Taking People with You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen

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9780241966501: Taking People with You: The Only Way to Make Big Things Happen

David Novak learned long ago that you can't lead a great organization of any size without getting your people aligned, enthusiastic, and focused relentlessly on the mission. But how do you do that? There are countless leadership books, but how many will actually help a Taco Bell shift manager, a Fortune 500 CEO, a new entrepreneur, or anyone in between?

Over his fifteen years at Yum! Brands, Novak has developed a trademarked program he calls Taking People with You. He spends several weeks each year personally teaching it to thousands of managers around the world. He convinces them that they'll never make big things happen until they learn how to get people on their side. No skill in business is more important. And Yum!'s extraordinary success (at least 13 percent growth for each of the last nine years) proves his point.

Novak knows that managers don't need leadership platitudes or business school theories. So he cuts right to the chase with a step-by- step guide to setting big goals, getting people to work together, blowing past your targets, and celebrating after you shock the skeptics. And then doing it again and again until consistent excellence becomes a core element of your culture.

This book has specific tools at the end of each chapter that will challenge you to reflect on how you're really doing on key aspects of leadership. And if you apply it, you'll immediately start to improve.

You'll learn how to . . .
· Get inside the heads of your people. You can't convince them of anything until you see the world from their perspective.
· 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.
· Practice "extraordinary authenticity." Show occasional vulnerability and admit when you don't have the answers.
· Look for good ideas in unexpected places. Novak's team came up with Cool Ranch Doritos for Frito-Lay during a field trip to a grocery store's salad dressing aisle.
· 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!"
· Cheer for first downs, not just touchdowns. Publicly recognizing and rewarding small wins keeps everyone motivated for the long haul.
· 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.

Get ready to change the way you think about leadership-and more important, the way you practice it every day.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

David Novak is the chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, Inc., which operates in more than 112 countries and employs 1.4 million people. All three of the company's restaurant chains - KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell - are global leaders in fast food. Prior to leading Yum!, Novak was president of both KFC and Pizza Hut, and held senior management positions at Pepsi-Cola. 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 CEOs in the World" by Harvard Business Review.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

“David Novak is a great CEO. A lot of people claim to be good people managers, but David has actually made the investment to train the next generation of leaders at Yum! You will enjoy Taking People with You for its commonsense approach to, well, taking people with you.”

—­Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO, General Electric

“David Novak is an inspiring leader and a very astute student of the art of management.”

—­Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal

“David Novak has led Yum! Brands to achieve phenomenal business performance. He has accomplished this by being a ­word-­class leader/teacher. His book is a very readable and energizing hat trick combining a compelling personal leadership narrative, great case examples, and pragmatic tools for others to use to build winning organizations.”

—­Noel Tichy, professor and director, Global Citizenship Initiative at the University of Michigan, and coauthor with Warren Bennis of Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls

Taking People with You is recommended reading for anyone who wants to learn more about leadership. Whether you want to grow a business or just grow as a person, David Novak’s book contains valuable lessons on how to perform at your best and help others do the same.”

—­Andrew C. Taylor, chairman and CEO, Enterprise Holdings

“David’s career is replete with excellent accomplishments in motivating teams and large organizations to achieve the extraordinary. Yum! Brands is a great example. This ­how-­to book distills these lessons so they can easily be adopted by any organization. Just excellent!”

—­David Cote, chairman and CEO, Honeywell

“No one exemplifies dedicated personal leadership better than David. He has taught a class in leadership for many years and now is sharing those lessons in his book, Taking People with You. David shares his strategies for the kind of meaningful leadership that can move an organization forward and provides examples from his own career and from many other companies including Johnson & Johnson. I highly recommend Taking People with You for leaders at all levels in every organization.”—­William C. Weldon, chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson

“Over the course of my nearly ­thirty-­five-­year career, I’ve worked with many different executives. Few are true leaders. David Novak is one of those rare individuals. Whether you are just starting your career or have already climbed a few rungs, the lessons taught in Taking People with You are dead on and should be universally embraced by anyone who wants to get ahead in business or in life. You can’t do it alone. And the ride is a whole lot more interesting when you’re surrounded by bright people who constantly and respectfully challenge one another to do their best.”—­Howard Draft, executive chairman, Draftfcb

“Great leaders understand their leadership point of view and are willing to share it with others. That’s what David Novak has done for years with Yum! Brands, Inc.—­and we are now fortunate enough to have him share his winning philosophies with us. I’m a big David Novak fan and you will be, too, after reading Taking People with You—­a must read!

