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BW Businessworld

Finger Lickin’ Guidance

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Management guru Peter F. Drucker said effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results, not attributes. It seems David Novak, chairman and chief executive of Yum! Brands, is a practitioner of this Drucker wisdom. Yum! Brands is one of the Fortune 500 companies and runs a few of the world's most popular fast food brands — KFC and Pizza Hut. Novak's new book, Taking People With You, is essentially a practical guide on people management in business. One seldom makes it big in business if one does not master the art of managing people, and more. And the book illustrates how to do it well.

The book has three parts, apart from a pithy introduction. While the first part is about getting your mindset right, the second segment aims to equip the leader to "have a plan: strategy structure, culture". The final part is about "following through to get results", and includes this reviewer's favourite chapter – ‘Market the Change: Be A Bold Ad for Your Big Goal." The introduction explicates how a little bit of appreciation or recognition of talent in your employees can do wonders to the business. "Today, I am probably best known within my organisation for casting a shadow of recognition and positive energy," writes Novak. He does that by recognising people in a unique way for their performance. According to Novak, best leaders are intuitively good marketers. His success mantra is simple. "You know how to get inside the heads of your customers. You know how to get inside the heads of the people that you lead. When you do that, you are on your way to inspire and motivate because you are relevant."

The book is full of insights, actions, anecdotes, motivational-speak and do-it-yourself worksheets. And it will not be an exaggeration to say that it covers almost all the aspects of human resources management. It is fresh and down-to-earth. The language is informal and intuitive, and the packaging is in tune with the times.

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 28-05-2012)