Summary of How to Make Yourself Irreplaceable

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Peng Lei – Alibaba CEO Jack Ma’s right-hand woman for nearly two decades – has been instrumental in establishing Alibaba’s core company culture and turning Alibaba’s online finance branch into a business worth $100 billion. In 2016, Peng ranked 34th on the Forbes list of the 100 Most Powerful Women. As Peng Lei leaves her position to focus on Alibaba’s pursuits in Southeast Asia, Tang Yi – a writer for Cha Zuo MBA’s WeChat wemedia account – reflects on Peng’s successful 19-year run at Alibaba and breaks down what you can learn from her legacy. getAbstract recommends this article to anyone who works for a tough boss.

About the Author

Tang Yi is a writer for Cha Zuo MBA, a WeChat wemedia account focused on career advice, workplace acumen and China's job market.



Peng Lei (also known as Lucy Peng), one of 18 Alibaba co-founders, gave up her stable and comfortable university teaching job to join Alibaba when she was 28 years old. In her 19 years working for Alibaba Group, Peng went from earning only ¥500 (less than $80) per month to having an estimated ¥40 billion net worth. She served as “chief people officer” (head of the human resources department) and later led the team that built Alibaba’s third-party payment system Alipay. She then became the executive chairman of Ant Financial, Alibaba’s online finance branch that is now worth $100 billion. Peng thrived under her boss, CEO Jack Ma, who is notoriously difficult to work for. She has a commanding presence within the company, where other employees have, at times, called her “the female Jack Ma.” Assessing her solid performance and track record at Alibaba reveals two unspoken rules of the workplace that Peng lives by.

Rule number one is: “No matter what your boss’s decision is, execute the vision in a way that makes that decision right.” Ma likes to boast, and Peng helped make most of his big talk become reality. In the early days at Alibaba...

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