Most would agree that Jeff Immelt is one of the great CEOs of our time, and he’d better be because GE is one of the greatest corporations in human history. And it is good to see that Mr. Immelt has volunteered to assist President Obama in bringing jobs to America and helping us into the Clean Energy Future, but still, this is very risky for GE’s reputation and Jeff’s as well. After all, with approval ratings dipping drastically it’s could become a dangerous demise for Immelts longevity as a top executive in American Business.
Before Immelt’s appointment to Obama’s insider team to revive our economic prospects, I was having a conversation with a business management and small business consulting guru about General Electric, and we both agreed it is a great company. When talking about why, he believed that GE had great leadership, mentors, and coaches and he stated;
“Think Jack Welch and GE, especially in their prime. No one was better at generating top notch business leaders who knew how to execute. Why, because of the culture and the psychology of GE. Because of the leadership and mentoring (coaching) that continuously happened there. This didn’t happen accidentally.”
Okay I told him, that’s one way to look at it, and it is true, but I suggested he read the book; “The Secret to GE’s Success” by Rothschild. (Amazon sells the book online still I believe). So, whereas, GE did do a good job with their executive training center, thanks to smart leadership. I’d say a good part of their success has more to do with their close ties to the US government.
Even today we see that, namely a law to make all citizens change light-bulbs, funding for night-vision goggles for the troops, and don’t forget banking laws helping GE Capital, healthcare insurance laws for that division, jet aircraft engines for military aircraft, Medicare funding for their high-tech medical division – plastics, nuclear powered submarines, hydro-plants, energy-efficient appliance rebate stimulus, etc, etc, and seriously I could go on for 10-minutes on this stuff.
So, whereas, Jack Welch did well, and yes, I’d say he was a General Patton type motivator, but, make no mistake GE did recover from a number of rather huge mistakes over the last 6-decades. And I’d submit to you that GE had to set up that executive training center for their employees because the business schools were not producing or teaching their MBAs correctly, or good enough.
So, one can swear up and down that Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton are the best thing going, but I read all of their stuff, and quite frankly most of it is like either “dah” or so laden in politically correct horse manure, that’s not worth my time to read. Plus, their students and faculties explanation of industry, case study, or future predictions is more often than not FLAT WRONG. And it blows me away no one can see it, when it’s all right there in front of them, but they don’t see it.
And I am happy that GE is being used for case-study after case-study in these schools, but in hindsight, it’s obvious that due to their closeness and coziness to government, they’ve been able to do what few companies ever had. And I’d say that close relationship has done wonders for their success as much or more than their ability to coach, educate, and motivate their team to greatness. In fact, I’d say they had no choice, because they had so much business, they had to rise to the occasion.
Further, this latest relationship with GE and the Obama Administration, well, it will be great for GE profits, and it does uplift Obama’s credibility to work with such corporate superstars of business. But GE’s reputation could take a hit for the privilege of that same relationship. Time will prove me right, have a nice day.