Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ideas Bubbling in This Exec

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ideas Bubbling in This Exec

Article excerpt

As you meet executives, notice how they fall into two distinct groups. In Group A, we see colorful, opinionated and adventuresome leaders.

In Group B, we find. . . . Hold on, what happened to Group B? Oh, there they are. They're standing by that gray wall and for a minute they disappeared. That's their specialty - fitting in.

Among the first group, you'll find the entrepreneurial spirit fizzing away; these are men and women looking for a boat to rock. The folks in the second group are mostly career managers, those who form committees to investigate boat stabilization, the ones who rose to the top by being the last ones left after all the competing executives retired or opened carpet-cleaning franchises.

It makes sense that the two types would tend toward distinct personalities - entrepreneurs court risk, organizationites duck it.

But there are occasional sightings of that rare species, the crossover executive, an entrepreneur trapped inside a corporate body. I met one recently at the annual conference put on by the First Interstate Center for Services Marketing: Craig Weatherup, president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola USA, a man who resembles the actor Robert Duvall in appearance and in courtly intensity.

I sought out Weatherup because I read an interview in which he was discussing the marketing of All Sport (Pepsi's alternative to Gatorade). Speaking of some failed marketing maneuver, Weatherup said something like, "It was a bad idea. It was my idea, but it was a bad one." Very Group A.

When I asked him about that statement, he said, "You have got to value failure." He also added a Zen-like statement about taking risks: "You don't know what you don't know." Which I took to mean, if you're certain of the outcome of a new endeavor, how creative can it be?

Weatherup also sounded entrepreneurial when he said, "The status-quo is our enemy," and, "I don't like to write memos . …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.