What I Believe In: My Personal Leadership Philosophy


I have written before about the importance of writing down your Personal Leadership Philosophy (PLP).  It is your statement of what you believe in…the principles that guide how you make your decisions in life and business.  However, just as important as writing down your PLP, is taking the time to revisit it regularly.  As I get ready to move into a new role, I decided to do just that.  Below you will find my most recent Personal Leadership Philosophy.  I would love to hear your thoughts.

Rules I Live/Work By:

Be passionate – James Michener wrote that “The master in the art of living pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing.  To him he’s always doing both.”   A friend once referred to it as work/life blend instead of work/life balance.  It’s about being passionate about what you do for a living and loving every minute.

Don’t be afraid of taking risks or failing – I once read a quote from Doug Hall that said “Don’t be afraid to take risks. Corporations have an amazing array of checks, balances, and safety nets to prevent you from hitting the wall at ninety miles an hour. Be bold and brash. Develop a reputation for it.”  I believe wholeheartedly in this.  A strong team won’t fail in the end thanks to these safety nets…but it will fail along the way.  Let’s fail good-naturedly and learn from our mistakes.

You Have to Dream It Before You Can Achieve It –  Be bold and audacious in setting goals. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable, outline the barriers, craft a plan, and get on with the journey.  This ones comes from Kenny Shields, a great P&G leader who left us too soon

Be a cultural anthropologist with a finger on the pulse of culture – Be a sponge of learning about technology, entertainment and culture.  Learn what makes others tick and where things are going in society.  A great marketer is at heart a pop culture junkie.

Have a childlike curiosity for learning – Gordon Gecko had it right in the movie Wall Street when he said that information is the most valuable commodity in the world.  And the best way to get information is to act with childlike curiosity by constantly asking “why?”  You never learn if you don’t ask.

Work hard, play hard, have fun – If you’re having fun, the job becomes that much easier.  Take time to grab lunch away from your desk.  Have drinks with you co-workers.  Play your music in the office.  A great culture can only exist if the environment and people encourage it each and every day.

See the potential in everything – Too many people take the easy way out by saying something has been done before and didn’t work.  Innovation is a process and begins with you building on an idea by saying “Yes, and…”

Take the time to be a Good Samaritan – Always be there to lend a helping hand, whether it is to a co-worker or someone from another company that has a question about P&G.  Sadly it surprises people when you go the extra mile.  You’ll feel good if you can help someone out and on the plus side, you never know when that favor will be returned.

What I Ask:

Respect the time of others – Everyone we work with is busy…don’t think you have anything more going on than anyone else.  Being on time to a meeting means you are there before it begins, not walking in the door as it starts.  And this applies to interacting with everyone including vendors, agencies, and even a random outside company.  Same principle applies for responding to e-mail…don’t let things slip through the cracks because you don’t think it is a priority.  Respond to an email and let someone know you are working on following-up so they don’t think you are just ignoring their question.  And finally (and most importantly), this applies for our family and personal lives.  We need to respect the time of each other and the personal priorities every sets for themselves.

Don’t lie…don’t make excuses…don’t cheat – If it wasn’t right in Kindergarten, it still isn’t right now.

Be upfront with each other – It is always best to get things out in the open instead of letting them simmer unsaid.  Along those lines, be open about your personality and ask your team to help you overcome your weaknesses.  For instance, I know I can be a little too strong willed at times and need my team to call me out when it happens!  None of us are perfect and we need the help of friends/teammates to help us get better.

Be decisive – Our training and experience has resulted in a “gut” that it is usually pretty dead-on.  If your gut tells you it is the right thing to do, then make the call and be decisive.  There is nothing worse than debating for the sake of debating when someone in the room has the problem already nailed.  And keep in the mind, that person in the room with the best gut isn’t necessarily the highest ranked person either.

Be each other’s best advocates – Our team needs to advocate for each other at all time.  P&G is a place when a strong reputation can snowball into better things and if we have each other’s backs, our team will come out on top every time.  Another part of this is always supporting each other to the outside world (P&G and likewise).  We can disagree all we want in our offices, but when it comes to outsiders, we should appear to be one team supporting each other.

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4 Responses to What I Believe In: My Personal Leadership Philosophy

  1. Terry O'Hanlon says:

    Love it. How about ‘regret things you’ve done, not things you haven’t’

  2. Rich Carvill says:

    Davem good to have you back from the Fantasy Football blatherings to your usual, helpful insights and links.

  3. Dave Knox says:

    Rich – Glad to be back. I’ll try to avoid too much Fantasy Football talk but you’ll have to indulge one post a week for the Fall. Just hit delete on those posts 🙂

  4. Ladybug says:

    I was just passing by and I found your blog. Excellent thinking… I really like it!

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