Mary barra, gm's chief executive, spoke to graduates of Stanford business school.The 54-year-old Stanford business school graduate started working at general motors at the age of 18 and rose through the ranks and responsibilities of the automaker until becoming chief executive in 2014.
General motors did well in her tenure.In 2015, the company reported a profit of $9.7 billion, the highest since its bankruptcy in 2009.It is ahead of almost all carmakers, with the first all-electric car for the mass market and heavy investment in ride-sharing and self-driving start-ups.
Mr. Barra has also faced some challenges in his leadership role, such as recalling 30 million cars with
This year, barra returned to campus to attend the Stanford graduate school of business commencement and share her leadership experience with graduates.Here is an excerpt from her speech:
Leaders need to learn to listen
It's no big deal to admit what you don't know.It's no big deal to turn to others.Listen to your men, even more.In fact, it is essential.
The important thing is to get people around you to question you and say when and why you were wrong.
As a general manager or CEO, the need for listening has not diminished, but increased.
Leaders need to focus on society
In the late 1980 s, I have to study here, at that time, the MBA has often been likened to Michael Douglas in the 1987 movie "Wall Street" played by Gordon gekko.Gekko has a simple mantra: "greed is good."
Nowadays, many people still view business with a rather abhorrent attitude.More than three-quarters of us adults distrust "big business", according to Gallup's latest report on confidence in us institutions.
Whether you are in business, government, non-profit, non-governmental organizations, or any place you employment, as a leader, you have a responsibility, helping to change institutions and social relationship and reputation in society.
I started at gm dealing with customers.No matter what industry you are in, you are the winner only when your client says you are successful.
Leaders need to learn to motivate
The success of your company depends on the satisfaction you bring to your customers.When you lead an organization one day, you should definitely care about its performance.
But as a visionary leader, you shouldn't just be thinking about the next quarter.You should also think about the next decade and what your company's reputation and position in the world should be in the longer term.
Today's employees increasingly want to set bigger goals.They want companies and institutions to make the world a better place.
I believe we can do both.I believe we have an obligation to do both.I believe it is up to leaders to set the tone and set the vision and inspire people who can make our organization work best for society.
This means creating a workplace where employees are empowered to contribute their full potential.That means working to change the environment in which we live and work by supporting and improving education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
That means changing the way we produce our products, using renewable energy, building factories that don't generate landfill waste, and working to address climate change.At gm, that means working to reduce or even someday eliminate the environmental impact of our cars.
Ultimately, all businesses are first and foremost about people, because the only way we can build a truly successful business is through lasting relationships inside and outside the business.To do this, we must take responsibility, speak up, and motivate others to pursue goals other than personal ones.
Leaders have to work hard
If you really want to change the world, you need more than talent.You must also work hard and be able to do difficult work without hard work.
I think of my father and mother.My parents grew up during the great depression, my mother grew up on a farm in northern Michigan, and my father grew up in an iron ore mining area in northern Minnesota.They don't have many advantages.They each have only high school degrees.But they believed in the American dream and worked hard to achieve it.
My brother and I must work hard and play after work.The passion and persistence they showed not only allowed them to raise a family, but also laid a certain foundation for us to reach a higher height.
Education gives you a way out so you can go into the new world.But hard work alone will enable you to achieve more than you think.(fortune Chinese website)
This is from barra's speech at the Stanford graduate school of business commencement.