Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

December 2012

PCMA Convening Leaders Preview: Politics & People

By Michelle Russell, Editor in Chief and Christopher Durso, Executive Editor
perceptions, habits, or beliefs do you need to build, change, or reinforce to grow the business? Answering that question ultimately leads to success.

How do you define leadership? How might a meeting planner think of himself or herself as a leader by your definition if they may not necessarily supervise a staff but need to “take people with them” — such as supplier partners, colleagues, attendees, speakers, etc.?

Good leaders motivate and engage others, cultivate people at all levels, and create a performance-driven culture that celebrates success in order to achieve big results. Everyone should think about how they can take people with them to achieve big goals. It’s important to explain the “why” behind your idea in order to engage people. It’s also effective to ask for input and get people involved, or they will never be truly committed to the goal.

You mention in your book about preparing for your annual, end-of-year investors meeting in New York. Why is that meeting so critical to the performance and outlook for Yum! Brands?

Our vision is to be the defining global company that feeds the world, and the meeting is a forum to share why Yum! is a good investment. We demonstrate progress against our goals and reinforce our track record of consistent results. YUM has generated at least 13-percent earnings-per-share growth for each of the last 10 years. We’re the leading retail developer in China and the largest and fastest-growing restaurant company in emerging markets. We also take the opportunity to outline our future growth plans. This gives us credibility and gives investors a basis to believe that we will do what we say.

What kind of value do you and your corporation place on face-to-face meetings? How are in-person meetings accomplished with employees all around the world?

We’re a highly connected organization with a high-impact culture that is constantly seeking and sharing information and global best practices. Our belief is that the more you know, the more you care. Although we span more than 120 countries, our goal is to make a big company feel small. We have face-to-face meetings, and also leverage technology, such as our internal iChing social-media plat-form that is designed for employees to share global learnings that drive the business. We use a variety of formats to continually share know-how, from webcasts to conference calls to town-hall meetings at all of our Restaurant Support Centers around the globe, so employees can ask questions or voice their opinions about what’s going on in our company.

Can you take one of the tools in the Taking People With You leadership program — perhaps Step-Change — and explain it, and what that might mean for setting big goals for a conference?

Setting the right goal is the key to achieving success, and leaders often fall short in this area by not aiming high enough. Aiming for small improvements to the way you already do something is not going to change the way you think, and therefore will not open up your mind to new possibilities. I use the Step-Change tool to help ensure that I’m thinking big when setting goals for myself and my team. For example, think about a current target, and then double it. Think about a current timeline, and then cut it in half. What ideas spring to mind about what you would have to do to double your target? What could you do to halve the timeline? When you picture Step-Change, you are forced to come up with new methods with more potential.

What do you hope PCMA Convening Leaders attendees will take away from your presentation?

One of the privileges of leadership is to be able to share with others what you’ve learned. For the past 15 years, I've taught my Taking People With You leadership program to 4,000 managers and franchisees around the world. I wrote Taking People With You in order to scale the program and reach a much broader audience. It captures everything I’ve learned about how to build and align teams to get results, and gleans the best know-how in the world from what I’ve learned from top change experts, coaches, and CEOs. I hope attendees will walk away wanting to apply these lessons that will help them become not just better leaders, but also make them more self-aware and show them how to build up others in their organizations.

Sidebar: Book Excerpt

‘Nothing Gets in the Way of a Good Idea’

Excerpted from
Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen, © 2012, by David Novak, published by Portfolio/Penguin.

When people ask me what I look for when hiring someone, an avid learner tops the list. People who are avid learners love what they do and seek out know-how wherever they can ... which makes them a whole lot smarter and their results a whole lot better. … Our companywide commitment [is] to always be learning, to being “know-how junkies.”

Four Tactics for Being a Better Know-How Junkie
Eliminate “not invented here”: The phrase not invented here refers to an unwillingness to adopt something because it didn’t originate with you. As a leader, it’s your job to make sure that nothing gets in the way of a good idea, no matter where it comes from.

Act like you own the place: If you owned the company where you work, you’d be concerned with all aspects of it. You wouldn’t just think about your own role or your department; you’d think about the total picture. Adopting this attitude will force you to look at and learn about more aspects of the business, which will give you a broader perspective. It will also demonstrate to others your potential for taking on more responsibility.

Keep your big goal top of mind: In the information age, knowledge is everywhere, so you have to be strategic about it. Have you ever noticed that when you decide which car you want to buy, you suddenly see that car everywhere you go? Well, that’s not because everyone has the same car; it’s because identifying what you want gives your brain a focus and a filter. You have to do the same for your Big Goal. Keep your antennae up … and you will suddenly see ideas for how to reach it everywhere you look.

Seek out knowledge holders and sources: Be proactive about gaining knowledge by searching for expertise. Who knows something about what you’re working on? Go talk to those people. You’d be amazed how many doors you can open just by telling people you’d like to learn from them. In addition, where can you find information about what you’re working on? Go look up those sources, whether they are case studies, books, business magazines, or what have you.

Tactics for Wiping Out ‘Not Invented Here’
If you want to take people with you and reach your goals more efficiently and effectively, you need to learn to see every person and every experience as an opportunity to expand your knowledge base. The tactics below will help you ensure that you are truly wiping out “not invented here”:

Model the behavior by being a know-how junkie yourself: When I was in marketing, I read Ad Age every week cover to cover. In fact, anything that had anything at all to do with marketing, I was all over it. ... If you want your people to be learners, you have to show them that you have a passion for learning.

Actively listen to and learn from others: One of the best things I do every year is attend meetings of the American Society of Corporate Executives. This is a group of about 30 active CEOs who get together periodically. The price of admission is that each person has to give a 10-minute presentation on something they've learned in the last six months, followed by a Q&A with the other CEOs. This is a group of very smart and very accomplished people, but it’s amazing how much we can all still learn.

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