Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Discovery CEO: Don't be afraid to tell your boss what's wrong with a business plan

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, 57, credits legendary former GE CEO Jack Welch, 81, with inspiring him as a leader.

In a wide-ranging interview with CNBC contributor Suzy Welch (who is married to Jack), Zaslav, discusses the three major things he learned from Jack Welch's mentorship, especially during their time working together when GE owned NBC Universal, where Zaslav was once an executive.

Zaslav has an extensive career in the media industry. He's been CEO of Discovery since 2007. Before that, he spent nearly two decades working on a variety of different projects at NBC, including the launch of CNBC, MSNBC and others.

Discovery Communications runs numerous popular television channels, including TLC, Animal Planet, OWN and, of course, its eponymous Discovery Channel.

Here are three things Zaslav learned from legendary business executive Welch:

Jack Welch
Cameron Costa | CNBC
Jack Welch

Read everything your employees ask you to review

"Jack read everything you sent him, which I think is great," says Zaslav. "The most respectful thing you can do for the people you work with is read everything."

Zaslav explains this includes emails and documents pertaining to upcoming meetings.

"And so when you sit down at the meeting," he says, "you know it all."

It shows your employees you care as a boss, says Zaslav.

Don't be afraid to tell your boss what's wrong with a business plan

Zaslav also learned from Jack that it's okay to speak up to your managers. Not being shy, he says, leads to more success in the long run.

"Jack always said, 'I know what's right about the business. Tell me what's wrong with it. And tell me what your plan is to fix it,'" Zaslav says in the interview.

While Zaslav says this can be "very hard culturally," he adds that "from a leadership perspective," it's highly important.

"I call it, 'Let's get real,'" he says, "which I developed, really, out of this Jack idea."

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav
CNBC
Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav

Work harder than everyone else around you

The third thing Jack taught him? "To win, you need talent and a plan and have to work harder and faster than the other guys," says Zaslav in an interview with USA Today.

That's a subject he expanded on when speaking with Suzy Welch for CNBC: "More often than not, it's a matter of will," says Zaslav. "It's a matter of drive."

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