David Novak on the Awesome Power of Recognition

February 7, 2018 David Witt

In this episode of the Blanchard LeaderChat podcast we speak with David Novak, co-founder and former CEO of Yum! Brands and author of O Great One!: A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition.

For Novak, a large part of the success he had with improving performance at KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell during his tenure as CEO of parent company Yum! Brands was creating a culture of recognition.

“Recognition is a big driver of success. You have to show people you care about them,” says Novak.  “Leaders need to be heart-wired—they need to have a big heart.”

Novak shares that the higher up you go in the organization, the more you have to support other people’s ideas.

“If there is no involvement, there is no commitment.  You have to use your listening skills.  It tells people that what they do really matters.”

Novak also dispels the myth that recognition won’t play out in other cultures.

“Recognition is universal.  A lot of people were doubters, but once they saw the power of it they said ‘I’m going to try it myself.’ And then they developed their own personal recognition awards.”

Recognition reinforced behaviors that drove the business says Novak and he encourages others to give it a try in their organizations.

“It’s not that hard to say ‘Thank you.’ The more you give, the more you receive.”

Be sure to listen to the very end of the interview to hear Ken Blanchard’s thoughts and takeaways from the ideas David Novak shares.

About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for The Ken Blanchard Companies. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

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