SVP and CMO of General Electric
Very early in my career, I had a tough boss. She had my best interests at heart, but she was a pretty critical person. She once pulled me aside and said, "Sometimes I feel like you just can't finish things. You start well, but you don't finish." Boy, I hated that that was her impression of me. My first instinct was, She's wrong -- I finish things. But the best advice is often the most painful advice, and you have to trust the person who's giving it to you. When you get criticism, ask yourself if it's relevant. In this instance the reason it hurt so much was that my boss was right. After our conversation, I took special classes to give me skills that I didn't quite have, so I couldn't use anything as an excuse to not finish a project. Now, in the back of my mind, I'm always asking, "Did I cross the finish line?"
We went through our archives for nearly a decade of collected wisdom that still holds up.