Compendium on Leadership Lessons


Ed Burghard“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” –John Quincy Adams



The reader feedback from my most recent series of blog posts on leadership has been unexpected, amazing and so appreciated.  One reader suggested I consider authoring an eBook compiling the content of the series.  I thought it was such a great idea, I decided to do exactly that.


The Compendium (below) shares thoughts of great Procter & Gamble leaders I have had the privilege to learn from during my 33-year career with the company.  Each section provides a different perspective on what great leadership looks like.

Leadership is probably the #1 most important skill at P&G.  The Company recruits talent based on a proven track record of exhibiting leadership skills and then invests heavily in training employees to become world-class leaders.  I think it would be fair to say that P&G is obsessed with finding and developing leaders.  This recognition of the power of a culture that fosters personal leadership is what led Richard Dupree (P&G CEO from 1930 – 1947) to say – “You can take away all the buildings. you can take away all the brands, and P&G people will rebuild the company in a decade.”

If you are interested in working for (or with) P&G, this eBook is a must read.  If you know anybody who can benefit from the eBook, email them the link to this blog post.

If you want to engage your work team in a discussion about what good leadership looks like, use this eBook as a guide.  Have everybody read it and then facilitate a group discussion focused on which nuggets can be reapplied within your organization.  End your discussion with everybody wrting a personal action plan to strengthen their leadership skill set.

If you sit on a Board of Directors and want to calibrate the Board’s perspective on what good leadership looks like from your organization’s President, share the eBook with your fellow Board members and use it as a conversation starter on the topic.

If you have children looking to enter the workplace, share this eBook with them as an example of what the private sector views as leadership.  It may be the type of discussion that will give your child a head start in their career.


Imagine the positive impact a broad based discussion on what great leadership looks like might have.  It could be a very powerful thing to have people make developing their leadership skills a personal priority.  It might make people more aware of what it means to be personally accountable and that could lead to better choices.

Of course, this eBook can’t go viral unless you decide to share it with your network.  Tweet about it, email the link, blog on the subject, etc.  Anything you can do to share the link will be helping somebody become an even better leader.  Thanks in advance for whatever you decide to do.


Leave a comment on this post with your insight into what great leadership looks like.  Let’s keep the dialogue going.  If you have an example of a great leader, give that person a shout-out by sharing a story that illustrates why you see him/her that way.  Stories are a wonderful way to say thank you to that person.

If you found the eBook to be a helpful service, please leave a comment on this blog post. It is a collection of comments that illustrate how the Strengthening Brand America Program is making a difference.  By adding your voice, you make the case even more compelling.


If you click on the cover of the eBook pictured here, you will have access to a free copy of the eBook.

Leadership Lessons

Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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11 Comments so far

  1. […]   […]

  2. Angelo Veotte

    April 22, 2013

    Hello Ed,

    What an awesome resource. Simplicity at the far side of complexity is at the core of a servant heart. Thank you. Ps: if it ever gets printed please put me on the list! Take care, Angelo Veotte

  3. aldo delli paoli

    April 22, 2013

    Very interesting and shareable (I turned the question to my son who works in Procter & Gamble!!!!)
    Let me express my opinion on the matter.
    Today, the so-called “flexible organizations” are the companies that are able to “navigate” the change and the complexity of the business world. Organizational flexibility is essential for business success. Leadership is not only flexible in the ability to learn and adapt to new responsibilities, but also and above all, in the effectiveness of its initiatives, the creativity with which complex problems are solved, in actively seeking feedback on its effectiveness. Agility is also manifested in the ability of managers to change their style decision-making in response to a wide range of parameters such as urgency, level of risk, time constraints and the regional and cultural differences. No decision-making style can be applied everywhere or constantly. Agile organizations tend to have managers with the right mix of personal attributes, that is, people who demonstrate a variety of skills, clearly comfortable with ambiguity and respectful of processes without being slaves. They understand the difference between influence and authority, and therefore are completely at ease in influencing and participating in the team. They do not focus on hierarchy, but on ideas, information, creativity, flexibility, openness and curiosity. Together, these leaders are team with extensive experience, are resolute, responsive, flexible, able to speed up the decision-making process as the main issues have already been discussed. One of the biggest challenges in this complex world is the fact that we need different perspectives, different knowledge and different ways to solve a problem. Sometimes there is not one answer: there are some, or many, in the same application. What is needed is to think as a team.

  4. […]   […]

  5. Dr. MR Araneta

    April 29, 2013

    Hi Ed! This is a great reading material about true to life examples of how leadership is experienced in P&G.

    I am just wondering if you ever gathered information about P&G leadership experiences at the “testing point”? How was the situation handled?

    For example, when Rely brand was pulled out from the market despite zillions of dollar losses. Because it was the right thing to do–P&G leadership decision was to remove rely from the market. The company did what was right despite the business losses it would incur. I believe there were many narratives that could be collected and shared about individual and collective leadership decisions in P&G at that crucial “testing point”.

    The final test of leadership is not just when everything is doing well—it is at that point—when no one right solution is evident and the leader will need to go with the limited facts available and the values that formed the character of the company and its leadership..

  6. Edward

    April 29, 2013

    I have not. But, my experience is at P&G leadership puts consumers at the center of every decision. Rely is one good example. Continuing to market Pur because of the benefits it provides people in developing countries is another. In the category I worked (prescription pharmaceuticals) we had a pediatric dose of an antibiotic that was not meeting minimum volume levels for efficient production. Rather than remove the dose from the market, P&G continued to make it available because for a small percent of pediatric patients it was the only viable option to address their medico condition. On another therapy, the FDA regulations on child proofed caps was creating a real problem for senior patients. P&G’s solution was to invest in designing a new bottle cap that was both child proof and senior friendly. There are both big e little examples that I either observed or experienced on a daily basis throughout my career. But, I did not catalogue them. Doing the right thing is a P&G cultural principle. Every employee is expected to choose to do the right thing even if it is the harder option.

  7. […]   […]

  8. […]   […]

  9. I believe everything posted was very logical. But, think about this, what if you added a little information? I ain’t suggesting
    your content is not good., however what if you added something that makes people want more?
    I mean Compendium on Leadership Lessons | Strengthening Brand America is
    kinda vanilla. You could peek at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they create news headlines to get people
    to open the links. You might try adding a video or a related picture or two
    to get people excited about everything’ve written. Just my
    opinion, it could bring your blog a little bit more interesting.

  10. Edward

    July 12, 2014

    Thank you for the feedback. For perspective, the tone is intentionally educational rather than entertainment.

  11. […] Compendium on Leadership Lessons […]

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