Quotees Archive

The characteristics that make a good advertisement or commercial – it’s memorable, engaging, entertaining, focused, sends a clear message, makes you want to see it again, makes you want to buy the product.

- David Novak

The one essential character trait of any leader is personal integrity.

- David Novak

The problem with common sense is that it’s not really that common. – David Novak CEO of Yum! Brands

- David Novak

The responsibility of the leader is to define reality and create hope.

- David Novak

There are some people that can get things done, and it seems there are others who just can’t. That’s why we move heaven and earth to retain our stars and the main reason we manage out our lowest performers – the bottom 10% at least – each year.

- David Novak

This isn’t stealing this is standing on the shoulders of giants.

- David Novak

Transparency is terribly important in a situation like this, as a quick reaction time, because news today is not immediate. It travels globally on the Internet. In our YouTube culture, dramatic videos take on a life of their own, beyond anyone’s control. – (on crisis management)

- David Novak

Unleash the power of people. No involvement means no committment.

- David Novak

Wal-Mart’s leaders had obviously made a point of educating and informing everyone at all levels about all aspects of the company, and that shows a real respect for their people.

- David Novak

When I hire someone, I try to get beneath the surface and go deep. The first question I ask is, Has this person demonstrated any leadership potential? I ask for specifics and probe carefully to find out exactly what that person contributed. After all, success has many fathers.’ I also look for enthusiasm, people who lean forward in their chairs, who get up on their haunches a little but when they talk about what they’ve done. I like to see the passion and the excitement because that’s what will allow someone to inspire others. The next thing I look for is an avid learners, someone who is curious, who has an ability to make connections, to pick up on trends, and to apply what’s going on in the rest of the world to his or her business career. You obviously need smart people with a proven track record, but the real stars are passionate about what they do and are avid learners. Those two things make people continually raise the bar on performance.

- David Novak

When marketing put yourself in the shoes of the customer.

- David Novak

Southwest Airlines have been such a people-first model for me for so long that it was inspiring just to be physically in a place I already knew so much about. Yet I didn’t fully understand just how far they are willing to go to get the right people in the right seats until well after our best practices tour when someone I know applied for an entry level position with the company.

- David Novak

You get paid to deliver results.

- David Novak

Stealing Coach Wooden’s sets of three, I have come up with a formula for success no matter what kind of business you happen to be in: 1) Make sure you have the right people around you; 2) Have fun and drive results by recognizing the achievements of others; and 3) Be a passionate learner, and pass on what you know to others. Not only will this make you a success in business, but it will make you a success in life.

- David Novak

You have a real chance to make an impact, but you have to do it in the first 90 days. Otherwise they’ll think it’s going to be business as usual.

- David Novak

Team Together / Team Apart means you respect the final decision even if you would do something diffently, and make it happen with positive energy.

- David Novak

Thank you is probably the most important thing that a leader can say.

- David Novak

The best ideas in a company are the ones that people come up with themselves because then they really own their ideas and are committed to making them work. – David Novak CEO of YUM Brands

- David Novak

Know what your brand stands for an exaggerate it in everything you do.

- David Novak

Lay out what you’re doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

- David Novak

Make good decisions based on facts.

- David Novak

Market the change; be bold. Remember don’t be a bad ad, be a good one.

- David Novak

Measure, coach and reward the right things. Measure the vitally important. Reward the doers.

- David Novak

Meeting Coach Wooden, the most humble leader I’ve ever met, made me think about my ego, about as the wise John Weinberg once put it, the difference between growing and swelling.

- David Novak

Most good ideas are already out there, and to learn about them, all you have to do is ask the right people.

- David Novak

I very much believe that creating a sense of fun and keeping up everyone’s energy level is part of my job description. – David Novak CEO OF Yum! Brands

- David Novak

One of the greatest failures to execute is the lack of follow-up. This seems so obvious, yet very few companies place as much emphasis on accountability as they do on figuring what they want to get done. Steve Reinemund, who was president of Pizza Hut when I was head of marketing there, is the best I’ve ever seen on this front. He always carried a three-by-five note card in his shirt pocket. When saw something that needed to be done, he’d pull out the card and write it down. Like everyone else who witnessed this, I quickly realized that I had better write down the same things because he’d surely be on me until they got done. Steve got results everywhere he went, whether it was as president of Pizzas Hut or Frito-Lay or chairman of PepsiCo, because he made a point of following up. People often lose track of what they’ve talked about in meetings of what they promised to do, but when you write it down, you won’t forget it.

