As he worked has way up through the ranks of PepsiCo, David Novak had a realization: you can’t lead a great organization of any size without getting your people aligned, enthusiastic, and focused relentlessly on the mission.
Fortunately, as he was growing in position, he was also a constant and ongoing student of leadership. He’d eventually not only lead his own organizations (becoming president of both KFC and Pizza Hut while they were still under the PepsiCo umbrella) but would go on to be Chairman & CEO of the parent company of three of the largest restaurant chains in the world after they were spun off into their own separate company, YUM! Brands, Inc. (1.4 million employees in more than 117 countries.)
The trademarked program he developed, Taking People With You, which is also the title of his book, he now teaches all over the world. It centers around setting big goals, getting people to work together, blowing past your targets, and celebrating both the touchdowns, as well as the first downs — the smaller victories — along the way. But don’t be fooled by the familiar sound. He shows us how to get it done.
What Mr. Novak did in his book is provide a step-by-step course in leadership. And, like all great leaders, his entire philosophy and methodology revolves around focusing on making others successful.
What he does, works. YUM Brand’s stock has increased over six times and they’ve had 13 percent growth or more for the past nine years. He’s been featured as one of the world’s “30 Best CEOs” by Barron’s, one of Fortune’s “Top People in Business,” and one of the “100 Best-Performing CEO’s in the World” by Harvard Business Review.
Personally, I loved the book. And, it was an honor to get to speak with him and extract some wisdom we can all use, whether a one-person show, a medium-sized firm, or a major international conglomerate.
Enjoy our chat.
What did you learn from David Novak during our discussion that you can apply right away?
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I’d like to share this chat with my network marketing team. It’s perfect for that paradigm as well. The newsletter goes out through Constant Contact. Is it ok to use this link or do you have another link that would be preferable?
Thanks for the recommendation. I just downloaded his book.
I look forward to picking up some good nuggets.
Awesome, Stuart. I know you’re gonna’ LOVE it!
Thanks for sharing this book recommendation and great interview. I have already shared this with several leaders that I know and twitter and Facebook.
David Novak is a great leader and a True “GO-GIVER”
Have a super fantastic day
Hi Mike. Absolutely, feel free to share. Either of the following two links will work: https://www.burg.com/2012/01/taking-people-with-you-an-interview-with-yum-brands-chairman-ceo-david-novak/
or the shorter version, http://bit.ly/ytSKI3
Thank you. So glad you enjoyed the interview!
Thank you, Rob. I appreciate your sharing it. Yes, I certainly agree with you regarding David! Thanks again!
This makes sense as to why one if my first mentors as a young man ended up becoming one of the heads of HR at this company. Great Leaders attract other great leaders to become part of a vision that is greater than any one persons ability.I am so greatful that he taught me about stewardship, character, and leadership … Moving me from disengaged employee, to engaged employee to ultimately engaged employer and leader.
Ben, how cool! Thank you so much for sharing that!!
Hi, Bob! I enjoy your views tremendously and try to apply them as best I can.
I love your idea of interviewing folks who have fascinating perspectives on life and work, but the need to invest 20-25 minutes watching a video is a major obstacle for me. Is there any way interview transcripts could be made available online? Most of us can read much faster than people usually talk — and we concentrate much more intently than when (inevitably) multitasking while “watching” a video.
Best — Sherry Christie
Hi Sherry, thank you for your kind words and for your question. The cool thing is that because these are audios rather than videos, you probably can multi-task (well, maybe you can – I can’t) LOL while you’re listening. We also have them available to download so that if you workout, you can listen while you do that, or other errands. We don’t have any plans at this time to transcribe them, I’m so sorry. Again, thank you so much for writing in. I appreciate ya’ greatly!
First, thank you Bob for the exceptional interviews and learning you are sharing with us.
Three key areas I found fascinating: 1) self awareness/being authentic 2) be an agreesive learner 3) his closing statement that he would like to help others in their leadership quest and is helping feed people all over the world.
It gets clearer everyday to me and others – be a go-giver and understand the awesome power and peace that comes from taking people with you on the journey.
Thank you, Marty; I’m so glad you enjoy the interviews, and that you enjoyed today’s with David Novak.
And, I love the parts you found fascinating as well as the final part. Thanks again!
I love your interview! Mr. Novak is a remarkable man. I enjoy learning from his wisdom. It’s especially fansinating for me to gleam from his teaching on the reason behind YUM! brand’s success in China (my home country) — I can see now why it does so much more business there than in the U.S.
One point that really hit home with was that you have to be authentic and be true to yourself.
Thank you so much!
Dottie, thank you so much. So glad you enjoyed it. He is indeed a man of great wisdom, isn’t he. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
Awesome interview! Great nuggets of wisdom from one of the best CEO’s working in the market place today David Novak. Being a constant learner and student of your profession is one of the greatest keys to growing and polishing your leadership skills and abilities. Thank you Bob and David for taking your time out to share excellent content and sound advice for anyone looking to leave this world a better place then they have found it. Great stuff!
Sean: Thank you. It was really a pleasure speaking with him and learning so much from him. Was so glad to hear that he just received the 2012 CEO of Year Award by Chief Executive magazine. Can’t think of a more deserving person.
Is he a democrat or republican??
Gisele: I really don’t know. Didn’t ask. By the way, are those the only two choices?
k thanks.. If you find out, post it 🙂
Just wondering which party the YUM Corp may contribute to. Pizza Hut’s recent sausage or pepperoni question would be a nice segway into transparency in corporate political influence, which has led the American public to believe there may only be two choices through corperate owned media and ‘news’. I highly doubt this is the intention although it leaves a small crack for Americans to ask what is Pizza Hut’s (Yum Corp) role in politics. This question, leads to more questions, if one has a keen eye. The unknowing Most would be outraged that a brand wants to stick its nose in the debates, but brands have long been ‘sponsors’ of the political party that serves their best interest (tax break, lenient regulations, etc). Taking people with you to the truth? Or taking people with you to materialistic, egoic, and unhealthy ends? Surely he could not take people with to take a microscope to the hidden agenda inside the board room and the ingredients. Besides, with pork on the decline, one might be asking Elephant or Donkey? Oh and dear Mr. Novak, please take me with you the next time you make a financial transaction. I could use some cash.
Gisele: I really don’t understand the point(s) you are trying to make. It appears that your implication is intended to be negative, but I’m not understanding enough about what you are writing to know exactly what that is. My interview with Mr. Novak was about the outstanding leadership principles he has utilized to build his business. He has found ways to provide tremendous value to the lives of many people (both his employees and customers) and, as a result, he has prospered greatly on a personal level, as well. And, that’s exactly how it should be. Unless you are factually aware of any type of “corporatism” involved, there’s no logical reason to even suggest such.