O Great One!

A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition

Publisher: Portfolio

Rather than explain the power of recognition in a typical business book, acclaimed CEO David Novak wrote a fun story that draws on his real-world experiences at Pepsi and Yum! Brands, as well as his personal life.

When was the last time you told your colleagues how much you value them? It sounds like a trivial thing in the middle of a busy work day. But as Novak discovered during his years as a hard charging executive, there’s nothing trivial about recognition. It can make a life-or-death difference to any organization, when people see that someone important really notices and appreciates their contributions.
 
The story of O Great One! opens when Jeff Johnson becomes the third-generation CEO of his family business, after the sudden death of his father. The Happy Face Toy Company had many hits in the 1950s and 60s, including Crazy Paste, but its results have been declining for more than a decade. The board has given Jeff just one year to turn the business around, or else they’ll have to sell it to the highest bidder.
 
As Jeff races to save his family’s legacy by getting the company back on track, he meets downtrodden factory workers and an uninspired executive team. Then a birthday gift from his grandson gives Jeff an important insight into why Happy Face lost its culture of innovation and excitement, along with its profitability. He comes up with an idea that seems crazy… But is it crazy enough to work? 
 
Whether you’re trying to lead a small department, a Fortune 500 company, a non-profit, or your own family, the story and lessons of O Great One! can help you make everyone around you happier and more effective.

READ AN EXCERPT

Introduction
O Great One!: The Story

 
OGO—short for O Great One— is the name my grandkids have called me ever since they could talk. It may sound over the top to some, but it came about because when my daughter was pregnant with her first child, I didn’t want to be called grandpa,...
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PRAISE FOR

“If you want to improve your life and the lives of those around you, just apply the ten principles my friend David Novak lays out in this book.”
Warren Buffett
 
“Any leader searching for the best way to motivate people needs to read this timely, unique, and exceptionally helpful book!”
Larry Bossidy, former chairman and CEO, Honeywell; coauthor of Execution
 
 “David Novak built YUM! into a great company by bringing out the best in his people. O Great One! shows you how easy it is to help people reach their potential. He is a great storyteller!"
Rick Pitino, head basketball coach, University of Louisville
 
“A must-read for every person in any organization. Read it, do it, and watch great things happen!”
Ken Langone, co-founder of The Home Depot 
 
O Great One! is a real page-turner. Through this insightful and elegantly written story, he does a brilliant job illustrating how recognition – a simple concept that is all too easily taken for granted – can be a potent force, motivating people to perform at their highest levels.”
Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
 
“An important and colorful book about a topic that is absolutely essential. When people care passionately about what they do, everything falls into place, and customer satisfaction and financial results follow. David's vast experience resonates throughout this book with useful and practical advice.” 
– Suzy & Jack Welch
 
O Great One! is by far the best book on the power of recognition that I have ever read. It will make a difference not only in your life but also in the lives of people you interact with at work, at home, and in your community.”  
– Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The New One Minute Manager® and Collaboration Begins with You
 
“David Novak hit another home run with O Great One! His message is clear: when we take care of our people, they take care of everything else.”
John Calipari, head basketball coach, University of Kentucky
 
 "This heartwarming story will captivate your spirit and challenge your leadership philosophy. Nobody has more credibility to deliver this message than David, who regularly uses the magic of recognition to lead his teams to extraordinary success.”
Steve Reinemund, former chairman and CEO, PepsiCo
 
O Great One! is a sweet story that contains a very important lesson: recognition is the key to creating an open and successful organization.”
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase
 
“No one understands the power of recognition more and has translated it into tangible results better than David Novak. He is the world’s authority on recognition.”
Mike Rawlings, Mayor of Dallas
 
“The valuable lessons and insights shared in O Great One! should be applied to achieve powerful results not only in your business but with your family." 
Brian Cornell, Chairman and CEO, Target
 
O Great One! is an easy read that hits the nail on the head.  Successful companies are all about people and this book proves that people work more effectively when they are appreciated and recognized for their contributions to team success.”
Dr. Bob Rotella, psychologist and performance consultant
 
“After you devour this thoroughly enjoyable page-turner, buy it for all the leaders and future leaders in your life. It’ll make a huge difference!”
Bob Burg, coauthor of The Go-Giver and The Go-Giver Leader
 
 “Throughout his career, David has employed these same principles of recognition to drive terrific results.  It works.”
David Cote, Chairman and CEO, Honeywell

"This book reminded me of the power I have to make someone's day by being thankful for what they do. I liked its lessons so much I wanted my entire family to read it. You will love it too."
–Phil Mickelson, professional golfer