Detroit, MI/ Oct. 9, 2013/ Social Halo Media/–Alicia Boler-Davis is the highest-ranking African-American female in the history of General Motors. She has been with the company for nineteen years and has worked in every role within a plant. We spent an afternoon with Ms. Boler-Davis and other GM team members to discuss her role and success. There are some key business strategies to succeed with from Alicia Boler-Davis of GM.
Alicia Boler-Davis has been with General Motors for nineteen years. Having been a tinkerer her whole life, she has always enjoyed taking things apart and building them. This passion has served her well as she displays these expert skills within the product line and in her role leading the customer experience initiative.
What business strategies and lessons can we learn from a passionate individual like Alicia Boler-Davis?
Ms. Boler-Davis has a true passion for self-reflecting and growth and we talked with her about what people, including women, can do to make their mark in the workplace. Alicia was quick to point out that many times we think that if we work hard, we will get where we want to go. In fact, Boler-Davis states, “Working hard is the price of entry. We need to do more than that”.
Work to get over the discomfort that comes from self-advocating and sharing strengths and accomplishments. Boler-Davis also shared with us the importance of asking for what we want.
“If you don’t’ ask, you don’t get it.”
Don’t be afraid of rejection; the worst that happens is you continue along the path you have been on.
And then…ask again.
Alicia Boler-Davis believes strongly in mentoring others and having a mentor yourself. However, having one is not all it takes to make the most of the relationship. Boler-Davis advocates being open to true feedback and giving it to others.
“If you don’t want to hear the truth about you or your brand…then I am not the right person.”
Mentoring is about personal development and you cannot achieve your best potential without being open to feedback. We need to know our strengths and how to continuously build upon them with candid feedback from others that is relevant.
Boler-Davis is an expert in engineering, but hit a point in her career where she realized she was not fully confident with technology. That lack of confidence made her feel very uncomfortable as she was used to being an “expert”.
“I didn’t want to not know the answer.”
And then she realized that she needed to make the shift from being an expert to being a leader. Alicia learned a valuable lesson we can all use in our business strategy…
It didn’t matter if she had the answers. What mattered was that someone on her team knew them…and she had a responsibility to lead the team in a way that fostered that relationship.
“Having that uncomfortable feeling is a good thing. If it’s not there, you are not pushing hard enough. Embrace the opportunity and expect that feeling.”