Yum! Brands CEO David Novak shares leadership strategies in new book

Jan. 3, 2012

Yum! Brands has announced the publication of "Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen" (Portfolio Penguin, January 2012) by David Novak, Yum! chairman and chief executive officer. Novak shares the secrets of the "Taking People With You" leadership program he has developed and taught during his 15 years at Yum!.

The book offers a step-by-step guide to setting big goals, getting others on board, achieving break-through results and celebrating after people "shock the skeptics." Specific tools are included at the end of each chapter that challenge readers to reflect on how they are doing on key aspects of leadership.

Novak teaches that leaders will never make big things happen until they learn how to get people aligned, enthusiastic and focused relentlessly on the mission. Yum!'s track record of success, with at least 13 percent earnings-per-share growth for each of the last nine years, proves his point.

Under his leadership, Yum! has established itself as a global powerhouse going from approximately 20 percent profits coming from outside the U.S. in 1997 to more than 65 percent in 2010, while driving one of the highest returns on invested capital in the restaurant industry. Today, Yum! is the leading retail developer in China as well as the largest and fastest growing restaurant company in emerging markets. Additionally, Novak has built Yum!'s entire global people-first culture around reward and recognition to drive results.

"Taking People With You" is filled with wisdom from Novak as well as leadership advice from business icons and management experts such as Warren Buffett, Jack Welch, John O'Keeffe (creator and author of Business Beyond the Box), Larry Senn (chairman and founder of Senn Delaney) and many others. It teaches people to change the way they think about leadership, with practices such as:

  1. Get inside the heads of your people. You can't convince them of anything until you see the world from their perspective.
  2. Think big. If your sales growth last year was 3.5 percent, don't aim for 4 percent this year, aim for 15 percent. Even if you fail, you'll probably do better than you would have with a smaller goal.
  3. Practice "extraordinary authenticity." Show occasional vulnerability and admit when you don't have the answers.
  4. Look for good ideas in unexpected places. Earlier in Novak's career when he was head of the Frito-Lay account at an advertising agency, he and his team came up with the idea for Cool Ranch Doritos during a field trip to a grocery store's salad dressing aisle.
  5. Choose a can-do mind-set. There's a huge difference between a boss who says "We can try this" and one who says "We can do this!"
  6. Cheer for first downs, not just touchdowns. Publicly recognizing and rewarding small wins keeps everyone motivated for the long haul.
  7. Get rid of cynics. In many teams one person will reject your values and spread negative energy. Moving that person out will show everyone else you're serious.

All of Novak's proceeds from "Taking People With You" will be donated to the United Nations World Food Program in conjunction with Yum! Brands global hunger relief efforts.

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Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability , Franchising & Growth , Operations Management , Pizza Hut

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