The World's Greatest
November 5, 2004 - by
Robert E. Stevens, GENESIS II
Second Beginning) E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have just finished
reading a book
by Lou Pritchett, Stop
Paddling & Start Rocking the Boat. Lou
is a former Vice President of Sales for Procter & Gamble.
only had a few of years to work with Lou. We both retired early and at
the same time. I highly recommend this book to anyone in corporate
and/or sales. Lou was the most innovative person I had met in my 39
While Lou had many great
at P&G, His greatest involved taking a $400 million customer and
partnership where within a few years that customer became an annual $6
dollar customer. Think about it, P&G was approximately a $35
sales company at that time and this one company accounted for 15% of
Very early Lou recognized the potential of Wal*Mart. Sam Walton and Lou
personal relationship that led to the partnership of the two companies.
both companies are reaping the benefits of the vision, efforts, and
of these two individuals.
From my perspective
the increase in
business was not the major achievement. Consider the task facing Lou.
working with a retailer in Bentonville, Arkansas. No P&G executive
called on anyone at Wal*Mart. Lou was the first to make any contact
Only P&G sales people had called on Wal*Mart and as anyone in
P&G sales people were (to put it mildly) hated. As the deal was
about to be
closed, there was a meeting scheduled in Bentonville. I have been
told that Mr. Smale, P&G CEO had to be dragged kicking and
screaming to the
meeting. The real achievement was getting these two companies of
different cultures and personalities to come together to form a
was a clash of style, beliefs and cultures. No wonder Sam Walton called
Pritchett the "World's Greatest Salesman."
was just one of Mr.
Pritchett's many achievements, but the greatest. Lou was and still is a
visionary, innovator, and a person who understands human nature. But
is not without a price. You will not find it in his book but his fight
achieve change in a large bureaucracy with so many small empires took a
terrible toll on his health. One morning, his wife found him
unconscious in the
bathroom. He had lost four pints of blood from a bleeding ulcer. Lou
hospitalized and missed three months of work. Sixteen months later Lou
He said that "boat rockers, mavericks, change agents, and plain old
employees who try to tell management what they don't want to hear are
welcome within the corporate bosom."
His book is loaded with
but it can be hazardous to your health. Lou sent me an autographed copy
book with some very fine words about our work written on the first
Another P&Ger who left at about the same time as Lou and I was Mr.
Herbold. He took the COO position at MicroSoft. Bob has written a book
be released titled, The Fiefdom Syndrom.
I look forward to his view
of management cultures.
book reminds me of Wayne Calloway's advice. (Wayne is the former CEO of
Wayne stated, "If it ain't broke, fix it anyway. The test of management
the nerve to change." It's called staying ahead of competition.
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