Harvard Business Review: Vol. 5 September - October 2017
When Jeff Immelt announced that he was stepping down as chief executive of GE, the Wall Street view of his tenure was tepid. Analysts acknowledged his leadership through 9/11 and the Great Recession. But some also hammered him for the 30% decline in GE’s share price and noted that the company’s stock was the worst-performing component in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Those points, while fair, obscure a bigger one: Immelt utterly remade the organization he inherited from Jack Welch. In “How I Remade GE,” which anchors our Spotlight package, Immelt calls the organization’s revamping “the most consequential makeover in its history.” The company Welch handed him was a productivity machine, a colossus of disparate businesses. But, Immelt says, “I believed that the company couldn’t simultaneously be good at media, pet insurance, and making jet engines.” He set out to fashion a simpler organization focused on industrial businesses—GE’s traditional strength, where the company’s enormous scale could drive growth. In the same way that Welch embodied a certain approach to leadership, Immelt embodied the evolving thinking about leadership and management. Having exited financial services, media and entertainment, and appliances, he invested in wind turbines and other high-margin businesses that run on exceptionally long cycles. He also made a bold bet on digitization. His vision took 16 years to implement and will take more time to play out. Others complain about short-termism, but Immelt did something about it.
The containts of this series talking about:
1. When Hiring Execs, Context Matters Most
2. We Look Like Our Names
3. Audacious Philanthropy
4. Could Your Personality Derail Your Career?
5. Happiness Traps: How We Sabotage Ourselves at Work
6. Management Is Much More Than a Science
7. Souq.com’s CEO on Building an E-Commerce Powerhouse in the Middle East
8. Leading Transformation
9. The Overcommitted Organization
10. The Surprising Power of Online Experiments
11. Managing Our Hub Economy
12. Competing on Social Purpose
13. Comp Targets that Work
14. Why Do We Undervalue Competent Management?
15. When it’s Time to Expand Beyond the Base
16. Life’s Work: Michael Strahan
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