Richard Nixon was president. I could almost feel the confusion and fear that gripped my parents’ hearts as we sat in front of our large TV to watch the latest Watergate developments flooding our nation (well, the screen on the Zenith itself wasn’t big at all, only the console was large enough to hide behind when playing hide-and-seek). Come to find out, the frenzy had nothing to do with water, a gate or a ship; not even a boat!
That was half a century ago and times have become unpredictable and occasionally turbulent again. All the same, as we were fortunate to live in this great land of opportunity then, financially and in other ways, we are so today. But luck played no part. There has been great sacrifice, mostly unseen and certainly unknown to others.
As with many things in life, what becomes the end of something is just timely opportunity. And yet many miss the boat, as either they are unable to recognize it, or because when a little help is needed, they couldn’t find anyone to give them a boost.
Think for a moment though, about exiting parliaments, cabinets and administrations, retirees and those benched in sports due to injury. As you do, pivot to think of their successors or about the ventures that some may have discovered as a result.
Now tether these scenarios around business and the opportunities out there today. They are few and far between, right? Not to mention that the move up is typically steeper and narrower than it appears, and even more daunting than some make it out to be. Without help from others, it can truly be quite a daring feat!
One popular and encouraging story that many of us fall back on is of another Richard. You remember him—the inventor of the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. We are going to use him and the group of visionaries at Frito-Lay as the model from which to build upon. Richard’s story inspires, gives hope to blue-collar workers, and facilitates ideas to companies on how to level the climb. Best Places to Work use him in pep talks and personal development meetings for this reason.
Many times, greatness will come in ridiculous forms.
A ridiculous idea might be a billion-dollar idea.
~ Richard Montañez
Richard Montañez was neither polished nor well spoken. A high school dropout, he spent more than a decade working as a janitor at the Frito-Lay plant where he was employed. But nothing would deter him from his intended endeavors. What Richard did daily, he did to the best of his ability—nothing subpar—not even mopping company floors. He was passionate in his pursuit and his “someday” came with a seismic shift that made all of the difference for him.
So go with me, why not? Let’s be flies on the wall during [what could have been] Richard’s promotion meeting absent the Enrico power team.
— "Come on in and have a seat, Richard. Man, what a ride this has been for all of us, you included. You are just amazing, and we can’t thank you enough! Richard, besides the extra bonus in next week’s paycheck, we want to offer you an opportunity to grow with the company.”
Richard replies, “Thank you, sir. I don’t know what to say.” “Well, that’s quite alright Richard. So…how would you feel about leading our facilities team as the new department manager? Since you don’t have a college degree, there are a few courses you can take and hands-on training, of course, but the promotion will be effective immediately with a substantial 15% pay raise.”…. —
That, in and of itself, would have been an amazing opportunity, yet the fact that they allowed him to spread his wings in sales and marketing proved they were broadminded; maybe even calculated risk takers. If you know this story, we suggest that without Roger Enrico (then CEO) and his group at the helm, at some point Richard would have thrown in the towel; moving on or settling for less than his true worth, stuck in a rut and ineffective, with unrealized dreams and unmet goals. It happens all too often.
In relation to opportunity, following are some basics that start with B!
Traditionally, HR managers and department heads see the hiring process as an opportunity for the candidate, when in fact, opportunity is bilateral. In other words, the offer and acceptance doesn’t only benefit the candidate or the employee, it serves the company or business well. It is also a given that in certain situations risk is followed by reward and the payoff can be exponential.
At Frito-Lay, there was a marked difference to highlight. Perhaps it will help someone make an internal change, or at the very least the consideration thereof. When the marketing contest was over, things could have gone in a “different direction” for Richard Montañez, but the journey was only beginning with a planned-out course of development opportunities.
In his own words, here is what really happened that historical day.
— At one point during the presentation, an executive in the room interjected: “How much market share do you think you can get?”
