For example, it is understood within the group that I want to know your top three priorities. If you want to launch a new product, but you need to take away [resources] from one of those core priorities to launch that product, then you shouldn’t do it. And if your bottler doesn’t have the capabilities to handle that product, you shouldn’t launch it. But if you can figure out how to do all of that in a way that still funds your core, if you have followed the right process, and if you are in the right marketplace with the right capabilities on the marketing side, then by all means go ahead.
We have Maaza juice in India, for example. The local team wanted to launch a Maaza milkshake, which is a wonderful mango dairy product. Dairy is a very relevant category in India, and Maaza milkshakes were received extremely well by consumers. My group function heads and the global function heads contributed to this by supporting the local team. This is not a bureaucratic approval–based system. Of course, there are approvals, but once the strategy and business plan are approved, local teams can execute.
S+B: Have you had much reverse innovation, in which a local group comes up with an idea that you take to other markets?
BOZER: Yes. One innovation that came out of India is the solar-powered coolers. We’re looking to expand that to other markets. There’s great engineering talent in India. Another product that shows promise is Minute Maid’s Pulpy, an orange juice with pulp that did extremely well in China. We expanded it into many countries. We have also taken communications elsewhere. Turkey, for example, had a very successful Ramadan communication to celebrate the holy month in Muslim countries. We took that to other Muslim countries in our group.
S+B: How do you recruit the talent you need?
BOZER: We look for critical experiences and functional competencies. And we ask about candidates: Do they represent the values of the company? We’re about optimism. A pessimistic person wouldn’t work out.
The nationality and gender don’t really matter. On my group leadership team of 18 people, I have 12 nationalities represented, including individuals from Zimbabwe, Scotland, the United States, Turkey, South Africa, India, Croatia, and elsewhere.
The most important competency is leadership. It takes very strong leadership to be able to explain the environment, establish a vision, and rally the troops. Command and control, in most cases, does not work. If you try to control everything, the system won’t work.
- William J. Holstein is a contributing editor to s+b and the author of The Next American Economy: Blueprint for a Real Recovery (Walker & Company, 2011).