≡ Menu

Mary T. Barra Quotes

Mary Barra General Motors

Mary T. Barra quotes: Chairman and CEO of General Motors talks upbringing and values.

“It probably goes back to my mother, and just the advice of hard work – and there’s no substitute for it.”

“My parents were both born and raised in the depression.  They instilled great values about integrity and the importance of hard work, and I’ve taken that with me to every job.”

“Don’t confuse progress with winning.”

“What I always say is, ‘Do every job you’re in like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, and demonstrate that ownership of it.'”

“If you do every job like you’re going to do it for the rest of your life, that’s when you get noticed.”

“The only time you don’t fail is the last time you try something and it actually works.”

“If we win the hearts and minds of employees, we’re going to have better business success.”

“The biggest lesson I learned, and I take it to everything I tackle now, large or small, inside of work and outside: if you have a problem, you’ve got to solve it.  Because that problem is going to get bigger in six months.  It could get bigger in two years.  But it’s not going to get smaller with time.”

“My definition of ‘innovative’ is providing value to the customer.”

“If anyone could predict exactly where we’re going to be in five to ten years, they’d be very popular.  That’s why we’ve got to be prepared.”

“Not everything needs changing.  Some things need protecting.  And that can be just as important, challenging, and rewarding as changing the world.”

“I have worked for a lot of really great leaders and mentors that I felt provided me, along with many of my peers – many of them women – opportunities.”

“When you have multiple points of view, you come out with a better answer.”

“The people looking over their shoulder and wondering about their next job are the least successful.”

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint.  I actually feel like I come to work stronger when I’ve had a little time on the weekend to step away from it and enjoy my family and other things.  I come back energized.  If people think they’re going to work 24/7, week in and week out, they’re not bringing their full strength to the table.”

“I’m a big believer of work-life balance.  You need a little down time to recharge to make sure that when you’re here, you’re really all here.  I still have a child in high school, so I go to her sporting events, even if it means leaving work and working again when I get home.  I probably should work out a little more than I do.”

“I never want to get a job because I’m female.  I want to get it because I earned it and I deserve it.  Whether my hair is going to be blue or purple, people should be judged on how well they do the job and deliver results and whether they do it the right way.  That’s how I like to be judged; most people are like that.”

“The biggest message I have for young women is don’t start cutting off branches of your career tree unnecessarily early.  Sometimes women say, ‘I know I want to have a family or play in the local symphony,’ and they start pulling themselves out of their career path.  You don’t have to take yourself out of the running before you even start.”

“I think there are more women in more senior roles than in 1980 when I started.  But from my career perspective, I don’t go into a room and take count.  I want to be recognized for my contribution and for what I do.  Yeah, there were probably times it was to my benefit, and there were probably times when it was not to my benefit.  But that is true for everyone.  There are always things that potentially impact how you are received.  And I just don’t focus on it.  I don’t focus on what you can’t control.”

“My senior leadership team is half people who have been at GM for a long period of time like me, and others who have joined the company within the last five years from different industries, experiences, and countries.  You have a better picture of the world.  The diversity of thought is where you can make better business decisions.”

“I’m not asking people to do it.  It’s a requirement – not only that they hold themselves accountable to do it, but they hold each other accountable.  That’s the message I’ve delivered and will continue to drive through the whole organization.  This is not optional.”

“Twenty years ago, I was pushed and mentored and given challenging assignments and then supported.  That allowed me to have the career path I’ve had.”

“You get to a new position, you work really hard and you earn people who are willing to support you, because they see how hard you’re working and they’re willing to extend a bit of their personal capital to say, ‘Yes, I know so-and-so is going to do a great job in this new role.'”

“I want bad news – the sooner the better.  I want it when the person closest to it realizes there’s a problem.  Almost every problem at the start is solvable.  The longer it takes to solve, the higher it gets in the organization and the bigger the problem gets.”

“What is culture?  It’s how people behave.  So if we want to change this elusive culture, it’s changing behaviors.  And that becomes actionable very quickly.  It’s everyone’s behaviors.  It’s mine.  I have to change my behaviors.”

“All share is not created equal.”

“If you think I’m wrong, tell me.”

“There’s no decision you should ever make that would embarrass you if it became public.”

“I know we’re all addicted to our smartphones, and I’ll say, if I forget my smartphone, I go home and get it.  And so understanding how to integrate that technology into the driving experience, both the front seat and the passenger seat and the back seat, I think, is very important.”

“Our goal is to make General Motors the most valuable automotive company.  Clearly, that is having sustainable profitability and driving great returns for our shareholders.”

“I accept no excuses for why we can’t be the best.”

Here’s why aspiring millionaires should study quotes daily.

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.