Developing-Leaders-issue - 23- Spring - 2016

Executive Development Developing Leaders Issue 23: 2016 | 49 Leadership Lesson #3 Use kinetic energy to mobilize people Leadership Lesson #2: Make it about the company and the customer. By many accounts, Barra attributes her success at GM to keeping the company’s interests – and not her own career – the focus of her attention. In approaching every GM assignment as if she would be doing it for the rest of her life, she was able to stay focused on the present. And if a solid foundation is being built in the present, then the future will generally take care of itself. Since becoming CEO, Barra’s focus on the present has necessarily become more expansive. She and her leadership team have developed a new set of core values that reflect the way in which the company’s objectives – and those of their customers – are essentially woven together: • Customers: “We put customers at the center of everything we do. We listen intently to our customers’ needs. Each interaction matters. Safety and quality are foundational commitments, never compromised.” • Relationships: “Our success depends on our relationships inside and outside the company. We encourage diverse thinking and collaboration from the world to create great customer experiences.” • Excellence: “We act with integrity. We are driven by ingenuity and innovation. We have the courage to do and say what’s difficult. Each of us takes accountability for results and has the tenacity to win.” At our company, our goal is to “transform the world one leader at a time.” It is, in fact, our mantra. At GM, Mary Barra describes their goal just as succinctly but with a slightly different focus: “This is all about winning customers one at a time.” Reflect on your leadership... While Barra’s career trajectory may not be the norm these days, her apparent message is important for leaders: We live in a complex world full of paradoxes and contradictions, and we need to manage these competing forces. For example, how do you cuts costs and increase revenues? How do you take charge and let go? How do you stay confident enough to lead while remaining humble enough to listen and learn every day?