When I arrived at Campbell on January 8, 2001, the company had lost half its market value in the prior year. They had to cut costs to the point where they were literally taking the chicken out of chicken noodle soup and the product was no longer competitive.
Trust gives you the permission to give people direction, get everyone aligned, and give them the energy to go get the job done. Trust enables you to execute with excellence and produce extraordinary results. As you execute with excellence and deliver on your commitments, trust becomes easier to inspire, creating a flywheel of performance.
I have found that the more I honored others, the more they honored me and the more fulfilling my career became. In the business arena, I have been surrounded by people with awesome skills. The difference between good and great is determined by the mindset you choose to bring to the work. The concept of honor should be part of that mindset.
My most memorable meal is every Thanksgiving. I love the food: the turkey and stuffing; the sweet potatoes and rice, which come from my mother's Southern heritage; the mashed potatoes, which come from my wife's Midwestern roots; the Campbell's green-bean casserole; and of course, pumpkin pie.
I strongly believe that you can't win in the marketplace unless you win first in the workplace. If you don't have a winning culture inside, it's hard to compete in the very tough world outside.
I would assert that highly effective leaders are made more than they're born. Every leader I know who's been highly effective has worked hard at it, and they've been students of it. The more you're a student of leadership, the more you figure out what works for you and the more effective you're going to be.
As a CEO, you get sucked into dealing with all the tasks of being a CEO. There's a big meeting, a big discussion, and you get into all the big issues, which is your job. But what CEOs often lose sight of is that it's all about the people who work for you. For every 1,000 decisions, 999 were being made when I was not in the room.