This conversation is with Ray Conner, who was responsible for running America’s largest manufacturing export, Boeing.
If you’re not familiar with the company, you’ve likely put your life in their hands (if you’ve been in an airplane).
Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems.
Ray is the Vice Chairman of The Boeing Company, and a member of the Boeing Executive Council.
We met when he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer.
Ray earned his stripes at Boeing – he started as a mechanic long before realizing his vision of becoming CEO.
How does that happen?
While Ray struggled in school, one of his high school coaches taught him the value of goal-setting, self-talk, and visualization which helped pave the way for his future endeavors.
Ray became focused on who he wanted to be as a person, rather than what he wanted to do for work and that shaped his personal value system that he still maintains to this day.
We explore the core principles and practices that guided him which includes being a leader who serves others first and having the courage to do what’s right, especially when it’s not popular or easy.
I hope this conversation reminds you, or reinforces for you, what it’s like to lead with other’s well being in mind.
In This Episode:
- The youngest of 4 brothers, he constantly competed with them during childhood and became accustomed to pushing limits
- A lack of emphasis on education leading to early struggles in the classroom and low confidence
- How goal setting, self-talk, and visualization became powerful tools for him in high school and helped him overcome his fear of public speaking
- Focusing on who he wanted to be as a person rather than what he wanted to do for a job
- Whether or not you can do anything you set your mind to
- The moment he was inspired and set his vision to become the head of Boeing
- Why he believes in being your best in every moment
- How he came to love servant leadership
- The importance of having a small business mindset while leading a massive company
- Emerging technology in aviation
- One the most difficult times of his tenure at Boeing: having to restructure his employees’ retirement plans in order to keep the same amount of jobs in Seattle
- Why having a strong personal value system can help you make tough decisions
- Setting aside time to reflect on your experiences
- The DNA he looks for in employees… it starts with courage
- Why being smart with your money allows you to be more courageous
- Why communication is key to having a successful work/life balance
- The most important mindset skill: imagery
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“If you are doing imagery correctly, you are seeing and you are feeling, and that’s the movie you’re going to play.”
“It takes courage to be accountable.”
“Real peace is when you can look yourself in the mirror and say I did everything that I possibly could.”
“Growth comes when you can be honest with your self.”
“Sometimes in order to the right thing, that means you’re taking on some financial risk, hurting your business plan, to do the right thing for your customers. You have to be willing to take the heat for that.”
“You gotta be better today than you were yesterday and that’s the challenge. When you’ve done so well, to keep pushing yourself to be better is hard to do.”
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