Johnson & Johnson CEO reveals the leadership lessons he learned at West Point




Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky says being a successful leader all comes down to the valuable lessons he learned as a cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

“At the end, it’s all about leadership and the important leadership lessons that you learn here,” Gorsky, a former U.S. Army Captain, told “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer on Thursday.

“How do you do something that’s bigger than yourself? How do you be part of a team so you get everybody diverse, in different backgrounds, all behind the common mission and work together?” he asked.

As the chief of a $372 billion company, Gorsky said that corporate success is often driven by three key things: Innovation, execution and hiring the right people.

“It’s about great leaders and great people, and I could not be prouder of the 145,000 employees at Johnson & Johnson who really bring the credo, [the] value system every day to work to do their very best,” the CEO told CNBC.

Gorsky added that Johnson & Johnson takes pride in hiring veterans, many of whom exhibit the characteristics that make them top employees.

“How do you have an attitude where, no matter how high that wall, no matter how thick, you’re going to figure out a way to get the mission done? That’s what [veterans] represent and that’s what this place is all about,” he said.

During the special “Mad Money” Veterans Day show, Gorsky scanned the audience for Courtney Billington, a 1987 graduate of the military academy, who is now vice president of Johnson & Johnson’s global pharmaceutical supply chain.

“Courtney graduated from here and now is running one of the largest, most complex supply chains in the world,” the CEO said. “You’re just taking leadership from one area [and] bringing it to another. Marene Allison, first class of women at West Point back in 1980, she now runs cybersecurity for Johnson & Johnson.”

Gorsky’s main leadership lessons for the West Point cadets are twofold: Find something to do that you’re passionate about, and take care of yourself.

“When you really enjoy what you’re doing, you’re going to be better and your people will know that,” he said. “And what’s key in addition to your leadership is making sure that you’re healthy, that you’re fit, and you need to do that not only in the military but in a civilian career so that you can be your very best.”

Watch Alex Gorsky's full interview here:




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