Cultural Studies…P&G

P&G Brand Management was my first job after graduation  At the time, P&G was known for, among other things, it’s highly developed (some would say elitist) culture. During 4 years of service, I was inculcated with the P&G way of thinking and doing things. 

Fast forward, I often work with executives on defining the key ingredients needed to germinate and implement cultural change. Much of my analysis is based on what has worked in other firms and industries, customized for the client.  More often than not, the lessons I learned at P&G, most of which are now considered ‘best practices,’  is what I  would recommend and deploy  In essence, the corporate culture defines how an organization thinks and acts based on its people, values, history and practices.

The following is my top 10 list of key P&G practices and values that have helped build its strong and vibrant culture. 

  1. Establish a common creed – P&G embraces and lives certain axioms like the ‘Consumer is Queen’;
  2. Lead by example – The CEO and executive teams personify the culture and consistently reinforce it through their actions;
  3. Hire and train right – The right people, properly developed and led , will develop a unique esprit de corps geared to high performance;
  4. Establish clear roles & responsibilities – Transparent authority, direct reporting lines and delineated responsibilities leads to faster execution and reduced politicking;
  5. Communicate regularly up, down and across the organization – Breaking down silos ensures everyone is aligned and has access to the relevant data to make better decisions;
  6. Focus on innovation – P&G was and remains one of the most innovative global firms across all areas of activity including product development, marketing and structure;
  7. Maintain organizational flexibility  – Structure and process reflect corporate priorities, not the other way around;
  8. Make data-driven decisions – Decisions carry a lot of credibility and rapid buy-in since they are based on comprehensive financial, consumer and strategic rationales as well as multi-functional input;
  9. Leverage internal and external best practices – P&G quickly leverages what works in other businesses and geographies
  10. Promote from within – Well understood expectations, evaluation criteria and mentoring requirements ensures consistency and human capital development while reducing politicking.

P&G’s culture is not without its fault and strains.  However, most firms would be doing well to check off half of these points.

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