Quite simply, P&G executives are considered the Navy SEALs of management. This results in no small measure from a razor-like focus on internal succession planning at all levels. From its inception 174 years ago, promotion from within has been a hallmark of the company. It places a rigorous process on managers to develop managers below them. In general, your boss can’t be promoted until you are ready to be promoted. P&G scored very high in its internal development program, receiving the maximum points for the percentage of its leaders that are internally recruited as well as being referenced by others as the source of their external talent search.
Development encompasses both formal as well as informal training. In 2000, when A.G. Lafley became CEO, he asked then-COO Bob McDonald to start a general manager college where individuals were taught values-based leadership, a curriculum McDonald himself created. He trains many of these 250 leaders personally. Some outsiders think it crazy that the CEO devotes his own time to this process. “It’s the most valuable resource this company has,” he shoots back. “This is exactly the difference between our company and others.”