is a simple formula for thinking about leadership that applies to anybody from sort of an entry-level manager to, about, middle- to senior-level manager. And I've condensed it all into the seven C's. Those seven C's are competence, creativity, courage, communication, coaching, compass, and citizenship. And these are the personal attributes we're going to explore in these first few lessons of the class. I think it's important that you internalize it, because it stood me in good stead over the years. The first C is competence. When somebody comes into a job and you say, hey, I'm going to be valuable, because I have an MBA from this school, or I have an undergraduate degree from some prestigious school, that only works for the first three or four months. Pretty soon, everybody in the company is saying, what is this person good at? What is the core competence of this person? What is the value-add of this person, as opposed to the degree they had, which was yesterday's news? And one of the best ways to demonstrate this is by developing a hip pocket skill, by which I mean a skill you become so competent at, you're seen across the organization as having a proposition that would benefit the company. So how do you develop this and make it relevant? You've got to understand, what are the levers that make a difference in this company. And once you understand that, you can ask yourself, do I have a hip pocket skill that plays to that value-creating lever? So if you know revenue management, and it doesn't apply to the industry you're in, it's not particularly useful. So you've got to make sure that hip pocket skill is relevant to that industry. Otherwise, develop one really fast. So people should look at you and say, I know what so-and-so's proposition is. I know what they're really, really good at, and the company needs it. I was known for one major competency that I brought to the table, and that was how to simplify something that was incredibly complex. Normally, complex problems that others couldn't solve would be handed off to me. It was, give it to Indra. She will simplify the complex, and she'll make it understandable and figure out a way to solve it. How did I get that skill? When I graduated from business school, I went to work for the Boston Consulting Group. And the wonderful thing about consulting is, it teaches you those skills, because you're dealing with so many industries in such a short time, and you have to deal with the complexity of issues that's pretty staggering. You have no choice but to simplify the complex and quickly get to the crux of the problem and solve ...

About the Instructor

Ever wonder what it takes to be the CEO of a Fortune 50 company? Indra Nooyi didn’t set out to become the first woman of color to do so. She simply (and tenaciously) focused on big ideas. As the former CEO of PepsiCo, Indra transformed a global industry. Now she’s teaching you her transformational approach to leadership. Learn to simplify complex problems, persuade others to buy into your vision, and discover how leading with purpose can improve your life beyond the boardroom.

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Indra Nooyi

Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, teaches you to think big, be brave, and make purpose-driven changes at work.

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