We begin each chapter by introducing an exceptional leader and company, followed by some questions for you to answer, and we answer the questions throughout the chapter. We selected General Electric (GE) for the first chapter because it was ranked number 1 in the world for leaders by Fortune Magazine,1 and its CEO Jeffrey Immelt has been named one of the best CEOs in the world by Barron’s, ranked in the top 10 of Fortune’s Most Powerful Businesspeople in the World, and named man of the year by the Financial Times. Fortune Magazine, Financial Times, Forbes, and Business Week consistently rank GE among the most admired companies in the United States and in the world. Over the past five years, GE has grown its earnings an average of ten percent annually.2 GE is Imagination at Work; it has a history of bringing innovation to market. GE is a diversified technology, media, and financial services company focused on solving some of the world’s toughest problems. More than half of the company is located outside the United States. It serves customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people worldwide.3 You are either a customer of GE or have indirectly been exposed to its products and services without realizing it. GE is a conglomerate with multiple lines of business under the following six business units:
• GE Commercial Finance
• GE Healthcare
• GE Industrial
• GE Infrastructure
• GE Money
• NBC Universal
If you are interested in working for a company that is seeking people with leadership skills, or one that will develop your leadership skills, GE is a company to consider. Like most major organizations, GE’s Web site provides information regarding career opportunities.
Opening Case Questions:
- Why is GE so successful?
- Does GE use our definition of leadership (“the influencing process of leaders and followers to achieve organizational objectives through change”)?
- Can leadership skills be developed, and can you develop your leadership skills through this course?
- What leadership managerial roles does CEO Jeff Immelt perform at GE? Can you answer any of these questions?
You’ll find answers to these questions about General Electric and its leadership throughout the chapter. To learn more about General Electric, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.ge.com.