sequesters the suds and allows you to rinse
with one bucket of water, an innovation
particularly designed for people at the
bottom of the economic pyramid.
VISCONTI What do you expect to flow
through at the end of the day—the tangibles
to the bottom line of the business?
MCDONALD It’s developing and delivering
sustainable, outstanding business results,
being in the top third of our peer group
and total shareholder-return sustainability,
and doing that through a workforce that
represents the consumers we’re trying to
serve, the lives we’re trying to improve.
Importantly, people are performing at their
peak. For people to perform at their peak,
we’ve got to be empathetic to their needs
and improving employees’ lives while we’re
working to improve the lives of the world’s
If you ask me what success is, every
person in the world uses a Procter &
Gamble product. It’s every employee
reporting to us that they’re working at their
full potential and that we’re helping provide
meaning in their lives.
“I have a set of 10
No. 1 is living
a life driven by
I love Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He wrote
the book right after World War II. He was in the Auschwitz
concentration camp and what he discovered was a new school of
Freud was all about looking in the past and basing your future
behavior on what happened in the past. Frankl was about developing
a vision of the future, recognizing the control you have over that
vision. He would convince people in Auschwitz that how they
reacted to those guards was in their control, that they could have
a positive vision of the future that would determine the positive
nature of their future.
I believe what we do in this company in improving lives is giving
people meaning in their lives. I went to West Point because I wanted
to free the people who were living in un-free societies. I joined P&G
because I wanted to make a difference in the world.
When I go to college campuses today, the students tell us they want
to work for a company where they can have meaning, where they can
make a difference. I think that’s the opportunity we provide.
VISCONTI In your bio, there’s a long list of organizations that you
serve. Can you talk about how important that is to you?
MCDONALD I’m trying to help people understand what their
individual purpose is in life. I have a set of 10 leadership beliefs:
No. 1 is living a life driven by a purpose, compared with simply
meandering through life without direction. With technology the way
it is today, everyone is time starved. It’s possible to go through life
reacting to external forces.
I’ve given this speech maybe 300 different times, maybe every
college campus almost in the world. For me, it’s a calling. If I can
help students understand how to make a difference in the lives of
others and if that is a higher purpose, then they should set that
purpose now rather than simply reacting to what affects them.
The point is people like to do what they’re good at, and they’re
good at what they like to do. We naturally gravitate to certain things,
and that may lift the veil a bit on what your purpose is.
It’s the No. 1 thing, in my opinion, that differentiates those who
succeed at Procter & Gamble versus those who don’t, or those who
succeed in life versus those who don’t. It’s maintaining the ability
to learn. I often tell people, “When you graduate, you’re not done
learning. That’s the beginning of the learning journey.”
No one can predict the future with certainty, particularly in
today’s world, which we at P&G call a VUCA world (volatile,
uncertain, complex and ambiguous). How do we prepare ourselves
for that future to make the right decisions in real time? The way to
do that is to continue the ability to learn.
The leadership challenge today is so different with so many
generations that are so diverse. The people complain about not text
messaging and other things like that, which is all true.
What is going to be the analogy for the young person today?
Twenty or 30 years from now, they’re going to face the same
The older you get, the harder it is to learn new things. Reverse
mentoring becomes a very powerful concept: forcing yourself to
learn things that are new or very difficult is a powerful concept. If
we don’t do that, we won’t get the most out of life. DI