Inside GE talent management: Two invaluable analyses

Most executives I know are afflicted by a variation on ADD (what I call “EADD”): their disorder is that they are frequently time-starved and/or attention-starved. For that reason, they welcome having access to the information they need to increase their understanding of how to improve performance in a specific area.

Talent management offers an excellent case in point.

For decades, GE has been the proverbial gold standard in talent management. Its leaders (led by CEOs Ralph Cordiner, Reggie Jones, Jack Welch, and now Jeff Immelt) have institutionalized and then constantly refined a system by which to “grow” the leaders needed at all levels and in all areas.

What valuable lessons can be learned from GE? Although there are dozens of books to consider, I highy recommend two articles that probably provide about as much information as most busy executives need to recruit, interview, hire, and then develop the people they need.

One is a brief case study, “GE’s “Talent Machine: The Making of a CEO,” written by Christopher Bartlett and Andrew N. McLean, for the Harvard Business School.

The second is an article, “How Jack Welch Runs GE: A Close-up Look at How America’s #1 Manager Runs GE,” written by John A. Byrne for BusinessWeek magazine.

For those who wish to know which books to consider, I recommend these:

The Secret to GE’s Success: A Former insider Reveals the Leadership lessons of the World’s Most Competitive Company (William E. Rothschild)

Jack Welch & The G.E. Way: Management Insights and Leadership Secrets of the Legendary CEO (Robert Slater)

Jeff Immelt and the New GE Way
: Innovation, Transformation and Winning in the 21st Century (David Magee)

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