The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback (Hardcover)
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The executive chairman and former CEO of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins reflects on the unique, results-oriented discipline he's developed over decades of leadership, which provides a blueprint for any organization to achieve prosperity.
We live in an era in which successful organizations can fail in a flash. But they can cope with change and thrive by creating a culture that supports positive pushback: questioning everything without disrespecting anyone.
Nigel Travis has forty years of experience as a leader in large and successful organizations, as well as those facing existential crisis-such as Blockbuster as it dawdled in the face of the Netflix challenge. In his ten years as CEO and chairman of Dunkin' Brands, Travis fine-tuned his ideas about the challenge culture and perfected the practices required to build it. He argues that the best way for organizations to succeed in today's environment is to embrace challenge and encourage pushback. Everyone-from the new recruit to the senior leader-must be given the freedom to speak up and question the status quo, must learn how to talk in a civil way about difficult issues, and should be encouraged to debate strategies and tactics-although always in the spirit of shared purpose. How else will new ideas emerge? How else can organizations steadily improve?
Through colorful storytelling, with many examples from his own career-including his leadership in turning around the fear-ridden culture of the London-based Leyton Orient Football Club, of which he is part owner-Travis shows how to establish a culture that welcomes challenge, achieves exceptional results, and ensures a prosperous future.
About the Author
Nigel Travis, the chairman of Dunkin' Brands, was the company's chief executive officer from 2009 through 2018. His distinctive human-centered perspective on leadership and management, now viewed as essential in today's complex and diverse global organizations, took root early in his career when he was a human resources manager.
"Business and politics have become ever more competitive and
unpredictable. In order to succeed in this environment, Travis introduces The
Challenge Culture where
employees are encouraged and are sufficiently self-confident to push back,
engage in debate, and, along with their leaders, search intensively for the
best answer to critical issues. A must-read for all people leading
organizations in these turbulent times!"—Larry Bossidy, retired chairman and CEO of Honeywell International, coauthor of Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
culture built on open dialogue and honesty will deliver collective positive
outcomes for customers and team members."—Catherine D'Amato, president and CEO, The Greater Boston Food Bank
a wonderful read, with terrific, memorable thoughts, and a powerful theme: what
is essential for a successful business is the ability to question the
leadership and ask 'why?'. There are more lessons to be learned than offered by
any Harvard MBA."—Jack Cowin, chairman and managing director, Competitive Foods Australia Ltd
understands the intricacies of everything. And, even better, he knows how to
put them together to make a business run the way it should. This book not only
takes you inside his businesses, but inside the mind that challenged them to
thrive. If you can use 20 percent of what he's suggesting, you'll be ahead of
the game. Use 40 percent and you can blow the doors off."—Mark Goldstein, former chief marketing officer, BBDO Worldwide
"The Challenge Culture is a must-read for those wanting to improve
their leadership skills in light of a fast changing social and political
workplace environment. Nigel implores all of us to foster an open and engaging
culture of challenge. For over three decades, Nigel has been at the helm of
internationally recognizable organizations, and the insights of The Challenge Culture provide a powerful
playbook for people across the business world."—Sam Kennedy, president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox
all know that America runs on Dunkin', but have you ever wondered how
Dunkin' runs? Dunkin' Brands chairman and CEO Nigel Travis has experience
running some of the nation's largest franchises and shares his insight on the
importance of creating a challenge culture, one that questions the status quo,
encourages internal pushback, and helps companies be nimble enough to adapt to
change. The Challenge Culture is a must-read for employers and employees
alike, and promises to get ideas for long-term success percolating."—Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group and The New England Patriots
"Nigel Travis has been at the top of major
maverick enterprises which missed moments for vital re-invention as well as
those which seized the moment for needed transformation. I knew Bill Rosenberg,
the visionary founder of Dunkin' Donuts, well and he'd have loved the challenge
culture Travis helped inspire there today. Dissent is not disloyalty but
can be the spark for innovation and the safeguard for integrity. Firms from the governance financial frauds of
Enron and Worldcom to the privacy and gender 'bro cultures' at today's tech
titans would have benefited from Travis' leadership lessons. Conformity
kills creativity and subverts justice and The
Challenge Culture is the antidote to a contagion of conformity across
sectors."—Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean for Leadership Studies and Lester Crown Professor of Leadership Practice, Yale School of Management
insightful, this work offers an insider's account of the leadership approach
behind a successful global brand that executives in any industry can emulate."—Publishers Weekly
"Women, especially young women, in today's world need to understand the importance of challenging authority and speaking up to share their point of view. The Challenge Culture brilliantly explains how to do it."
—Nicole Lapin, author of Boss Bitch and Rich Bitch