—­Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager ® and Lead with LUV


I did my first Yum! cheer on Founder’s Day October 7, 1997 the day we were spun off from PepsiCo, to help launch a new culture fi lled with fun and positive energy. Now our people are doing Yum! cheers around the globe, including these two thousand restaurant general managers who recently celebrated their success on the Great Wall of China.



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First published in 2012 by Portfolio / Penguin,

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1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

Copyright © David Novak, 2012

All rights reserved


Novak, David.

Taking people with you : the only way to make big things happen / David Novak.

p. cm.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

EISBN 978-1-10155-396-1

1. Leadership. 2. Employee motivation. 3. Organizational change. 4. Success in business. I. Title.

HD57. 7. N684 2011

658.4 092—dc23


Printed in the United States of America

Set in Adobe Garamond Pro

Designed by Jaime Putorti

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrightable materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

To my daughter, Ashley, and all the other people in the world who want to be the best leaders they can be.

A special thanks to all of you who shared your insights and coaching, which helped make this book possible.

All of the author’s proceeds will go to the United Nations World Food Programme.


introduction taking people with you

this book starts with a basic premise: We all need people to help us along the way. You can go only so far by going it alone. If you want to start a business, if you want a big promotion, if you are developing or launching a new product, if you want your company to move in a new direction, if you want to expand your sales territory, if you want to raise money for a good cause, even if you become the coach of your child’s soccer team, which has lost every game so far, and you want to show those kids what it feels like to win, you’re going to need people to help you get there. You’ll never accomplish anything big if you try to do it alone.

Early in my career, I had an experience that changed how I thought about my own role as a leader and inspired me to accomplish what, for me, is my greatest example of taking people with you. I was working for PepsiCo at the time, making my way up through the ranks, and had recently become head of operations for Pepsi Bottling. I had held mainly marketing positions until then, so operations was a new world for me. One of the first things I did was travel to our various plants to meet with the people there and find out more about how things worked.

I was at a plant in St. Louis, conducting a 6:00 A.M. roundtable meeting with a group of route salesmen, when, over coffee and doughnuts, I asked what I thought was a pretty straightforward question about merchandising, which is all about the displays and visibility we get in convenience and grocery stores. I wanted to know what they thought was working and what wasn’t. Right away, someone piped up, “Bob is the expert in that area. He can tell you how it’s done.” Someone else added, “Bob taught me more in one day than I’d learned in two years on the job.” Every single person in the room agreed: Bob was the best there was. I looked over at Bob, thinking he must be thrilled by all this praise. Instead, I saw that he had tears running down his face. When I asked him what was wrong, Bob, who had been with the company for over forty years and was about to retire in just two weeks, said, “I never knew anyone felt this way about me.”

The rest of my visit to the plant went pretty well, but I walked away that day with an uneasy feeling. It was such a shame that Bob had never felt appreciated. It was a missed opportunity for the business, too. We all could have benefited from his expertise, and more people could have learned from him. This guy was clearly great at what he did, but who knows how much better he could have been in a workplace that recognized and rewarded his knowledge. I knew that if he felt overlooked and underappreciated, others at the plant did too.

I’ve always believed in people, but that experience made me even more determined to be the kind of leader who would never let a person like Bob go through his entire career without being thanked for what he did and encouraged to find out how much more he could do. I wanted the people who worked for me to know that they mattered, and I wanted them to enjoy coming to work every day. I also understood that none of this would happen unless I made it happen. It was my job to cast the right shadow of leadership, because no one else was going to live up to these principles unless I lived up to them first. As a leader, you always have to remember that people tend to follow the leader’s actions. You can’t say one thing and then do another and expect people to believe in you or follow you. As the leader, you have the opportunity to set an example of how the business should be run.

