Session 2B: Positioning Your Organization for the Future – Jeffrey Immelt

2014-08-14 11:59 AM – Interviewed by Bill Hybels

  • How do you decide to empower? - “when it is the most important thing the company is working on, you don’t delegate it”
  • this protects your team
  • the leader has experience
  • have to “go with your gut”
  • “there’s never been any moment where any job has been beneath me”
  • When became self aware as leader? - grew up participating in athletics which gave a chance to be accountable to self and team
  • “never lost sight of who I wanted to be”
  • “never feared accountability”
  • How did you differentiate self in big company? - had fun jobs and loved the people
  • “It was always about the work and not the career” Your peers determine how far you go”
  • Feelings when in a challenging assignment feelings? - People learn a lot about leaders in a crisis
  • How long in CEO before 9/11 crisis? - started 9/7
  • we live in a more volatile time now
  • the best leaders keep the company safe and then go forward
  • people want to know what to be working on and where the company is going
  • GE has a leadership development university - $1 billion in leadership development
  • “Leadership has a shelf life” – “you need to constantly be tuning your leadership”
  • takes away the layers
  • brings oneness
  • What about when people leave? - “leave fear out of the workplace”
  • “you want people to be on fire when they come to work”
  • “we want people to live their dreams”
  • GE is about the institution…it is not about any one individual
  • When you see “x” quality in someone? Positive OR Concern - Willingness to stand apart. Willingness to buck the system. – “You want someone who understands the tapestry, questions authority, drives change”
  • Excuses turn everybody off
  • Hardest person you’ve ever had to fire? - Watch for individuals who don’t quite fit with the team
  • “You are in the business of giving self-confidence” “When you see someone losing confidence in themselves you have to ask them to leave”
  • Diversity? - “If you believe in talent and meritocracy, then all people can get ahead”
  • The best ideas should win
  • Lack of diversity shows that you don’t believe in a meritocracy
  • Laser-like focus on best people and the best ideas
  • Serving on a task force under Obama? - “A confident society is a competitive society”
  • Simplification? - We live in a complicated society
  • 4 ideas - less management
  • market rules become hyper-competitive
  • Test & Learn quickly
  • Use internet to connect organization, be transparent, and empower
  • be willing to throw out the old
  • Succession plan? - work with the Board as a team
  • the matters of corporate governance can/should be less public
  • Refusing to take a bonus for 2 years? - “was a way to be accountable for what was happening in the company at the time”
  • the constituency you play to the most is your own team
  • “over time you might question my decisions but you will never question my intentions”
  • Work ethic? - “play to win and no one will out work us”
  • What would you hope to experience in a church? - “leadership is an intense journey into yourself”
  • ability to sit for an hour, be at peace, and hear someone else talk…that is priceless

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