GM CEO Mary Barra: The Importance of Integrity, Feedback and Mentoring

By Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at General Motors

At General Motors, I’m known for being a bit impatient. In an industry that is changing more now than it has in the last 50 years, can you blame me

Our General Motors President of North America Alan Batey often says, “Time is not our friend.” I agree. We must move fast while doing it right.


(Originally published on LinkedIn)

I recently spoke at the Wharton People Analytics Conference with author and professor, Adam Grant. Adam is a terrific writer and motivator who helps others find balance in the workplace. We have great conversations about mentoring, providing constructive feedback and the importance of data and whenever I leave conversations with Adam, I feel even more inspired to ensure that our General Motors’ culture is one of the best.

In addition to working smart and fast, below are a few pieces of advice I’ve taken with me throughout my 38-year career:

Follow your North Star: As you go through the twists and turns that typically happen during a crisis, go back to your core values. They will guide you on what to do.

Do the right thing even when it’s hard: It’s really easy to live your values when things are going well; it’s more difficult when the going gets tough. It’s important for colleagues and employees to trust that you will make the right decision, no matter the circumstance.

Behaviors set your culture: If you could change one behavior in your company, what would it be Culture is the stories you tell about what happens at a company or an organization or family or country. Remember one thing you can do every day to create a positive culture is to focus on the way you behave.

More feedback: Did you get what you need and what do you think Those are two questions you should be asking your employees as well as your supervisors. It’s vitally important to get feedback, but it’s just as important to receive the feedback and learn from it.

You can watch the entirety of my talk with Adam here.

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