Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley has been a huge success in his eight years at the helm of the consumer goods giant, having revived a sagging company. Now he offers some important lessons from the experience in his new book, "The Game-Changer, How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth With Innovation" (Crown Business, 336 pages) , co-written with business consultant Ram Charan. In brief:
- Motive purpose and ideas: People work better when turned on.
- Stretch goals: Pushing is important but don't overdo as P&G did in 2000.
- "Choiceful" strategies: Innovation helps you choose when to launch new products or drop old ones.
- Unique core strengths: Utilize what you have always done well.
- Enabling structures: The firm's structure make-up must endorse innovation.
- Consistent and reliable systems: You need a check for the chaos.
- Courageous and connected culture: Don't punish innovators.
- Inspiring leadership: The best energize and inspire workers while being honest.
Full disclosure: I covered P&G as a business journalist a decade ago when Jager and his predecessor, gentlemanly John Pepper, were in charge. It was a love-hate thing. I admired the company's innovation but hated its militaristic, secretive ways. Give me the Kremlin any day.
I may have been a decade too soon since I hear that Lafley's really changed things. Good for him. His book has plenty of useful insights although it does read at times like a PowerPoint presentation. It's worth a look on a long airplane ride. Let me know what you think.