John Smale was arguably the most influential corporate leader of the second half of the 20th century. He grew one great company, Procter & Gamble, more than six-fold during the 21 years he led as president, CEO and chairman of the board. He helped another great company, General Motors, regain momentum in his role as chairman of the board at a critical time in GM's history - and set a new standard for corporate governance that has since transformed the role that Boards of public companies are expected to play. He championed diversity, not only as a US priority but also as a global priority. And he defined a corporate vision for the purpose and social responsibility of business that was decades ahead of its time. And yet, John Smale is largely unknown to many leaders guiding American and global businesses today.
In this business biography book, Here Forever: The Timeless Impact of John G. Smale on Procter & Gamble, General Motors, and the Purpose and Practice of Business, author and journalist Rob Garver sets out to change that. He takes us on a journey of discovery into the life of John Smale and why his example is urgently relevant and deeply needed in today's volatile, fast-changing world. He also brings us into his own story, as his discovery of John Smale helped him navigate a devastating personal loss that changed his vision of what this book could be.
Garver captures timeless lessons from Smale's life and executive leadership that leaders at all levels and in all kinds of organizations can learn from:
Why knowing what to do when faced with tough choices is more important than knowing how Why having the business mindset to think in decades is the factor that most sets great leaders apart Why great companies are social institutions that need to be nurtured and perpetuated over time Why the two greatest gifts leaders can provide are high expectations and unreserved trust Why leaders must champion and protect the innovators in their organization And, why confidence and optimism are a leader's most essential traits
John Smale's life is remarkably timeless and timely. The principles by which he lived and led are as meaningful for leaders today as they were in his time. This book will help ensure his impact and legacy will be here with us—forever.
About the Author
Rob Garver is a journalist and freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Voice of America, among other publications. He served as national correspondent for The Fiscal Times and collaborated with Bob Woodward on Woodward's New York Times best-selling book, The Price of Politics. He holds a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University and a bachelor's degree from the University of Vermont.