How does a company deal with constant innovation and disruption? The answer, says Dunkin’ Brands CEO Nigel Travis, is to embrace the “challenge culture.” Having been Chief Operations Officer at Blockbuster, Travis knows firsthand the risks of failing to anticipate imminent change and push back against the status quo. “The world used to seem static and it doesn’t anymore,” reflects Travis. Having seen his former company obliterated by the digital upstart Netflix, in his next role with Papa John’s Pizza, Travis made sure that he took the lead with digital initiatives and ultimately tripled the chain’s online sales. Having once been an executive at a company that failed to keep up with the pace of change, Travis is now a disciple of disruption – an enthusiastic innovator who thrives on the thrill of transformation. “The world can change in the blink of an eye,” says Travis. “That’s exciting and fun.”
An experienced and accomplished manager and strategist, Travis draws upon his own extensive background in multiple industries and areas of business. After Papa John’s, Travis moved to Dunkin’, where he instilled his twin philosophies of anticipating the future and encouraging employees to openly challenge corporate leadership with new ideas. Successfully managing a company comprised of 18,000 franchises worldwide has made Travis a foremost authority on sustaining a complex organization, and channeling disagreement and conflicting interests into constructive enterprise. A keen sports fan, Travis is also owner of the London-based Leyton Oriental football club. Having inherited a team in disarray with a rigidly hierarchical leadership structure, Travis encouraged his players to push back against team management structure. The result was a revival of the club’s fortunes, reflecting that in any organization, flexibility is the key to dynamism.
As a speaker, he is the ideal candidate for a company that wants clear, plain-spoken advice about how to run a company in a time of great change. Aside from building a challenge culture (which is also the topic of his forthcoming book, “The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback” (PublicAffairs, September 2018)), Travis is an expert on the power of anticipation in planning long-term strategy, mastering the art of management in a global corporation, and building trust through communication in a complex organization. Travis’ keynotes can help companies grappling with uncertainty embrace the ingredients necessary to compete as corporate dynamos in a transformative age.