Instructions to Get You Home
Advice from former P&G leader and veteran Bob McDonald
Article Sponsored by: MBM Food Service
West Point Grad, Bob McDonald, earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering in 1975, graduating in the top 2% of his class. He served as the Brigade Adjutant for the Corps of Cadets and was awarded the Silver Medal from The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, for being the most distinguished graduating cadet in academics, leadership and physical education. McDonald later earned an MBA from the University of Utah in 1978.
Twenty years later, McDonald would head one of the world’s most powerful companies as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of The Procter & Gamble Company. During his tenure from 2009 to 2013, P&G expanded its developing market, adding nearly a billion more consumers to the number it serves. The company realized annual sales of over $84 billion and P&G’s stock price rose from $51.10 the day he became CEO to close at $81.64 on the day his last quarterly results were announced – a sixty percent increase. P&G’s market capitalization puts it among the top fifteen most valuable companies in the world.
What advice would you give to military who are preparing to transition to civilian life in the next 12-18 months? How should they prepare?
What should transitioning military say to civilian hiring managers about their service?
What contributions does a veteran make to their civilian employer?
Veterans provide greater diversity to the workforce. They have experiences like no other. These experiences can result in greater innovation for the firm. We know that greater innovation comes from more diverse workforces. Innovation usually does not occur in straight lines. Inventions are often not used for what they were designed for. The original computers in the U.S. were built to do the census of the country. Today, we carry more computing power in our smart phones than the main frame computer I worked on at West Point in the 1970s. Diversity provides nodes for potential connections, and those connections result in innovation.
Our Top 40 Under 40 Military recognition honors high achievers like yourself. What advice would you give them and others on continuing to set goals?
I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything yet. My life’s purpose is to improve the lives of others. While we were successful in increasingly improving the lives of the consumers we served over 33 years at Procter & Gamble, the job is not yet done. This purpose will continue to inspire and motivate me the rest of my life. So I am not a high achiever but rather a work in progress. Every night before I go to bed, I wonder and pray that I improved at least one life that day. And, I redouble my efforts for the next day.
What kinds of programs are in place at P&G for transitioning military?
Any other comments or advice?
I am very thankful and appreciative of the men and women who have served our country in the armed forces. There is no other higher calling than service to others. That service brought with it the need to develop responsibility and leadership skills that transcend lines of work. That’s what veterans need to communicate to future employers.
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