lessons from p&g

It’s now been six years since I left my job at P&G. While looking through old files, I found this note that I shared with my coworkers as I left: Six Lessons I Learned from Six Years at P&G.

As I leave, I can’t help but be compelled to leave some advice for you and your next employee (I promise not to be too jealous). Unsolicited, unrequested, unasked-for advice from a non-executive, far-from-veteran, boyishly-handsome employee:

1. Take chances.

The best advice I received came from my first manager: “it’s better to have to beg for forgiveness than to sit around waiting for permission.” Take chances, do what inspires you, and don’t sit around waiting for someone to tell you to be great.

2. Deliver results.

If you want long-term success with P&G (or any company), you have to deliver your workplan consistently–that’s what gets you solid ratings. The other stuff you do (these other tips) will get you the top ratings.

3. Be yourself.

Why have split personalities (you at home and you at work)? Be yourself, be silly, have fun. It’ll help you enjoy your work more, and help your co-workers enjoy you more.

4. Be positive.

It’s easy to be negative. Trust me, as a Bengals fan I would save myself a lot of heartbreak if I didn’t get my hopes up. But that’s not what life is about. Be positive about the situation and look for things you can build on (instead of criticize).

5. Be inclusive.

A leader includes and lifts those around them, even if they do things that irk you (like chew gum in that really obnoxious way). It improves not just your own situation, but the situation of your team, organization and co-workers.

6. Choose fun.

As the self-proclaimed corporate humorist, this is the most important piece of advice I can give you. If you want to enjoy your work more and gain the benefits of using humor in the workplace, you have to make that choice. It’s one you make, actively or passively, every day, so choose fun.

That’s it. Six years boiled down to six bullet points.

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