Desi Jagger's Blog

3 Things I learnt at P&G

Today is my last day at Procter & Gamble – I am leaving to follow my passion for learning and development. My seven years here have been an incredible experience and I would like to capture some of the most important lessons I have learnt.

Principle-based thinking

As a new graduate, I was excited to work at the world’s biggest fast moving consumer goods company. I couldn’t wait to design and execute plans which would be seen by millions of consumers. I was proud of the first media plan I had put together, and presented it to the marketing director for alignment.

“Take a step back, what are the principles you are following? Once we agree on the principles, deciding what to do will be very obvious.”

I had to do this to get his approval so I worked through creating my principles. Developing the principles behind my media plan enabled me to be more concise, more focused and helped me target the consumers in just the way i needed. It helped me find savings to reinvest and allowed me to drive greater reach. Everyday i now work within specific principles and objectives allowing me to make sound, consistent decisions even in my personal life.

Show appreciation for people’s work

I had spent 3 months preparing for a big meeting where all brand teams would align senior management on the annual plans. The meeting was running late and something had to be cut from the agenda – that happened to be my brand because it was small and growing and required no urgent intervention. I was disappointed – had all my work been in vain?

A week later I got a personal email from the managing director, apologizing and inviting me to Geneva to present my plans one-on-one. He gave me a whole hour of his time and he was genuinely interested in my ideas. He made me feel the work I did was meaningful and appreciated. Back in London, I worked even harder until one day my brand was still growing but no longer small.

Sell people your passion and they’ll buy your idea

I had moved to a new business with a struggling brand and a demotivated team. We were about to launch a premium product during the recession and no one believed it would succeed. In my mind, we could either go BIG or go home, there was no mid-way option.

My first meeting with my new team was a brainstorming session where I wanted to inspire them to think BIG. I shared a vision and told them the story of our success, as if it had already happened. The reaction was not ecstatic, but they began to see the opportunity.

“I can’t be sure if this idea will work, but I am 100% convinced by your passion.”

The plan we came up with was a resounding success – the launch sales exceeded our wildest expectations, our brand had record PR coverage and was mentioned in an industry report as one of the movers and shakers of the year. My team’s reaction?

“I am proud to have worked on this project” and “When can we do this again?”

This is just a glimpse of what I have learnt in my career so far. Come back soon for more anecdotes and best practices from the world of learning & development.

What is the most important thing you learnt in your last job?

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