This is the last lecture I gave on the day I retired from Procter & Gamble. The purpose was to share some of my career lessons. I thought it would be appropriate to share broadly in case it can inspire better leadership performance.
My Last Lecture - Leadership Lessons From My Procter & Gamble Career
MY 12 TOP LEARNINGS
OVER 33 YEARS
LEARNING TO HELP YOU
Anywhere You Work
1976 - Graduated SUNY @ Potsdam with a BA in Mathematics
1976 - 1977 - Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals Computer Programmer
1978 - 1980 - Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals CBD Field Sales Compensation Coordinator
1981 - 1982 - Norwich Eaton Pharmaceuticals Strategic Planning Manager
1983 - Graduated from Syracuse University with an MBA in Innovation Management
1983 - 1985 - PGP Brand Assistant Didronel
1985 - 1986 - PGP Assistant Brand Manager Buprenex
1986 - 1989 - PGP Global Brand Manager Macrodantin
1990 - 1991 - PGP AMD Antiinfectives, Arthritis and Bone Metabolism
1992 - 1994 - PGP Canada MD
1995 - 1999 - PGP North America Current Business MD
1999 - 2005 - PGP United States Harley Procter Marketer
2005 - 2009 - PGP Harley Procter Marketer Executive on Loan as CEO, Ohio Business Development Coalition
2009 - Retired from P&G
2009 - 2011 - CEO, Ohio Business Development Coalition
2011 - Now - CEO and Founder, The Burghard Group LLC
LEARNING # 1
Superior Insight is the Key To Winning in Business
• Not enough to learn what somebody does, you need to
understand why they do it.
• Understanding the purchase decision and the usage
experience is a key to great brand building.
• People need a compelling reason to change their behavior,
and superior performance is often not enough. Emotion will
LEARNING # 2
When you Plan to Win and Prepare to Win, then
you have a Right to Win
When you don’t know where you are going any path will get
Brilliant strategy and failure to execute is a disaster.
Preparation doesn’t mean project delay.
Winning is a team sport. You need real commitment to
succeed. Take the time to envision and enroll.
Fail Fast, Fail Cheap is not an excuse to fail.
LEARNING # 3
Writing Improves Thinking
It is an alignment Process. Rewrites are a buy signal.
Cheaper to fail on paper than in the market place.
Business value gets clearly articulated.
Logic is easier to test.
Resource requirements are clear.
Comments on thinking are often more rationale than
LEARNING # 4
Success is Best Measured by Sustained
Even a blind squirrel can find a nut once in awhile.
It takes 3-years to accomplish anything meaningful and to
learn and grow from it.
John Wooden - Winning takes talent, repeating takes
LEARNING # 5
Integrity and Trust are Earned by your Behavior,
not by your Words
Covey - You can’t talk your way out of a situation you
behaved your way into.
Do you do what is right even when nobody is looking?
You cannot be trustworthy if you don’t trust.
If you fail to do what you say, you let down the people who
are counting on you. That compromises both your integrity
and the person’s who trusted you.
Don’t make promises lightly.
LEARNING # 6
There are Some Choices that are Always Wrong
Regardless of Circumstances
Always be principle based in your decisions.
Compromising your values is never right.
Doing the right thing often takes courage and personal risk.
Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers do
LEARNING # 7
It is Always Better to Inspire than Inform
Your job is to look into the future and then help people see
what can be.
Capture the heart and the head will follow.
First you must believe.
There are 24 inches between your brain and your heart,
make the journey often.
LEARNING # 8
Truth has Boundaries
• We act according to the “truth” as we have come to believe
it, not necessarily as it really is.
• Don’t go by what is apparent, what is apparent may be only
what you are allowing yourself to see. What is the “real”
truth? What are you leaving out?
• Once somebody makes a decision they will surround
themselves with facts and people that support the decision.
LEARNING # 9
Agreeing to Disagree is a Valid Outcome
It is not about winning a debate, it is about accomplishing a
Covey - Seek first to understand before being understood.
Two people can look at the same facts and reach different
conclusions based on their experience.
Not every decision is yours, management is there to help
when the choice is not clear.
LEARNING # 10
People Begin each Day with the Hope of
Contributing Value and Being Valued
Nobody purposefully wants to fail.
One person’s definition of success might not be the same
as yours. Take time to understand what a win looks like to
others and commit to helping them realize it.
We don’t work for each other, we work with each other.
We herd sheep, we drive cattle, we lead people.
Leadership includes helping people achieve more than they
believe they are capable of.
LEARNING # 11
Teaching Someone to Fish is the Greatest Gift you
Extends your capacity to accomplish things.
Helps you learn at a deeper level. “To teach is to learn
Teaching is a way to leave a personal legacy.
LEARNING # 12
Service Above Self is True Leadership
There is no better reward than helping people reach their
This is not a head game, it is a heart game.
Give others credit whenever authentically possible and you
will earn respect and loyalty.
Business is all about people. You need to care.
CLOSE ON MY FAVORITE QUOTE
FROM THE MOVIE
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory Lasts Forever
It has been an honor to share the field of
battle with you.”