Your largest fear carries your greatest growth.

PEPSI Growth & Teamwork (PDF)

A: What do you think about being acquired by Google?
B: At first blush, I didn’t understand why we were bought out. I was on the fence about it and it was a bitter pill to swallow. I thought we got the short end of the stick.
A: I understand how you feel. I felt like we jumped from the frying pan into the fire. It really got under my skin.
B: However, now that we are on the same boat. I think Google runs a very tight ship. It’s a breath of fresh air and I think we’ve gotten a second wind.
A: You’re preaching to the choir!


At first blush (i): at first glimpse, upon first impression or consideration.
To buy someone out (pv): to purchase the ownership of a company.
To be on the fence about something (i): to be undecided about something.
A bitter pill to swallow (i): a unpleasant or painful situation to accept.
To get the short end of the stick (i): to suffer the bad effects of a situation, to get a bad deal.
To jump from the frying pan into the fire (i): to go from a bad situation to an even worse situation.
To get under someone’s skin (i): To bother, annoy or irritate someone intentionally, often used in sports.
To be on the same boat (i): to be in the same situation, more often used for unpleasant situations.
To run a tight ship (i): to run an organization in an orderly, disciplined and efficient manner.
A breath of fresh air (i): something or someone new and different, which makes it seem more exciting.
To get a second wind (i): to get a second burst of energy, to have increased energy after feeling tired or weak.
To preach to the choir (i): to make your case to a group of people who already agree with you.

A: I will not sign off on this merger! It doesn’t sit right with me.
B: Look at the big picture. It’s a win-win situation. Joining forces will be mutually beneficial.
A: We have different visions for the future. We have completely different company cultures. We don’t build any kind of synergy. We’re not a good fit.
B: Our company is having a down year. We’ve tried cutting back on our expenses. We have to cut our losses and move on. At the end of the day, this is our only solution.
A: I understand that recently we’ve been in hot water, that we’ve been in a rut, that we’ve come under fire from shareholders. I understand all that. However, I’m sticking to my guns. With all due respect, this is idea does not hold water. The writing is on the wall.
B: Don’t make me pull rank.


To sign off on something (pv): to approve something formally by a signature.
To sit right with someone (i): to be acceptable, or understandable.
The big picture (i): a complete understanding or view of something, the entire perspective of a situation.
A win-win situation (i): mutual benefit between two or more parties.
A down year (i): an unsuccessful year.
To cut back on something (pv): to reduce the amount of something (expenses, spending, or food).
To cut one’s losses (i): to stop doing something that is already failing. To stop fighting a losing battle.
To move on (pv): to continue moving forwards.
At the end of the day (e): finally, ultimately, basically, essentially, in the end.
To be in hot water (i): in a lot of trouble.
To be in a rut (i): to be in a situation where no progress has been made, to have a lifestyle that doesn’t change.
To come under fire (i): to be criticized.
To stick to one’s guns (i): to stand up to one’s rights, convictions; to maintain one’s opinion or point of view.
With all due respect (e): to politely criticize or disagree with someone.
Something does not hold water (i): a statement does not appear to be correct or reasonable.
The writing is on the wall (i): there are clear signs that something unpleasant is going to happen.
To pull rank (i): to use the power that your position gives you to order someone around.

A: Richard, I want you to take charge of the next project. Rallying the troops is your bread and butter.
B: Thank you so much for this opportunity.
A: But I do have one condition…I want to talk about the elephant in the room. I know you have a beef with Charles but he will be joining your team. He has the complementary skills to make this project successful.
B: Teaming up with him is out of the question. He’s a piece of work. If we work together, we’ll just wind up arguing all the time.
A: I need you to smooth things over with Charles. It’s time to bury the hatchet.
B: He rubs me the wrong way. Every time I try to talk to him, he gives me the cold shoulder.
A: When there’s a will, there’s a way.


To take charge of something (i): to assume control, to take responsibility.
To rally the troops (i): to unite a group of people towards a shared goal. To increase morale of a group.
One’s bread and butter (i): one’s livelihood, source of income or competency.
The elephant in the room (i): a sensitive issue that is obvious to everyone, but avoided or not talked about.
To have a beef with someone (s): to have a problem or a grudge with someone.
To team up with someone (pv): to join forces with someone or with a group, to form a team with.
Something is out of the question (e): something is impossible, or not allowed.
A piece of work (s)(n): a complicated, difficult person to get along with.
To wind up (pv)(s): to end up, to result in, to do something eventually.
To smooth/patch something over with someone (pv): to make problems, difficulties, or disagreements less serious, to make an unfriendly relationship friendlier. Usually, by talking to the other person.
To bury the hatchet (i): To make peace, to end a fight and become friends.
To rub someone the wrong way (i): to annoy or irritate someone, to make someone feel uncomfortable.
To give someone the cold shoulder (i): to purposely ignore someone, or to show no interest in someone.
When there’s a will, there’s a way (p): You can accomplish anything if you work hard or are motivated. ‘Will’ means strong motivation to do something.

PEPSI Discussion Questions

  1. Recently on the news, have you heard about any companies buying out other companies?
  2. Tell me about a time you jumped from the frying pan and into the fire.
  3. Do you know any companies that are run like a tight ship?
  4. Are you skilled at looking at the big picture?
  5. Is there something that you have to cut back on? 
  6. Have you ever been in a rut financially, creatively, at work, or in your personal life?
  7. Have you ever come under fire for something you did or did not do?
  8. Are you someone who sticks to his or her guns, or do you often change your point of view?
  9. Do you like taking charge or do you prefer to stand back and support others?
  10. Which historical leaders were skilled at rallying the troops?
  11. What is your bread and butter? Your core competency?
  12. Have you ever had a beef with one of your co-workers, classmates or close friends? What happened?
  13. Tell me about someone who rubbed you the wrong way.
  14. Imagine you and your friend had a huge argument. Choose the topic with your partner. Role-play how you would smooth things over and bury the hatchet. How would you have this difficult conversation? What steps would you follow? .