Former CEO Shares Career Advice

By: Daniel Steingold | May 13, 2016

When some people speak, you listen. David Novak, the Ex-CEO of Yum Brands, a corporation worth $33 billion, came out with a book recently, and has shared some advice on how the current generation should approach careers.

Novak believes that as a fresh college graduate, you should take complete ownership in the company where you’re working— in other words, think like you’re the CEO. This doesn’t mean act arrogantly and being patronizing to others, but simply thinking about how the entire operations of the company could be optimized.

You should never be afraid to share your opinions with your superiors. Doing this shows not only that you care, but that you have potential in a leadership position.

While Novak would actually tell his superiors things he believed they could work on, not everyone has that level of audacity. Seeking out a handful of highly successful people within the firm who are willing to have lunch with you is a worthy alternative.

Asking these people what made them successful will usually be something prideful: “they’ll take it as a compliment.”

It’s really all a balancing act between being confident and humble— driven, yet open to input. You have to have the attitude that you’ll succeed on the job, according to Novak, and constantly demonstrate your worth.

Ultimately, don’t worry about how others perceive you. Some might look at you as being a suck-up or some other type of sycophant, but it doesn’t matter.

Novak’s book, titled O Great One!: A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition, is out now.

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