Kraft CEO decision reflects a “There are no small parts, only small actors” perspective
“Share your success and help others succeed. Give everyone a chance to have a piece of the pie. If the pie’s not big enough, make a bigger pie.” – Dave Thomas
I have always liked the above admonishment by Wendy’s Founder Dave Thomas because it reflects a selfless, humble style of leadership that was for a time lost in the fanfare of the celebrity CEO era.
You know the bigger than life executives who upstage their product and companies to the point that they become a brand unto themselves.
Of course I am not suggesting that aspiring to leave an indelible and ubiquitous mark is in and of itself wrong. The problem I have is when an executive actively seeks to establish his or her stardom at the expense of their organization and the people with whom they work.
For this reason when I read a May 28th, 2012 article which talked about the decision by Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld to relinquish a third of her business responsibilities and voluntarily leave the helm of a $48 billion organization in favor of assuming the top spot in a $31 billion spin-off, I was both impressed and inspired.
In a world that increasingly champions a bigger is better mantra, Rosenfeld’s move to focus her energies on Kraft’s smaller global snacks division which includes the Oreos, Cadbury, and Trident brands reflects a true attitude of servant leadership.
It also demonstrates a level of self-confidence in which the CEO is not hesitant to share the front stage spotlight.
No wonder she has been referred to as a calm, cool and classy CEO.
So what can we learn from this executive’s selfless actions?
To start, and to take a line from the world of Hollywood, there are no small parts, only small actors. In other words, whatever role you have within your organization, do it with both a passion and integrity of purpose, and your brand will stand out like a bright beacon in the night.
This in turn will firmly establish you as a team player, while building creditability and trust with people at all levels of your company. It is from this position of positive branding that opportunities for growth and career emerge.