“It hit me that I had no idea what he was talking about, or what I was doing,” Montañez recalled. “I was shaking, and I damn near wanted to pass out…[but] I opened my arms and I said, ‘This much market share!’ I didn’t even know how ridiculous that looked.”
The room went silent as the CEO stood up and smiled. “Ladies and gentlemen, do you realize we have an opportunity to go after this much market share?” he said, stretching out his arms. He turned to Montañez. “Put that mop away, you’re coming with us.” —
Let’s talk about diversity for just a moment. The new campaign which encouraged collaboration, also preserved individualization. This is key for minorities especially, in every industry, since the greater majority is team Stew Pot, as opposed to team Melting Pot. The point being? A melting pot melts all of the ingredients together to become one, whereas a stew pot melds and preserves them intact. Every piece, each morsel has an opportunity to blend in a useful way.
We mustn’t strive to become of one culture and one language (this was attempted in Babel and their plan was an epic fail!). Being a free multicultural society, we need to retain our unique individuality and distinction in just about any collaboration we seek. That in a nutshell is what the Frito-Lay campaign managed to achieve.
In following this example all the way as not to miss any nuggets, take note that Cheetos remained a cornmeal-based cheesy snack stick and added spices to produce the flaming hot flavor. They never once pulled back to transform their product into something completely new. They followed the project along to completion and have added value to it through the years; believing and standing by their original product.
Cheetos has now been introduced around the world in a variety of other flavors, like ketchup (Poland), peanut butter (Eastern Europe), strawberry (Russia), Pepsi (Japan), and Japanese steak; to name a few. And while Richard’s story is unique, it is not isolated. Like him, others have been mentored and guided all the way through to success. Along their journeys, they found bridge builders and those who shattered glass ceilings.
As far as Richard Montañez, who currently holds the office of Vice President of Multicultural Sales & Community Activation for PepsiCo North America, he remains loyal and still humbly takes pride in every personal and corporate accomplishment.
Influencer, Author and Human Resources professional, Brigette Hyacinth, says: “Many people believe that humility is the opposite of pride when, in fact, it is a point of equilibrium.” For years, I can recall the head of our company and other leaders share motivational messages, such as “…be all in,” “[L]et the company go from your head to your heart,” “[G]et comfortable with uncomfortable,” “…step over your bucket,” “…don’t be sore; soar!” and more. They never asked of anyone, what they did not walk out beforehand. The celebrated qualities they unanimously possess are loyalty, humility and pride in their products and brand.
Not all treasure is silver and gold.
Here are seven reasons why humility matters most in our day-to-day dealings.
1. It is a vital component of moral fortitude.
2. It encourages openness for understanding; transparency for clear communication.
3. It facilitates networking and is the catalyst for people to work well together.
4. It helps do away with negative competition.
5. It grounds individuals, eliminating hubris and disposing of the chip on the shoulder.
6. It enriches and supports other good character traits.
7. It cultivates an attitude of gratitude.
The leadership qualities that Mr. Enrico and other front runners possess(ed) are sustained by humility and therefore worthy to underscore, as they are scarce and in high demand just as much if not more than jobs.
We have the privilege to have come up after influencers and disruptors for positive change who inspire through incomparable contributions. They have left an indelible mark, transforming civilization to make it more efficient, easier, safer, healthier, kinder, more fun and all-around greater; not just for their generation but for posterity. They endured great sacrifice; paved the way, hoisted people up, and calmed the seas so that everyone could have the opportunities that they were either given, or wished and worked for but didn’t get themselves.
Opportunity is docked for a time and there are essential qualities in order to board. Richard had them and still does. The question we must ask ourselves is this; Do I? If not, there’s still time for personal growth—if so, let’s not miss the boat, my friends!
Everything is swift-changing; yet as king tides of confusion and fear come rolling in, the Direct Selling channel of distribution is under full sail. Hundreds of thousands have reached the mile marker of success. Luck played no part—but they are waiting to help you aboard!
Get started today and check out the possibilities of what Team National can do for you. To learn about the Team National opportunity, please visit