Friday, January 27, 2012

Lessons from Procter & Gamble – Creating The Vision

Do you have 20/20 vision? How clearly can you see? How clearly can you see into the future?

Does your company have 2020 vision? That is to say, does your company have a clear view of what it wants to accomplish by 2020? You may see this as just a clever play on words. However, it is much more than this. Without a clear vision that is known and understood throughout the company, chances are that your company will not maximize its success. It is like trying to operate without your own 20/20 vision. Things just get blurry. Since it is all about sight and that is best from high up, not surprisingly, it is commonly the responsibility of the CEO to articulate and lead activities toward achievement of the vision.

A well-conceived vision consists of two major components: core ideology and envisioned future. Core ideology defines what the company stands for and why it exists. It is made up of core values and core purpose. We recently wrote about core values, both in general and in specifics, for Procter & Gamble. We also wrote about core purpose, “why do we exist”, the second part of the core ideology. These two elements are unchanging and complement the envisioned future. The envisioned future is what we aspire to become, to achieve, to create.

Vision captures both of these elements and does so in terms of defining a future state. A vision is a picture of what success will be at a particular time in the future. It encompasses answers to an array of questions: What does your organization look like? How big is it? For what are you famous? Why does anyone care about what you do? How do people who work there feel about their jobs? A great vision is inspiring. It gets you and everyone in the organization excited to come to work. This is not mere wishful thinking. A vision must also be strategically sound. You have to have a reasonable shot at getting there. Vision provides guidance about what core to preserve and what future to stimulate progress toward. But vision has become one of the most overused and least understood words in the language, conjuring up different images for different people of deeply held values, outstanding achievement, exhilarating goals, motivating forces, or raisons d’etre.

Companies that enjoy enduring success have core values and a core purpose that remain fixed while their business strategies and practices adapt to a changing world. The dynamic of preserving the core while stimulating progress is the reason that companies such as Procter & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Sony, Motorola, and Nordstrom became elite institutions, able to renew themselves and achieve superior long-term performance. In Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, the authors found that these companies have outperformed the general stock market by a factor of 12 since 1925.

The second primary component of the vision framework is envisioned future. At Procter & Gamble in their strategic planning process, this is called the Objective. It is a qualitative statement of what the company targets to accomplish. In some ways Objective is somewhat paradoxical. On the one hand, it conveys concreteness, something visible, vivid, and real. On the other hand, it involves a future time with its dreams, hopes, and aspirations.

Procter & Gamble and other visionary companies use bold mission statements as a powerful way to stimulate progress. These serve as a unifying focal point of effort and act as a catalyst for team spirit. They have a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal.

supports the envisioned future with an engaging and specific description of what it will be like to achieve the Objective. It translates the vision from words into pictures, of creating an image that people can carry around in their heads. Passion, emotion, and conviction are essential parts of the vivid description. Perhaps the most dramatic statement of a vision was President Kennedy’s announcement that the US would put a man on the moon within ten years. Not only was this a rallying cry but it also guided action and resource allocations. They made it happen!

We have found that many executives struggle with mission statements and vision statements. They overanalyze or underallocate effort to the process. These statements turn out to be an ill-defined mix of values, goals, purposes, philosophies, beliefs, aspirations, strategies and descriptions. They are usually a boring, confusing, stream of words that evoke the response “True, but who cares?” They fail to preserve the core and stimulate progress. A true vision simply provides the context for bringing this dynamic to life.

This may seem like a simple process. It isn’t. As you can see, it combines the analytical with the creative and then necessitates alignment across the organization, if it is going to be successful. We have had experience both at Procter & Gamble and with many other companies in our consulting business. We know the powerful results that can come from the investment of time and energy in creating a sound vision for the company.

How is your foresight? Does your company have 2020 Vision? Do you need help with your 2020 Vision?



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management
View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lessons from Procter & Gamble –Focus for Market Leadership

Getting profitable and staying profitable is what it’s all about for companies. Being the market leader, while not an easy task, is certainly one way to help make that happen. P&G has the largest lineup of leading brands in its industry, with 22 brands with over $1 billion in annual sales and another 19 brands generating about $500 million or more in annual sales. In 2000, there were 10 brands over a Billion; today, they have 22. During this period, the company’s revenue has doubled from $40 Billion to $80 Billion.

As you may have read in our last article about Core Values, Procter & Gamble is very clear on their objective to have superior products, not just in performance, but in consumer preference. They have sharpened their focus on how to deliver this. This sharpened focus has meant selling off or discontinuing a number of very successful brands, but brands that did not fit with an opportunity for global market leadership.

The company used to market a stable of brands and achieve market leadership through the combined sales. For example, when I joined P&G in the early seventies, in laundry detergents, the company marketed Tide, Cheer, Bold, Gain, Duz, Dreft, Era, Liquid Tide, Ivory Snow and the first detergent, Oxydol. There were probably several others as well that just don’t come to mind. Combined, this provided market leadership.

However, it resulted in increased costs. The brands competed against one another for sales force time, retailer promotions, shelf space, advertising, media time slots, in-store offers and most importantly, Procter & Gamble management attention. As a Brand Manager, my task was to get a larger share of company effort so that I could increase my brand’s impact with consumers. It was not uncommon for a great idea to be expended on one of the smaller brands and thus dilute its impact. The company realized that it would be far better served to focus its efforts on the lead brands and make them clear market leaders. The billion dollar brands are the result.

