Fast Company

How to Lead in 2017

Fab Four This issue’s cover subjects were chosen from among our Innovation Festival speakers.

I didn’t know what to do. A protester had just stood up in the audience, shouting questions toward the stage, where I was moderating. As host of the event, it was my responsibility to defuse the situation. But how?

That’s when PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, one of my guests onstage, stepped in. Nooyi calmly and firmly addressed the question with no hint of defensiveness. The audience applauded. When another protester tried to interrupt the session again several minutes later, the people seated nearby shouted down the disrupter. Completely unruffled, Nooyi continued on with our interview. The crowd came away even more impressed by her. She turned adversity to her advantage.

There are other compelling messages that Nooyi delivered that day (several of which are highlighted in Food for Thought on page 76), but I find myself coming back again and again to how she dealt with those outbursts. We all have a vision, overt or subconscious, of how we

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