I am now chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, the world’s largest restaurant company and owner of the brands KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. When I started in this position over a decade ago, I thought of the Bobs of the world and made it one of my first priorities to create a recognition culture in which everyone counted and to do it so successfully that our company would become renowned for it. That was no small task, considering we now have more than 1.4 million employees spread out over 117 countries around the world. But while we’re far from perfect, it’s working. I know it’s working, because I get proof of it practically every day.

Today I am probably best known within my organization for casting a shadow of recognition and positive energy. I do this demonstrably by: (1) recognizing people in a unique way for their performance and (2) leading people in our Yum! cheer every chance I get. These two aspects of our culture have traveled all the way around the world. When I first started giving out recognition awards, I decided I wanted them to be much more memorable than your typical plaque or a pen. So when I was at KFC, for example, I gave out these floppy rubber chickens. In my current position, I give out a huge set of smiling teeth mounted on a pair of skinny legs with big feet. Now everywhere we do business, leaders in our organization give out their own versions of these awards. Our HR director in India recognizes outstanding performers by giving them a replica of the Taj Mahal, because the workers who built it are remembered for their passion, determination, and overall excellence. A general manager in Dubai gives out his Camel Award, because camels are revered animals in the desert, known for their steadfastness, perseverance, and undying spirit. The head of our construction department recognizes people with his Shovel Award, naturally, and our chief financial officer has his Show Me the Money Award, which consists of a transparent piggy bank filled with Monopoly money and a copy of the movie Jerry McGuire, in which that famous phrase originated. The fact that each leader took the time to personalize these awards makes recognition that much more meaningful and fun for everyone.

I’d also venture to say that most of our 1.4 million people around the world now know and do the Yum! cheer, spelling out the name of our organization: “Give me a Y,” the leader will say, and team members will shout back “Y!” and so on. When I first started doing things like these, I was told by some people that my “Western ideas” wouldn’t work in places like Asia or Europe. Boy, were those people wrong. I believe that, just like Bob, all people, no matter what they do or where they’re from, want to know that they are important and to have fun while they’re doing their job. My favorite picture, which now hangs prominently on the walls of our headquarters, features two thousand restaurant general managers proudly doing the Yum! cheer on the Great Wall of China, all of their hands held up high to create the “Y” in Yum! It always reminds me that my shadow has traveled a long way. It also reminds me of the power of taking people with you and the fact that it’s the key to achieving breakthrough results. My goal for this book is to share with you everything I’ve learned about how to lead your team so you can do just that.

Taking People with You is not just another book filled with leadership principles you’ve heard time and time again. It’s really more of an action plan. It offers a very specific process that will help you maximize your potential as a leader and show you how to use your leadership skills to achieve the most important goals you can imagine. It’s a book that will force you to look in the mirror and challenge yourself to rise to a higher level. It’s a step by step guidebook and workbook, and by its end, you’ll walk away with a tangible plan that you can use over and over again to get big things done. This is a book that will help you become not just a better leader, but also a better person, by making you more ­self-­aware and showing you how to build up the people around you.

How can I make such bold promises? I’m certain this book can do these things because I have been developing and testing its content for the past fifteen years. This book comes out of a leadership program of the same name that I have taught to more than four thousand people in my organization.

It all started back in 1996, when I was working for PepsiCo as the president of KFC and Pizza Hut. Roger Enrico, who was chairman of the company at the time, called me up and said, “David, I’d like you to create a leadership program for PepsiCo executives. You’ve got a pretty good reputation for building and aligning teams, and I’d like you to share what you know and what you do with others.”

I was really honored and excited by the opportunity, because this is just the sort of thing I love to do. I went to work on the program right away. I had pretty much figured out what I was going to ­present—­I even had a date scheduled to give my very first program to a group of f...

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