Today, Procter & Gamble has a very clear path for its mega brands to achieve market dominance. All of the very best people, ideas, support and processes are given to one brand and not spread across multiple brands. In fact, there has been an increasing tendency to “borrow” from one mega brand in one category to assist another in a separate category.

There are many benefits to being the market leader and we will highlight some in a separate article.

But what is the value of the Procter & Gamble experience for your business if you do not have a stable of billion dollar brands or are not the market leader?

Here are 5 tips I learned from my time at Procter building the smaller brands or opening up new categories and industries for the company.

1. Be choiceful in selecting the market / industry / geography in which you will compete. Make certain that you have an opportunity to be able to gain a leadership position in the arena that you select, perhaps not immediately, but within a reasonable time frame.

2. Focus your resources to build a solid base in one area and become successful before you move to additional areas.

3. Hire and use “A” class people. Your best investment will be in your people. Skimp in other areas if needed since the great people will be able to over compensate.

4. Take good care of your customers. You would be surprised at how many companies we see that overlook their current customers in the drive to get new ones.

5. Take advantage of consulting and contracting help to both capitalize on their expertise and keep your costs down overall. This may sound self-serving, since we are consultants, but there is no substitute for experience.

Market leadership brings with it many benefits that help companies get profitable and stay profitable. Look for our next article that highlights some of those benefits.



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management
View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lessons from Procter & Gamble – P&G’s Core Values

We recently wrote about the importance of Core Values as an integral part of strategy for companies. A book written by ex-senior Procter & Gamble management, “When Core Values are Strategic” has just been released. Given my 23 years with the company, the values I espouse for Maver Management and for our clients are among those covered in detail in the book. We were all grounded similarly. The book tells personal stories of how the basic values of Procter & Gamble transformed leadership at Fortune 500 companies. The track record for most senior P&G executives, both with P&G or subsequently with other companies, has been outstanding.

Adherence to Core Values, such as the ones below, has been instrumental in that success. Here are the Procter & Gamble Core Values:

People - We attract and recruit the finest people in the world. We build our organization from within, promoting and rewarding people without regard to any difference unrelated to performance. We act on the conviction that the men and women of Procter & Gamble will always be our most important asset.

Leadership - We are all leaders in our area of responsibility, with a deep commitment to deliver leadership results. We have a clear vision of where we are going. We focus our goals to achieve leadership objectives and strategies.

Ownership - We accept personal accountability to meet the business needs, improve our systems, and help others improve their effectiveness. We all act like owners, treating the company's assets as our own and behaving with the company's long-term success in mind.

Integrity - We always try to do the right thing. We are honest and straight-forward with each other. We operate within the letter and spirit of the law. We uphold the values and principles of P&G in every action and decision. We are data-based and intellectually honest in advocating proposals, including recognizing risks.

Trust - We are determined to be the best at doing what matters most. We have a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo. We have a compelling desire to improve and to win in the marketplace.

Passion for Winning - We respect our P&G colleagues, customers, and consumers and treat them as we want to be treated. We have confidence in each other's capabilities and intentions. We believe that people work best when there is a foundation of trust.

Do Procter & Gamble’s Core Values help you understand the base upon which P&G has built a multi-billion dollar global business? Interestingly, if you review the histories of the company, you will find that these Core Values, stated in some form, have been consistent throughout the 150 years that the company has existed.

Do these values trigger opportunities or ideas for you with your company? If we can help you define your Core Values and make them a sound basis for your strategic planning, contact us. We have had great success with companies from Fortune Top 10 to startups.



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management
View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lessons from Procter & Gamble – Core Values and Their Strategic Nature

Core Values are often overlooked as an important, in fact vital, part of strategic planning for a company. While Core Purpose is the Mission and identifies why the company exists, Core Values fundamentally outline what the company is and how it will operate. Hence, it is a critical base upon which to build the company’s plan.

Core Values are essential and enduring tenets which prescribe the attitude and character of an organization. They are a small set of timeless, guiding principles that require no external justification, but have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization. Therefore, there is no universally right set of Core Values. Companies generally have only 3-5, since only a few values will be truly core.

Can you see the critical strategic importance of the Core Values stated below for these four companies? They clearly define and help shape the direction of the company. You will note that only one mentions honesty and integrity. That doesn’t mean that the others do not value it. In most cases, it is a given. Companies just cannot survive in any business without it and so it is generally not stated for inclusion. Look at the values and see the impact that they have on their organizations. I suspect that you will be nodding in agreement with most of them as you reflect on each company.

 Corporate social responsibility
 Unequivocal excellence in all aspects of the company
 Science based innovation
 Honesty and integrity
 Profit but profit from work that benefits humanity

 Service to the customer above all else
 Hard work and individual productivity
 Never be satisfied
 Excellence in reputation; being part of something special

 Elevation of the Japanese culture and national status
 Being a pioneer – not following others; doing the impossible
 Encouraging individual ability and creativity

Walt Disney
 No Cynicism
 Nurturing and promulgation of wholesome American values
 Creativity dreams and imagination
 Fanatical attention to consistency and detail
 Preservation and control of the Disney magic

What are your personal Core Values? What are the Core Values for your company? How closely are they aligned? If they are not well aligned, you had better start looking for a new company because you will ultimately become very unhappy.

If we can help you with not only crystalizing the Core Values, but helping you to build the strategic plans on them, contact us.



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management
View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn