Everyone who aspires to become a great leader in corporate world needs to take cue from General Electric’s CEO Jeffery Immelt. Here are some of the lessons that I learnd from Immelt’s initiative.
Welsh was a model CEO loved by both the industry and the investors. The moment the baton was passed on to Immelt, the expectation on him to perform was extremely high. However, expectations were not the only pressure Immelt had to deal with. With September 11 attacks destabilizing the economy he was in a disastrous position. A leader’s main duty is to establish trust, rise to the occasion, reassure that there is someone to guide them and keep the hope alive. Immelt did this in style. He donated millions of dollars in cash and equipment to support the victims. He reassured markets that GE’s stock were still one of the best to invest in, by investing his own money in it. Moreover, he communicated clearly, that these tough times would not deter the company’s growth.
Leaders should be conscious of change in order to adapt, tweak company’s strategy and operations according to external pressures. This is exactly what Immelt did when scandals rocked the corporate world he was conscious and realized that replicating GE’s past performance was impossible when financial regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley clipped corporate wings. But being conscious alone is not enough leaders must decide on a course of action, design a strategic plan and execute it at the right time. Immelt did this precisely. He reevaluated the businesses, elaborated a vision and growth strategy based on the company’s core values.
While outsiders believed that GE’s huge size was its greatest disadvantage. Immelt recognized it as its greatest strength. He realized that GE penetrated most consumer markets ranging from entertainment to water supply. He made efforts to strengthen GE’s core businesses further by acquiring firms and hiring experienced personnel that would complement the company. This is a great example of how leaders should recognize strengths and stick to their belief even when outsiders’ opinions tend cloud judgement.
Last but not the least. Immelt spent resources in grooming the most important resource of any company, the people. He increased R&D funding to aid scientists and built centers that encouraged collaboration. He also kept track of what was happening and handpicked most important R&D projects that would aid the company's growth. He focused of developing future leaders and spent most of his time coaching them.
The sign of a great leader is grooming future leaders and sustain ably utilizing internal resources to build what is at hand. Immelt’s well-rounded personality is characterized by humbleness, rising to the occasion and communicating clearly. He also possesses the charisma to reassure followers, ability to spot talent and strength in tough times. The ability to recognize people as the company’s backbone and spending resources to groom them makes him a complete leader. No wonder General Electric is in safe hands and it will continue to grow exponentially in the future.