Beth Comstock spent over 25 years at GE where she was a vice chair, CEO of Business Innovations and Chief Marketing Officer among other roles. She has been featured in the New York Times, Forbes, Fortune and Fast Company and has been named to the Fortune and Forbes lists of the world’s most powerful women.  Her new book is titled Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Risk taking is a skill that can be learned.
  • “Most of us fear losing what we have more than we desire winning something we don’t have.”
  • Due to her risk taking mentality, Jeff promoted her to Chief Marketing Officer, a role that hadn’t existed at GE for over two decades.
  • She had to overcome a lack of self-confidence along with her introversion in order to speak up, challenge others and be effective in her role.
  • Success correlates as closely with confidence as it does with competence.
  • Much of the success of Hulu was attributed to hiring an entrepreneur from the outside and keeping him independent vs hiring someone from the inside.
  • She led GE’s disruptive green initiative called Ecomagination which pushed an aggressive clean energy agenda throughout GE’s multiple business lines.
  • GE executives often struggled to see parallels from developments happening in other industries due to a common cognitive bias called Functional Fixedness.
  • She pioneered a new program at GE called Fastworks which leveraged the lean methodology to experiment with new product ideas, increase innovation and accelerate time to market.
  • “Excellence is a never ending journey of learning and trying to get better.”

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