- David Novak

I was hooked and I would make reward and recognition one of my primary focuses as a leader

- David Novak

Play like you’re ten points behind in the final quarter. I’ve always heard this defined as operational cadence – creating a rat-a-tat-tat rhythm of doing business that drives the relentless pursuit of results. Whatever I’ve learned about creating a sense of urgency started when I worked for Howard Davis at Tracy Locke. He really knew how to push people. Everything had to be done yesterday. And I was one of the people who go pushed. Howard was a master of intimidation. Everyone knew if you didn’t give him what he wanted, he was going to find another way to get it, and if your weren’t part of the solution then you were part of the problem. The clients loved Howard because they knew he’d kill for them (and none of us wanted to be killed). It wasn’t always comfortable, but it taught me the value of constantly putting pressure on myself and the people who work for me. In corporate America, pressure is a way of life, so rather that resist it or merely accept it, you have to learn to use it as a personal motivator.

- David Novak

I worry about losing a real talent. I hate losing a great leader more than anything. I also hate it when I have to manager out a good person for poor performance or for simply doing something that is not in sync with our values. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life and I’ve had to do it more than once, is fire a friend.

- David Novak

Potential means that you haven’t done it yet.

- David Novak

If David our CEO, devotes so much of his time to this, then all this stuff about teamwork and learning how to be a great leader must be pretty important.

- David Novak

Some conflicts are simply territorial. For instance, I’ve rarely met a marketing person who wanted to raise prices and I’ve rarely met a finance person who wanted to lower prices.

- David Novak

If I go public, I’ll stick to it.

- David Novak

If you want to build a dynasty, you need to always be focused on getting better and beating last year’s performance in everything you do. You want to eliminate peaks and valleys, what we call boom, splat, and go for a good steady incline.

- David Novak

If your message is not getting heard, then it doesn’t much matter what it is…Breaking through the clutter is such a powerful concept that even when it’s done badly it can still work. Once I graduated from college I needed a job quickly. I was applying to advertising agencies, so rather than send out a typical one-page resume, I made up this dinky little brochure. It had my picture on the front and on the back a little poem I had written about why someone should hire me… – David Novak CEO of Yum! Brands

- David Novak

In business, just the opposite is often true; silence means dissent. Have you ever been in a meeting where you sense there is obvious disagreement, but the disagreement never really gets put on the table? This what I call the Slow No’s.

- David Novak

It’s almost unfathomable how much I still have to learn. Learning never ends…I always have another mountain to climb is what keeps you going.

- David Novak

I believe in that Old Chinese Proverb, When the student is willing, the teacher appears. But I would add, It also doesn’t hurt to be a little proactive about it.

- David Novak

I can’t stress enough the essential nature of really hearing what someone has to say even if it is totally contradictory to your own beliefs, and I wish this was a lesson I only had to learn once.

- David Novak

I focus on giving specific, real-time coaching so my teammates can benefit immediately. Larry Senn taught me a very effective tool that works in both individual and team settings. Start out by sharing, here’s what you appreciate about a person’s work. By showing appreciation, you are setting the stage for acceptance of constructive suggestions. Then offer suggestions by saying, and you can be even more effective if you do such and such. And is a much better word than but because it’s additive by buillyng on a positive versus the usually negative but everyone is expecting to hear.

- David Novak

Don’t panic.

- David Novak

I had already started the learning process by organizing a tour of some of the best companies out there to find out exactly what it was that made them great. I went back to the Partners’ Council and asked them to help me study the best practices of the best companies we could find. We would then use then findings to strengthen our company.

- David Novak

Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

- David Novak

I have to be ever vigilant to remain open to other people’s points of view. Just because I’m enthusiastic doesn’t necessarily mean I’m right. I have to always keep the doors open for honest communication or I could enthusiastically lead everyone right over the cliff.

- David Novak

Even leaders with the best of intentions can have dumb ideas sometimes, and if you have good people around you, then hopefully they’ll stop you before you’ve done too much damage.

- David Novak

I still get up fairly early around six, but I work out for an hour every morning, I read often while excercising and give myself some private team. I’ll speak with administrative my administrative assistant, Donna Hughes, who is an organizational genus on the way into the office and go through the day, so by the time I get to the office around 8:30 or 9:00 I can hit the ground running…In both my workday and my life, what I try to achieve is balance.

- David Novak

Everyone deserves at least a chance to make things better. And besides people can surprise you.

- David Novak

I think that the act of teaching is the most gratifying and rewarding of all human endeavors.

- David Novak

Execution begins with a vision and your people saying, I understand it. I’m excited about it. I can help make it happen.

- David Novak

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