Two of my favorite things are strategy and Mexican food, but it’s tough to connect the two. So, a big thanks to Yum Brands CEO David Novak for making the link. In an interview this week in USA Today, David talked about his leadership of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut along with the other offerings under the Yum Brands umbrella. In the article, David was asked, “What’s the key to being a successful global company?” His reply, “You need to be strategic.”

What exactly does it mean to be strategic? Being a strategic thinker means you have the ability to generate new insights on a regular basis that lead to competitive advantage. The word “insight” is often used, but rarely understood. An insight is when you’re able to combine two or more pieces of data or information in a unique way to come up with a new product, a new service, a new approach or new value for your customers. Being strategic means that you’re able to use your resources, your time, talent/people and budget, more effectively than the competition.

Being strategic is not just the CEO’s job. It’s your job too. Whether your an executive vice president, or new to the job, you have time, talent and perhaps budget. How you use your resources will be a strong predictor of your success, or lack thereof. Building the three disciplines of strategic thinking–acumen (what’s the insight?), allocation (where should I focus resources?) and action (what’s important to execute?)–into your daily mindset, will give you a big advantage; almost as big as that double-meat burrito supreme.



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