What Humpty Dumpty Can Teach CEOs About Creating a Thriving Company Culture

An Interview with Greg Creed, former CEO of YUM Brands

Greg Creed

Note: This is a continuing series of interviews initiated by Thomvest Ventures with various founders, CEOs and Board members affiliated with their portfolio companies.

Greg Creed is former CEO of YUM Brands and a current Board member for Netbase Quid, one of Thomvest Ventures’ portfolio companies. He delivered impressive financial results during his four years as CEO of Taco Bell and five years as CEO of YUM Brands. He credits a lot of YUM’s success to the company culture they were able to leverage. Greg shares his thoughts on how other company CEOs can do the same with their business.

Does a company’s culture really matter?

Yes, it matters! Deep inside me, I know to the day I die, culture is paramount.

In business school, we were taught the strategy, structure and culture model, in that order. That meant you were first supposed to define your business strategy, then work out the organizational structure to implement the strategy, and then (and only then) work on the culture. My belief is those are the right three ingredients — but in the wrong order.

The correct order should be culture, then strategy, then org structure. That’s because I don’t know how you write a winning business strategy if you don’t base it on the context of your culture. Culture comes first because culture fuels results. It’s that simple.

At YUM Brands, did you build on the culture already there or did you have to (Read more...)