What I Learned From Working at the World’s Biggest Consumer Packaged Goods Company (Part 2)

  • April 2015
  • Posted By Janet Muto

Read Part 1 here.

Procter & Gamble appears to be changing radically by reducing its headcount and brands. While P&G might one day lose its title as the world’s biggest CPG company, I have no doubts that it will remain a top training ground for business strategists. Here are 3 more lessons I learned as a Consumer & Market Knowledge manager at Gillette.


#5 Be a team player
“Business is personal, and relationships do matter,” says Morag Barrett, author of the new book “Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationship.” This statement was extremely evident at P&G, given that every commercial employee changed roles every 2-3 years. The chances were extremely high that you would work with the same individuals again later in your career. Moreover, there are so many P&G alumni in all facets of the business world that burning bridges or having a bad reputation that precedes you could haunt you even as a former ex-P&G employee (also known as a Proctoid).

The most important thing to remember is that we are all humans with varying motivations for being at work, incentivized by different things, and with lives outside of work. Approaching a team member with empathy will always yield more collaboration, happier times at work, and ultimately stronger business results as a team. I used to be annoyed when my sports marketing team would seemingly waste the first 15 minutes of every meeting talking about the adorable mishaps of raising a child. In fact, those stories of infant potty training actually allowed the team to work together without conflicts and deliver significant business results.

#6 Create a network of mentors
In addition to bonding with my immediate team members, I also built strong relationships with mentors. It was a bit overboard, but P&G believed in the value of mentorship and assigned me three mentors (1 for being Asian, 1 in my function, 1 outside my function) and a coach. I did not necessarily click with all of them and searched for others who I could trust and connect with on everything from my woes with my manager to getting best-in-class examples on a certain subject. My network of mentors’ perspectives, guidance, wisdom, and countless hours of ‘real talk’ helped me become a better business owner and human being.

#7 Take advantage of the resources at your disposal
One of the main reasons why I wanted to start my career at P&G was because I knew the company had vast resources for on- and off- the-job training. I attended many in-house seminars that helped me hone my business writing and persuasive communication skills. Once I discovered there was a budget for personal development, I took advantage of that pot of money voraciously, attending TEDx conferences and storytelling seminars. I also wanted to gain exposure to international cultures and with some persistence and compelling arguments, I traveled to Germany, Korea, and Brazil to conduct consumer research, a rare privilege even compared to my other P&G peers. I encourage everyone to ask their employers for financial assistance to pursue their professional and personal development, because you’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

One of my favorite quote from Steve Jobs says, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” Looking back, my time at P&G was instrumental in how I solve business problems and think about my career. It showed me why I love being in consumer insights.


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