How do you get leaders to loosen up?

Training for PepsiCo

PowerPoint’s got a lot to answer for.


Too often, leaders think leadership lives in a deck. It doesn’t.

We all know what a great leader sounds like. Clear: definitely. But often: inspiring. Spellbinding, even.

PepsiCo asked to us to help their leaders slip out of the clutches of their slides and get more comfortable telling real stories.

So with a team of four crack trainers, we headed to the Talent Academy in Moscow.

The thing about stories is we tell them all the time: when we get home from work; in the pub; in the canteen. We just don’t think about them as stories. Our job is often to raise people’s awareness of skills they already have, and get them to apply them more consciously in a different context.

So, right at the start, we asked a few participants to tell us a few off-the-cuff stories. And what did we get?

Characters. Drama. Humour. Beautiful, memorable detail.

Just what you need to make your message resonate. We spent a day teasing skills out of PepsiCo’s people they didn’t know they had. And since then we’ve been doing the same thing, in different ways, with teams all over the world.

From taking our initial brief, throughout the entire process, to delivery and follow-up, the team were a pleasure to work with, with the result that many participants rated it their favourite day on the leadership programme.

“The team are very challenging of learners but in an incredibly supportive way.”

Emma Vargas Brock, senior L&D manager, PepsiCo

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