Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

Coke, Pepsi, and On Being a Monomaniac on a Mission


In my last post, I offered Seven Simple Rules for Being a Leader. First on the list is: Be a monomaniac on a mission. Let’s take that a little deeper.

Two of the most successful companies on the planet are Coke and Pepsico. They battle one another across the globe for market dominance. As you would expect, they each have mission statements.

Here’s the official statements:

Coke: “to create a growth strategy that allows us to bring good to the world, by refreshing people every day and inspiring them with optimism through our brands and our actions.”

Pepsico: “to be the world’s premier consumer products company focused on convenient foods and beverages, seeking to produce healthy financial rewards to investors as we provide opportunities for growth and enrichment to our employees, our business partners, and the communities in which we operate.”

But here’s how they talk about their mission is real life:

Coke: “Put a can of Coke within arm’s reach of everyone on the planet.”

Pepsi: “Beat Coke.”

Simple stuff. Powerful missions, both. Maybe the battle for world dominion in the sugar water business isn’t your cup of tea (did I really say that?) but you have to admit, they’re both pretty good at what they do.

These organizations are filled with leaders who are monomaniacs on a mission. They are focused. They are purposeful. They look at every thing they do, from recruiting to branding, from marketing to production, with their eyes on one thing: putting a soft drink within arm’s reach of everyone, or beating their rival.

During this Great Recession, as some have called it, the need to be focused on a mission is even more important. I believe it’s imperative for leaders to pause and get anchored in a “recession survival mission” that takes them from here, wherever that is, to there – a return of normalcy and solvency and financial stability.

What’s your mission right now – say, for the next six months? What are you going to be a monomaniac about in the midst of this perfect storm? I suggest thinking about several pervasive questions probably on the minds of everyone in your organization:

  • Are we going to be alright?
  • Will my job be safe?
  • What’s the point of what we do, given the swirling winds around us?
  • Will this organization ever be “normal” again?
  • What’s essential to be doing right now, and what can be put on hold?
  • Can I trust my leader and/or my organization right now?

Your “six month mission,” which might have to stretch into a nine month mission or longer, must be simple, compelling, and true. And, it should go without saying, it must support your long-term mission.

Just as “Beat Coke” sums up “to be the world’s premier consumer products company focused on convenient foods and beverages, seeking to produce healthy financial rewards to investors as we provide opportunities for growth and enrichment to our employees, our business partners, and the communities in which we operate.”

Maybe it’s something like these, which were developed by clients of mine:

“To take advantage of unprecedented challenges to discover unanticipated opportunities.”

“First, we shall do no harm (to the organization and/or team).”

“Face our fears, conquer them, and emerge stronger.”

“Hang together, support one another, and find a way.”

What’s your six month mission? Determine that, and then stayed focused on it, every day, every hour, with each decision you need to make. Make it a rallying cry for your team. Live it, breathe it, bleed and sweat it constantly.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.