A.G. LafleyChairman, President, and CEO, Procter & Gamble
Executive summary: Take a break, even if you work Sunday nights.
I've learned how to manage my energy. I used to just focus on managing my time. I'd be up in the morning between 5 and 5:30. I'd work out and be at my desk by 6:30 or 7, drive hard until about 7 P.M., then go home, take a break with my wife, Margaret, and be back at it later that evening. I was just grinding through the day.
During my first year in this job, I worked every Saturday and every Sunday morning. Now I work really hard for an hour or an hour and a half. Then I take a break. I walk around and chit-chat with people. It can take five or 15 minutes to recharge. It's kind of like the interval training that an athlete does.
I learned this in a program called the Corporate Athlete that we put on for P&G managers. I did the two-day program, where I also learned to change the way I eat. I used to eat virtually nothing for breakfast. Now I have a V-8 juice, half a bagel, and a cup of yogurt. And I eat five or six times a day. It's about managing your glycemic level. You don't want to boom and bust.
The other piece of the Corporate Athlete program is spiritual -- things you can do to calm the mind. I've tried to teach myself to meditate. When I travel, which is 60 percent of the time, I find that meditating for five, ten, or 15 minutes in a hotel room at night can be as good as a workout. Generally, I think I know myself so much better than I used to. And that has helped me stay calm and cool under fire.
A key to staying calm is minimizing the information onslaught. I can't remember the last time I wrote a memo. I write little handwritten notes on my AGL paper, and I send notes, a paragraph or less, on my BlackBerry. I prefer conversations. That's one reason my office and our entire executive floor is open. The CEO office is not typically a warm and welcoming place, but people feel they can come in and talk in mine. We have goofy-looking pink and chartreuse chairs with chrome frames and upholstered backs and seats.
I still work weekends, though not the killer hours I used to. On Sunday nights, [HR chief] Dick Antoine and I get together at his house or my house or on the phone and go through some part of our leadership development program. We started doing this shortly after I became CEO, because I know that the single biggest contribution I will make to this company is helping the next generation of leaders become the best that they can be.
-- Interviewed by Patricia Sellers