Taking People With You: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen

SHRM 2012 Strategy Conference

Bestselling author, one of the world’s “30 Best CEOs” for the past two years by Barron’s and globally acclaimed leadership expert, David Novak delivers a battle-tested leadership guide to building great companies by developing great talent. Novak shares the secrets of his “Taking People With You” leadership program that he has taught to thousands of managers and franchisees around the world during his 15 years at Yum! Brands. His focus on corporate culture and employee empowerment includes: setting big goals but celebrating the small wins to build motivation along the way; winning loyalty by practicing “extraordinary authenticity” and occasionally admitting you don’t have the answers; and getting rid of cynics who spread negative energy to your staff. Novak shares his own experiences and pinpoints the strategies can be applied to a wide variety of business situations for a successful outcome. Change the way you think about leadership and learn how to get the best from your staff with practical strategies for developing talent, empowering people, building teams and creating a success-oriented corporate culture.

"We’ve focused primarily on getting results through people.  We’ve said from the beginning that our formula for success is build people capability first, then we will satisfy more customers and make more money." - David Novak

"My personal belief is it’s hard to make customers feel good unless employees feel good.  So, if you have an environment where your team members are feeling good and they’re working well together, they’re going to have a lot easier time making customers feel good." - David Novak

My primary responsibility is to develop leaders because I believe, “Show me a great leader and I’ll show you a great business.” I have our leaders come to this program and I ask them to bring the single biggest thing they’re working on that will have the biggest impact on our business. I ask them, “How many of you can get it done by yourself?” The answer is, “No one can.  We all have to take people with us.” - David Novak

Date(s) & Time(s): 
Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 8:30am to 10:30pm

David Novak

David C. Novak is executive chairman of Yum! Brands, Inc., (NYSE: YUM), one of the world’s largest restaurant companies with over 41,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories. He stepped down as CEO of YUM on
January 1, 2015. Yum! Brands ranked #228 on the FORTUNE 500 list with revenues of over $13 billion in 2014. In 2014, Yum! was named among the top 100 Corporate Citizens by Corporate Responsibility magazine and one of the Aon Hewitt Top Companies for Leaders in North America. The company’s restaurant brands—KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell—are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories. Yum! Brands employs 1.5 million company employees and franchise associates across its worldwide system. Outside the United States, the Yum! Brands system opened more than five new restaurants per day on average, making it a leader in international retail development.
Novak leads YUM’s Board of Directors and supports the company’s CEO on corporate strategy, innovative business and brand building ideas along with leadership development. During his tenure as CEO since 1999, Yum! Brands doubled in size to 41,000 restaurants and established itself as a global powerhouse going from approximately 20 percent of its profits coming from outside the United States in 1997 to nearly 70 percent in 2014, while remaining an industry leader in return on invested capital. In so doing, Yum! Brands’ compound annual shareholder return has been 16% and its market capitalization has grown to nearly $32 billion from just over $4 billion.
Novak wrote TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU: The Only Way to Make BIG Things Happen (January 2012), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller based on a successful leadership program he personally taught at the company
centered on teamwork and a belief in people that rewards and recognizes customer-focused behavior. Proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to the United Nations World Food Programme.
His latest book is, O Great One! (May 2016) in which he draws on personal, real-life experiences to explore with readers the awesome power and great impact of recognition.
Prior to leading Yum! Brands, Novak was president at both KFC and Pizza Hut, and held senior management positions at Pepsi-Cola Company, including chief operating officer, and executive vice president of Marketing and Sales.
Novak has been recognized as “2012 CEO of the Year” by Chief Executive magazine, one of the world’s “30 Best CEOs” by Barron’s, one of the “Top People in Business” by FORTUNE and one of the “100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World” by Harvard Business Review. In the April 2015, he received the prestigious 2015 Horatio Alger Award for his commitment to philanthropy and higher education and became a lifetime member of the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans. He is the recipient of the 2012 UN World Food Program Leadership Award for Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief effort that raises awareness, volunteerism and funds to address this global problem. He also received the national 2008 Woodrow Wilson Award for Corporate Citizenship. Novak is on the board of directors of the World Food Program USA. He is also a member of The Business Council and The American Society for Corporate Executives. He devotes considerable personal support to the United Nations World Food Programme and Dare to Care Food Bank hunger relief. Novak and his wife Wendy established the Lift a Life Foundation in 1999 to help individuals in need reach their full potential through grants and programming in the areas of hunger relief, education, juvenile diabetes, the military and family and youth issues. In 2012, Lift a Life Foundation and USA TODAY Charitable Foundation launched the “Lead2Feed World Hunger Leadership Challenge” to encourage middle and high school students to hone their leadership skills through hunger relief projects using principles from TAKING PEOPLE WITH YOU. Since its inception, nearly a million students in 3,500 schools and clubs participated across all 50 states donating more than 22,000 volunteer hours and one million meals to hungry families. Lead2Feed is the nation’s leading and fastest growing free service learning program offering students the chance to win over $275,000 in prize money grants contributed to U.S. public charities engaged in hunger relief programs and $100,000 in technology packages for winning schools.
The Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa
Amount of Credit: 
Credit Type: 
Business Credit
Session Type: 
General Session
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