Beth Comstock (Twitter: @bethcomstock | IG: @bethcomstock) is the former CMO of GE and the author of Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change. In this interview, Chad and Beth discuss how to stop tribalism in your business, developing better frameworks for creativity and the writing process behind Beth’s new book Imagine It Forward.
Early Life and Career
- Beth grew up in a small town but gained big career ambitions after going to college and then moving to Washington, DC.
- Figuring out life as a single mother and how that experience tested her character.
Imagine it Forward - (11:03)
- How the book was a response to navigating the messiness of change management.
- Beth shares a story of negative response to proposed change and how she dealt with opposition.
- Beth explains why when people tell her “no” she hears “not yet.”
CMO of GE - (16:27)
- GE had not had a CMO in decades and Beth had to create the position from scratch.
- “Lead with your curiosity. Accept what you don’t know, and lead with what you do know.”
- Beth is somewhat shy, and it’s difficult for her to ask for help. She shared how she manages to overcome those feelings.
How to Plan a Campaign - (22:00)
- Beth always dedicated 10-15% of her budget toward new, surprising, or experimental ideas.
- Hiring techniques to make sure that employees are well suited for the responsibilities given them.
Frameworks for Creativity and Storytelling - (26:35)
- Milestones-based development.
- Using constraints to spur creativity.
- How Beth learned to be more confident in her position.
- Why GE produced a science fiction podcast called The Message.
Helping to Found Hulu - (34:49)
- Beth explains how her failed first effort at a digital video service helped her find eventual success.
- Coming back to GE led to tribalism and division. How Beth used common humanity to bridge those divisions and find common ground.
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