Three Key Questions from David Novak

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At this year’s sold-out national Women’s Foodservice Forum (WFF) Conference in Dallas, I had the opportunity to hear David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands and author of Taking People with You, speak. He shared several insights he has gained throughout his years at PepsiCo and Yum! Brands, some of which he learned from making big mistakes.

As he spoke about leadership, David reiterated that it all starts with focusing on being your best self. Not only does this mean raising your self-awareness, but also recognizing the impact you have on others and asking them for their perspective.

David mentioned three important questions we should all ask:

1. What do people appreciate about me as I am today?

Sometimes we take our own skills and strengths for granted, especially if we have been using them for years. Do you know how you are viewed by others, and what capabilities they really value? If not, take the time to find out what people appreciate about you and the impact you have on others, business results, and the company. The more specific the feedback, the more value you will get from it.

2. How can I be more effective?

When I conduct 360° feedback interviews, I typically ask what my client should do more of or less of to be more effective. By asking the questions this way, I get people into a forward thinking mindset. Take the time to ask yourself and others these questions on a periodic basis to keep your own effectiveness front and center.

3. If a “hot shot” came in to replace me today, what would they do?

This question can push you out of your day-to-day mindset. David has used it to challenge himself, incentivize fresh ideas, and seek out people who will help him elevate his game. Although you may not be able to get a meeting with Warren Buffet each year to get his thoughts as David does, you can evaluate the breadth and depth of your network and how you can stretch yourself and your team.

The three questions above will help you focus on how to put your strengths into play more powerfully, minimize less effective practices, and challenge yourself and your team. David writes the answers to the first two questions on an index card that he keeps on his desk as a constant reminder of what he should be doing. This week I want to challenge you to answer at least one of these questions. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.

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