That’s the message Mary Barra, GM’s executive vice president of global product development and global purchasing and supplies chain, has been relaying to employees at the Detroit-based automaker.
Considering she’s considered by many to be the front-runner for the CEO’s spot when Dan Akerson leaves the company, we actually feel that folks out there working for GM might actually be wise to listen to her advice.
During Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women Summit on Wednesday, she spoke to many issues she’s facing or faced during her tenure at the automaker, including her desire to empower employees.
“(Employees) want to go and do their best. I feel so much of what I need to do is set up the systems, enable the processes and have the right leadership,” Barra said, adding that finding ways to motivate employees is tough at a company with a long history. She’s worked at “getting rid of that bureaucracy that can creep into a company that’s a hundred years old,” she said, especially during her time in charge of human resources at the company.
As the executive in charge of GM’s $15 billion vehicle development operations, her challenge is to continue the company’s product evolution, including producing compelling vehicles for customers.
“We’re on a journey,” she explained. “We want to make sure we’re engaging our employees and really tapping into their innovation and ingenuity in the vehicles we develop. If we’re going to compete in a segment in any market, we are going to go to win. The team has rallied round that.”
The 51-year-old Barra is part of a short list who have broken through the industry’s glass ceiling into positions normally reserved for men, in this case overseeing GM’s global product development process. Notably, Forbes Magazine named Barra the 41st most powerful woman in the world in 2012, moving her up to position number 35 when that list was updated this year.
) - Monday, October 21st, 2013 - filed under General Motors
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