How One P&G Manager Learned the Power of Storytelling

The news reporter in me always enjoys learning “the story behind the story,” so I was fascinated to read how storytelling caught on at Procter & Gamble. And because P &G products are used in millions of households and organizations, I expect you’ll enjoy the story related in Paul Smith’s new book, Lead with a Story.

Director of Consumer Research for P&G, Smith relates in his book how at first he was perplexed by the long-time CEO’s behavior during Smith’s first presentation to the head of the company. A.G. Lafley didn’t look once at the slides Smith had so carefully prepared; instead, Lafley had chosen a seat at the head of the conference table–but with his back to the screen! What’s more, he didn’t once turn his head around to view a slide.

Only  later did Smith realize that “he wasn’t looking at my slides because he knew something that I didn’t know until that moment. He knew if I had anything important to say, I would say it.” In other words, his CEO was listening for a story!

In an excerpt of Smith’s book published in TLNT, he also relates how P&G came to appoint a statistician as official corporate storyteller. Read about it at



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