What I Learned From Working at P&G
Worldwide CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi
"I learned that leaders must inspire everyone they touch to be the best they can be. I learned that the best cases are strategic and that relentless execution is the killer app. And finally, I learned that a company that plays like a team and feels like a family operates at peak more often than other organizations."
"I have been fortunate to be part of P&G and would do it again if I could start over. Like many other great companies such as Nestlé or Unilever, it is a great training ground. I have also learned that it's not the only one."
Paolo de Cesare
CEO, French retailer Printemps
"The relentless focus on the consumer. From the first day in P&G life you learn that the only way to success is a deep understanding of the final customers, how they buy, use, enjoy the product. Product performance and superiority is the key to long-term success of Procter products (and managers!) I think A.G. Lafley summarized this well with the saying "Consumer is Boss,' but this has been part of the DNA of the company for decades. Interestingly, every time a business gets in trouble you can trace it back to the lack of consumer understanding or sufficient product differentiation and superiority."
Chief marketing officer, Seventh Generation
"I learned how to sell a program on one page and not 150 pages of Power Point. I learned how to ask the right questions that enable you to figure out the things that you don't know. I learned to always ask myself, and others, whether answering a particular question or doing some analysis will actually make an MSU of difference (the measure of a statistical case at P&G) and only to pursue those that do. I learned how to lead with the facts and the even greater importance of winning the heart. "
Chief marketing officer, MasterCard
"The very essence of [alums'] professional approach is rooted in our growing up at P&G. The key salient traits would be: Leadership, the bold kind; a sense of innovation and breakthrough; a passion for advertising and communication in general."
CEO, Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Philippines
"The most important thing I learned at P&G was to think about the consumer first. In many business situations, it is easy to become distracted by internal issues like cost structure. But if we think about everything from a consumer and customer lens, it forces us to think about how to gain true, sustainable advantage."
Former P&G global marketing officer, now consultant and adjunct marketing professor at UCLA
"It boils down to three things. One is not really the one-page memo, but the structure of the one-page memo. I still find today I think that way. I don't think of any communication without thinking what I want in the first line, provide some relevant background, and then state your objectives and strategy to achieve them. How you're going to measure it, and what you want from the reader and anyone else. The second is the level of breadth and depth in training. Some of my most vivid memories of the company are when I was put in difficult situations and tested on that in a positive way. The third is the ability to lead a diverse group of people, sometimes around the world, to a common end. And more specifically in the marketing/advertising world is leading agencies productively and effectively."
CEO, Schiff Nutrition
"The importance of the consumer, brands and of brand equity. I was on both Ivory Shampoo (which lacked equity) and Pantene (which stood for more than the size of the business in the early "90s). I learned the art of convincing consumers to choose one brand over another."
"Two things stand out most in my mind. One is the ability to think critically and bring the relevant information into decision making. It's something that 's truly uncommon in much of the business world, where all too often people bring all the information they've ever considered or heard about a topic and it's difficult really extracting the relevant information. The second is really related: the quality of communication skills. As painful as it was as a brand assistant to spend the energy and time working on both written and verbal communications on things that seemed to be relatively small in the big picture of driving business results, that training leads to not just better focus for organizations down the road, but I found it has an impact on business decision-making. The clarity of getting people to work on the right things in the right order is something I never expected."