As part of my class project on Authentic Organization, a group of students invited Ricardo Carrasquinho, Paper Sector Business Leader at Procter & Gamble, Spain. His visit to our class opened a space for debate about what makes an organization authentic.
Here are the core ideas of our class discussion:
1. There is no perfect organization, but some touch our hearts more than others.
P&G has an uplifting vision for employees. This vision frames their everyday work as a meaningful activity to touch the lives of others. Employees are invited to think of their unique impact on people.
In their promotional video, P&G emphasizes things like:
- “It´s always being about people.”
- “In small but meaningful ways, each of these lives is a little better.”
- “We touch lives, billions of them.”
- “Even the smallest idea can build a better world – today and tomorrow.”
- “How would you touch someone´s life today?”
2. The journey to authenticity is long, that´s why employees’ wellbeing must be at the core.
- At P&G, newcomers embrace the values of the organization since the beginning.
- With a results-oriented culture, employees are motivated to achieve their goals with autonomy on the process.
- The “build-from-within” promotion systems create a context for employees to grow and develop.
- The mantra that your professional life is always linked to your personal life fuels work-life policies. Ricardo’s six-month planning allows him to organize his travel and still spend time with his daughter in Portugal.
3. A unified vision of leadership is visualized here and now through its positive impact on consumers´ life.
In their commercial video “Thank you, Mom”, P&G uses the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil to unify its “brand” company image into a common vision. The road map to this end includes the following:
- The consumer is the boss.
- Innovation is P&G’s lifeblood.
- Consumers are brought to the innovation center.
- Resources are spent in R&D.
- Agility is the secret to change a big company.
- Moms are the real heroes.
In the end, Ricardo shared with us his leadership approach – one team, same direction; transparency and empathy; giving people equal treatment from the general manager to a receptionist; and being approachable. Thank you Ricardo for your time and insights, for stimulating great discussion and giving us food for thought.
Special thanks to Antonia and her team for organizing the meeting.