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A.G. Lafley and 3 questions every leader must answer

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A.G. Lafley will be taking the helm once again as CEO of consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble.

He retired from the company four years ago and is replacing Bob McDonald, the person he identified as his successor. As a P&G alumnus, I got a note sent by Lafley to the employees of P&G. Here is his note; it reminded me of all the reasons I am grateful for having worked at that company. My experiences there and the people I worked with taught me a lot about leadership, including the three questions that every leader should answer.

Announcement from A.G. Lafley:

Dear P&Gers,

Today I am rejoining P&G. I’m looking forward to working with all of you again,
to do what we do best and what matters most — win with consumers.

I want to thank Bob McDonald for his 33 years of service to the Company, and for
his leadership. I’ve known Bob his entire career, and he has real passion for doing
what is right and for improving the lives of consumers around the world.

I also want to thank P&Gers for the work you’re doing to win with consumers. I want
to assure you that we will build on the business momentum behind the current growth

1. Strengthening core developed market business.
2. Maintaining strong developing market momentum.
3. Building and leveraging a strong innovation pipeline.
4. Driving cost savings and productivity improvements.

I will be getting up to speed on the business in the next several weeks. In the
meantime, here are a few of my core beliefs:

  • The consumer is boss — at the heart of everything we do.
  • We create and build brands that improve consumers’ lives.
  • Innovation is our lifeblood.
  • Every P&Ger is an owner and a leader — we are one team, with one dream, collaborating internally and competing externally.

I look forward to working with you in the days and weeks ahead.



Let’s reflect back, each of us, to our own businesses. As leaders of our businesses, do we have the kind of concise clarity on these three questions that Lafley answers in his letter.

  1. Whom do we serve?
  2. What are the three to five priorities that will make a difference to those we serve?
  3. What are our core values as a leader?

Based on this letter, I will certainly be taking the time to think through these questions for my business. I hope you will, too.

Henna Inam is CEO of Transformational Leadership, a company focused on helping women achieve their potential to be transformational leaders. As a former C-suite executive with Fortune 500 companies, her passion is to help leaders be successful, deeply engaged and create organizations that drive breakthroughs in innovation, growth and engagement. Connect with her @hennainam on Twitter and on her blog.