THIS WAS ADAPTED FROM A NEW YEAR 2022 MESSAGE THAT I SENT MY GLOBAL LEGAL AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS TEAM.
Happy New Year! I hope that you and your families are well and entering a new calendar year with hope and great expectations. The end of an old and the start of a new year have traditionally been times of self-reflection on the recent past and commitments to self-improvement in the future – some enthusiastically embrace this checkpoint, while for others, “new year’s resolutions” are just cliché commitments that will be broken before Valentine’s Day?. For my own part, I love this time of year (despite Cincinnati’s weather conditions), because I do find that having natural reflection points in my life is a positive, and I love the feeling of renewal possibilities in January. In fact, my greatest commitment to personal wellness was made five years ago as I entered 2017, and I have (mostly) managed to stick to it, I think because I took manageable steps that fit into my life.
So, for me, as one of your leaders, this is a good time to evaluate how I can improve to be a better teammate in my role. As I recently tried to candidly evaluate my own “fitness for use,” I recognized a source of fear and pain that contributes to diminishing my personal wellness: the growing inability of people in our societies to respectfully disagree and then make tradeoffs and find solutions. It concerns me to my core, and while a friend recently expressed her belief that this will only continue to go in the wrong direction, I cannot accept that. And, if I am really being honest, I undoubtedly have jumped into the fray, at times refusing to listen and clinging to my own righteousness. So, I ask, what can I do to contribute to pushing discourse in a more productive direction? While I do not have a complete answer, I have begun by recommitting myself to two important “creeds”: P&G’s Purpose, Values, and Principles, to which I committed when I became a P&G employee, and the ethics rules of the Bar, to which I committed when I became a lawyer.
When I was a first-year law student, my Civil Procedure professor instructed, “There are 3 things you need to remember about Civil Procedure: Read the rules, Read the rules, and Read the rules.” While it was funny at the time, it is amazing how many times in my career I have thought I perfectly remembered a set of rules or a charter or a pledge, only to read it anew and discover something that I had forgotten or a new way to see it. Memories fade, of course, but in addition, principles and rules need to be lived in context, and context keeps changing. So, over my holiday break, I took my bi-annual 150-minute ethics training as required by the Ohio bar, and I really listened and absorbed (as opposed to multi-tasking and half listening, because “I already know all of this”). I also reread our PVPs a couple of times. Not surprisingly, there was more in each body of guidance than I had remembered that relates to respect for others and their viewpoints, the importance of really listening, and the greater effectiveness that comes from using divergent views to reach better results. It was a worthwhile “values and ethics” wellness check. (And it made me think: if only we could get everyone to adhere to rules of appellate procedure – 10 minutes exclusively for each advocate and then time for rebuttal without interruption!)
But seriously, I am going to continue to work to improve my PVP wellness and to express viewpoints and find solutions in ways that keep my mind open and show respect for alternative views. I recognize that it is particularly important because given my role, some people may quickly defer to me. More broadly, I will periodically go back to the PVPs, the rules of the Bar, and other pledges I have made to remind myself of my commitments. The bumpier the road, the greater the need for strong PVP champions. Feel free to join me in a PVP wellness check-up!
As we move into 2022 with all of its challenges and opportunities, I wish for each of you: good health, physically, mentally and emotionally; work that is enjoyable, exciting, and challenging; strong support from colleagues; great appreciation from business partners; new learnings to stimulate you; quiet time to just be still; and quality time outside of work to spend with loved ones and doing other things you love. As always, please let me or another leader know how we can help.
With warmest regards, DPM