Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Bill Aulet introducing
Charlie and Brad Feld at MIT

The Calloway Way: Results and Integrity -- Fireside chat with author Charlie Feld at MIT Sloan

Last week it was a pleasure to sit in an auditorium full of MIT Sloan students who love everything about leadership and know their tech down cold. Brad Feld, the TechStars founder, and mega-entrepreneur is a rock star in this crowd. He was in Cambridge to host a fireside chat introducing his uncle Charlie Feld’s new book on the legendary leader, Wayne Calloway, called The Calloway Way; Results & Integrity.

Wayne Calloway joined Frito-Lay in 1967, stepping up to CEO in 1976. After this he was PepsiCo’s CEO from 1986 to the mid-1990’s. The book’s foreword was written by current PepsiCo CEO, Indra K. Nooyi demonstrating how high female talent has risen since the Madmen days when Calloway ran the company.

In the book, CEO Nooyi explains how fortunate she was to have worked at Pepsi when Calloway was there and explains his leadership mantra. “The Calloway Way … meant getting results with integrity.” As she says, “He understood that … talent is the deciding factor that takes a company from good to great.”

The fireside chat ranged from challenges CEO’s in our digital networked age will face, to Calloway’s sage advice for leaders and how timely it still is. “I think Calloway would be an extraordinary leader today,” Brad Feld said after explaining what an inspirational CEO he had been to so many current business leaders, "more influential than Jack Welch."

Calloway was an early pioneer in leadership theory about how to attract and develop great talent in order to make a company grow. “We aren’t going to run out of financial capital but human capital first,” author Charlie Feld said as he and Brad talked about the book and Calloway's great thoughts on talent.

Charlie credits his own success in business (his company was sold to EDS in 2004 and then to HP in 2008) to the 20 years he spent at PepsiCo learning about leadership from Wayne Calloway.

Brad Feld had more to say on CEO’s and leadership as well, quoting VC Fred Wilson’s 3 lessons for CEO’s from his blog, AVC and his well-known MBA Mondays series, “A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.”

Brad Feld recent trilogy of books on the entrepreneurial ecosystem is essential reading for this crowd at MIT Sloan. His Startup Communities, Startup Boards and Startup Life teach entrepreneurs how to thrive in a world Wayne Calloway would have welcomed.

Brad and Charlie Feld talked about how you grow a small start-up team or a very large company, leading with Calloway's simple advice. In 1995, Wayne Calloway gave a speech explaining how growth and great talent go hand in hand, "... eventually, a non-growing business withers and dies. Nobody with real ambition goes to work there. The good ideas and good people go elsewhere." “Calloway believed in results, not at all costs, but results with integrity,” author Charlie Feld explained.

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