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Charlene Begley
President and CEO, GE Enterprise Solutions

I was about to transition to a new role, heading GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, and Jeff Immelt, before he became CEO, gave me this advice: Spend a ton of time with your customers. Especially when you're new, the first thing you should do is go out to customers and ask them how you compare with competitors, how your service is, what they think of your products. At General Electric, people tend to get enamored with your title, and people want to look good in front of you. Customers will give you the reality. They don't care about your title, they just want value. You'll never get anything straighter than from a customer.

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Last updated April 30 2008: 4:31 PM ET