OCTOBER 2017 / NO. 1

Jeff Immelt’s lessons on leadership

“One weekend a month a GE officer and her/his spouse have dinner with me and my wife at our home. The next morning, I spend 4 hours talking with him or her. This is my way to hear perspectives I might not get otherwise”, Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE from 2001 to 2017
“Intelligence is not found on the internet or in databases; it is, however, created by people delivering perspectives over and above facts”
It is interesting to see how Jeff Immelt created parts of his strategic intelligence picture. After Jack Welch’s period of leadership (from 1980 to 2001), Jeff Immelt transformed the 125-year-old GE into a start-up, a digital industrial company. “We compete in today’s world to solve tomorrow’s challenges”, he said, quoted in HBR September/October 2017.
After Brexit, Jeff Immelt listed seven lessons on leadership:
  1. We are witnessing the failure of bureaucracies in large institutions
  2. Unrest is caused by a lack of leadership
  3. People become afraid when there is no vision for growth
  4. People become discouraged when their leaders do not want to compete for the future
  5. People become victims when leadership fails
  6. The future will be created by leaders who are willing to drive change
  7. Change requires simpler organizations, new business models and more decentralization
“We can either dwell on politics or move forward with solutions”, Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE, Fortune Magazine, August 2016

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