Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Proctor & Gamble: competing on mojo


    Rosabeth Moss Kanter has some great posts on her Harvard Business School Change Master blog, supporting her new book ‘SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth, and Social Good.

Firstly, in 21st Century Workplaces, Moss Kanter writes about Super-corporations (like Procter & Gamble) which aim to become employers of choice by ensuring their people are happily employed, using their skills, with a sufficient feeling of security to plan the future, and a minimum of stressful overload:

“Hitting that sweet spot - keeping people employed in good jobs - is a goal of the vanguard companies I describe in my new book, SuperCorp. Companies such as Procter & Gamble, IBM, and others are trying to create innovation and profits through values and principles that enable them to have a positive social impact. They are thinking their way out of twentieth-century assumptions (e.g., that a job must be performed in a facility at specific times and assigned by a boss who observes performance) to create twenty-first century dynamic workplaces.”


Secondly, Moss Kanter writes more specifically about P&G's New Values-Based Strategy (in a post that looks like it was once called ‘Fall like a Lehman, Rise like a ???’).  She explains that P&G’s new CEO, Bob McDonald, is redoubling the company’s emphasis on its culture and values, linked to its 171 year-old purpose, in order to better execute a “stunning new business strategy to jump-start growth”:

“It begins in a startling, almost counterintuitive way — with company values and sense of purpose.  Invoke the heart and care about human needs, the strategy seems to say, and the money will follow.


This sounds a lot like my / Marshall Goldmsith’s concept of organisational mojo* that I discussed in my last post.  Assuming that I’m right to make this link, then the key in building mojo is that leaders understand the rising importance of values, which Moss Kanter explains is:

“For the new generation of employees, for finding innovations in underserved markets, and for getting respect from the public and favorable treatment from government.”


I’m going to review the role of values in supporting organisational mojo over the next couple of posts.



* = I recognise that Goldsmith is going to popularise this term, but I did start to write about it first!

See for example:

31 May 2008: http://strategic-hcm.blogspot.com/2008/05/need-for-internal-purpose.html

24 June 2008: http://strategic-hcm.blogspot.com/2008/06/power-of-mojo.html

8 July July 2008: http://strategic-hcm.blogspot.com/2008/07/search-for-greening.html

5 March 2009: http://blog.social-advantage.com/2009/03/social-advantage.html.





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    1. Jon

      Another interesting post and timely too. I would be most interested in what your research turns out, because it is an issue that I was thinking about too. Only I was coming at it from the perspective of how many of the great companies were built up from a basis of strong values.

      It cannot be coincidence that many of the first of the great 'global' names were founded by Quakers - think IBM, Kelloggs, Cadbury, to name just 3. And it is when values go out the window that you get the kind of shameful situations like Lehman Brothers, the first anniversary of whose demise was 'celebrated' just yesterday.

    2. Hi Bay,

      Yes, and I think it was what Rowan Williams was talking about yesterday when he mentioned the whole fundamental principle on which bankers work being unreal and empty...


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