A view from Jennelle Tilling

KFC global marketing chief's secret work weapon

Jennelle Tilling, global chief marketing and innovation officer at KFC, explains her formula for a successful working day - workouts, words of praise and whisky....

My formula for a successful day at work can be summed up by the three Ws.

The first "W" is working out. Much of my global role revolves around understanding different culture codes, and travel allows me to do that firsthand. These trips enable me to work with our teams in more than 125 countries to tackle a central marketing challenge: how to make the KFC brand more loved, vibrant and connected with our customers.

Running is my go-to for getting over the trickiest aspect of travel: jet lag. But, for me, exercise is much more than a cure for 15 gruelling hours on a plane.

During one of my runs, I get to see the residents of Beijing doing tai chi in a park; Aussie blokes in wetsuits on Sydney’s Manly Beach attempting to catch the perfect wave; the early morning revellers of Tokyo walking off their karaoke-fuelled hangovers.

Working out gives me an opportunity to observe and explore another city and its culture. I can’t tell you how many insights and ideas I’ve gleaned from strapping on my Nikes and just running. It’s the very definition of "track and field" work.

Words of praise is the second "W". We all like getting kudos for our work (who doesn’t?). But who knew that giving that recognition would actually be even more fulfilling? I can thank David Novak for that. David, our long-time chairman and chief executive, brought the concept of recognition to Yum! and embedded it into the culture. It’s now one of the hallmarks of the company – and one of the reasons I can walk out of the office on a brutal day with a positive attitude.

My advice: create your own recognition award, give it to a colleague and watch making someone’s day be the highlight of yours. If the first two "Ws" somehow don’t manage to work, there’s always the third: whisky. It never fails.

Jennelle Tilling is the global chief marketing and innovation officer at KFC