At P&G, we have an unwavering commitment to help our people learn and grow. Our leaders are committed to developing our people to their full potential through mentoring and coaching, so the next generation of talent can thrive.
As Chief Operations Officer, Shailesh Jejurikar works with P&G teams around the world, engaging on topics ranging from business growth to supply chain, digital transformation, market operations and more. But among these many priorities, he always makes time to mentor others.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a number of excellent mentors over my 34-year career at P&G, and those relationships have made an enormous difference in my development as a leader. I have learned so much through these conversations, but most importantly is the value of asking the right questions. Now when I mentor others, I find that if I can ask the right questions, I can help them develop into learning leaders.”
While there’s no formula to becoming a great leader, Jejuikar offers three ideas to consider as you create your own career path.
1. Pursue Your Curiosity
Sometimes, people don’t pursue their natural curiosity because they’re more interested in getting things “right” than exploring new possibilities that can create value. Jejurikar urges young professionals to avoid this trap. Instead, make time to explore your curiosity.
At P&G, your managers and other leaders will help enable this as well.
“The biggest impact leaders can have in fostering curiosity within their teams is through the questions they ask,” he shared. “Pointed questions have the power to remove the barrier of doubt and challenge employees to think more broadly. Allowing employees room to explore their inherent curiosity could result in a great idea that can create real value for the business.”
This practice of learning to learn is embedded in P&G’s culture and allows the Company to continue delighting consumers and customers and driving growth as a leader in the CPG space.
Learning happens at all levels of seniority at P&G. For example, when Jejurikar took on the sustainability sponsorship for P&G (which he held from 2019 to 2021), he recognized he had a lot to learn.
He spent time reading and meeting with internal experts to deepen his understanding. “I still read about sustainability topics every day to stay on top of the issues and trends and to understand where it’s headed,” he said.
Committing to lifelong learning not only results in stronger performance, but stronger leadership.
2. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Jejurikar said some of the most defining moments early in his career took place when he stretched the limits of what he deemed comfortable and embraced the unfamiliar.
A leadership role with P&G in East Africa — his first role outside his home country of India, where he began his career — helped him develop the confidence to trust his convictions.
“Moving to Kenya was a huge change for me because at that stage it was a very small operation with a lean organization,” Jejurikar said. “Oftentimes, I had to rely on my own decision-making process, which often meant looking down at the desk to recognize the issue, looking up at the ceiling to think about it, looking down again to decide what to do and stepping out and doing it.” This liberating process showed him how to be comfortable in his own convictions and being himself.
3. Prioritize What Matters to You
At P&G, we’re creating a culture that prioritizes employee wellbeing by building communities of support. By providing learning opportunities and resources for employees to be their best selves, we’re delivering on our promise to provide a superior experience for employees and, ultimately, our consumers.
As you navigate this in your early career, Jejurikar recommends being clear on your priorities and sharing those with the people you work with. For some people, career development may bring the most fulfillment. For others, spending time with family or athletic pursuits may be the top priority. Often, it’s a mix of these things — and the balance may change at different life stages.
“Early in my career, I knew there were certain things I want to value in my personal life,” Jejurikar said. “I decided to always take the day off on my wedding anniversary, my wife’s birthday and my kids’ birthdays.”
He managed his schedule to plan around these and has been successful because of clear communication with his teams.
P&G’s unique employee value equation (EVE) puts its people first and is one reason why the company is viewed as a top place to work.
Parts of this conversation were originally featured in the “Learning From Leaders” podcast from the P&G Alumni. Learn more and listen to the full episode here. Stay connected with Shailesh by following him on LinkedIn.