Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

January 18 2013

A Burrito, A Bucket of Fried Chicken and A Leadership Lesson

By David McMillin

leadershipThe “fourth meal” at Taco Bell. The Double Down chicken sandwich at KFC. The stuffed crust at Pizza Hut. Some of America’s most creative fast food campaigns have all been launched under the leadership of David Novak, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Yum! Brands. At Convening Leaders in Orlando, Novak introduced attendees to his style of leadership - - a style that has earned praise from the likes of Warren Buffet and Jaime Dimon.

Novak has kept Yum! on a remarkable path, growing the company by at least 13 percent in each of the past nine years. While the inner workings of the company may be as complex as any other business, Novak’s guiding principle is fairly simple: it takes a team.

“None of can get big things done by ourselves that have big impact,” Novak told attendees.

The Power of Multiple Perspectives

Building that team relies on more than just finding the right people, though. Novak stressed the importance of being able to identify with them, too.

“It’s very important to know how others see you,” Novak told attendees.

Whether you’re already in a management role or you’re trying to work your way into a more senior position, your image plays a vital role in earning the respect of your peers and the trust of your subordinates.

Thinking about how your attitude and actions impacts others can go a long way toward retention. Novak told attendees that the vast majority of people simply want to feel appreciated and want to get along with their bosses. While making good money can drive performance, Novak said that compensation is rarely the key factor in retaining employees.

Remember That You Are Replaceable

While you need to think about how people within your organization perceive you and your skill set, Novak highlighted the importance of considering how an outsider might approach your role, too.

“If someone came in and took your job tomorrow, what would they do?” Novak asked.

Novak calls this mindset the “Hotshot Replaces Me” approach, and it’s all about the importance of recognizing the missing gaps before someone else fills them in for you. Novak reinforced that everyone - managers and entry-level workers - need to take a proactive approach toward thinking about how to add personal value to their jobs.

Leadership lessons were everywhere in Orlando. For more insights, click here to read how New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman challenged attendees to “find their extra” in order to succeed.

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