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Nigel Travis, Chair of Dunkin Brands - Challenge Culture and Why You Need One
Episode 237th December 2020 • The CEO Sessions • Ben Fanning
00:00:00 00:56:04

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E23: Chair of Dunkin Brands Inc, Nigel Travis, who previously served as Chief Executive Officer from January 2009 through July 2019. 

He also serves as Chairman of Leyton Orient Football Club and in June 2017 led a business consortium to take on ownership of the storied English football club of which he has been a lifelong fan.

Previous experience includes from 2005 through 2008, Travis served as President & CEO of Papa John’s, the pizza chain. Prior to Papa John’s, Travis was with Blockbuster, Inc. from 1994 to 2004, where he served as President & Chief Operating Officer. Before that, he was with Burger King, first as Senior Vice President of Human Resources and later as Managing Director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

In 2018, Nigel published his first book, “The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback” where he shares his management philosophy in business and describes his unique experience starting his career in HR and transitioning to operations and executive level positions.

Travis received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Middlesex University in England. He previously served as Lead Director on the Board of Directors for Office Depot. Additionally, he is on the board of Abercrombie & Fitch and Advance Auto Parts. He is also Chairman of Sevpro and Fooda, both privately held companies. 

Nigel’s LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nigel-travis-14212264/

Leyton Orient Soccer Club: https://www.leytonorient.com/

Nigel's Book, The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback https://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Culture-Successful-Organizations-Pushback/dp/1541762142

WHAT YOU'LL DISCOVER FROM THIS EPISODE:

  • What career lesson Nigel learned as a popular DJ in college.
  • What is "The Challenge Culture", and how he coined the phrase. 
  • The surprising story behind Donald Trump’s appearance in his book.
  • How an early experience with this Dad planted the seed for the Challenge Culture and became a cornerstone of his leadership philosophy.
  • Nigel’s favorite challenge question.
  • How to challenge a leader without being irritating.
  • Using silence to get the answers.
  • Nigel’s workout regimen and how he uses that time to reflect.
  • What he says to leaders who believe the Challenge is like "opening Pandora's Box?"
  • 3 big lessons he learned from leading Blockbuster and Papa Johns.
  • How to use challenge culture when coaching kids' soccer. He’s been coaching soccer for 51 seasons!
  • Why he has his players call him “Nigel”, not “Coach Nigel”.
  • The one trait he would instill in every employee.
  • How 20 years of human resource experience uniquely prepared him for the C-Suite.
  • The REAL impact of employee turnover that too many leaders miss. 
  • The story of him quantifying the cost of employee turnover for Burger King of $42M..and that was in 1989…imagine how costly that would be today!
  • How has the Dunkin Challenge Culture been helpful during the Pandemic, especially when considering store closures?
  • A failure Nigel had at Blockbuster that led to success down the road…it’s not what you think.

HIGHLIGHTS:

Steps to take when implementing a Challenge Culture:

  • Think about what’s going on before implement Challenge Culture.
  • Start small.
  • Start asking questions and build a dialogue.
  • Build your credibility.

QUOTES:

“Today is the slowest day we’ll see.”

"Once you've put a title in front of something, you've put up a barrier."

“Horses for courses.”

“At the end of the day a business is there to make money, to become more profitable for shareholders.”

“People should value silence.”

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

No Rules Rules, Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer https://www.amazon.com/No-Rules-Netflix-Culture-Reinvention/dp/1984877860

The Making of a Blockbuster, Gail George https://www.amazon.com/Making-Blockbuster-Huizenga-Entertainment-Videotape/dp/0471159034

Spin Drift https://drinkspindrift.com/

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