Strategic Thinking: A Future Back Perspective

Indra Nooyi

Lesson time 10:15 min

In this lesson, Indra shares her approach for long-term strategic thinking, designed to challenge assumptions and breed innovation.

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Topics include: In this chapter, Indra shares her approach for long-term strategic thinking that challenges assumptions and breeds innovation.


[MUSIC PLAYING] INSTRUCTOR: Now that you're armed with leadership skills and you understand your business cold, it's time to learn about how to set a strategic direction for a business. Real strategic thinking is about connecting dots to create shapes you never knew could exist, and forging a path through these multiple shapes that are being brought together, and creating a path that nobody's created. Because the world will change. The challenge is to constantly study it and see what you need to retool today for the future. Sometimes, people just look at the company and say, where is it going the next 10 years? And they say that's strategic thinking, without even thinking about the environment-- how is it changing? How is the competition changing? How are consumer needs changing? So don't just project the company out. Start with what's the world going to look like over the next five or 10 years, and then work backwards. So this is like a future back perspective of the company. And that allows you to think about where should the company go to remain successful over the next decade? Remember when we talked about curiosity and creativity? You've got to be very curious about the world. You've got to connect it all, come back with shapes and scenarios. And that requires not just the thinking, but courage to pick a scenario and pick a direction, and then put the investments and all of that in the company towards that scenario. If most companies did that, if all companies did that, they'll be around for a long time. There's a great list of the 50 failed companies of the last decade. Take those 50 companies and read all about why they failed. And ask yourself this question-- had this company thought future back, could that company have been around today? And it will surprise you the answer is yes. They were just incapable of thinking future back as opposed to extrapolating today forward. I look at companies like Polaroid. Polaroid had outstanding technologies. So did Kodak, both in the photography space. NARRATOR: Some folks head first for the exhibit where they can see the world's largest outdoor photographic prints in color. Here, 15 exhibit sections demonstrate dramatically the influence of photography on many aspects of modern life. INSTRUCTOR: In fact, they had a lot of the technologies that could have made them successful, but they didn't look into the future and say, how fast would these technologies evolve? And do we need to change our model? The existing model was making them so much money, they didn't know how to retool the model for the new world. And so they failed. I think if you look at company after company, it's not that they didn't know the change was coming. They didn't really plan for the change. They didn't know how to make the transformation. And they didn't understand the magnitude of the change. And you see that it's because they didn't think future back. You may not need strat...

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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