Talent Development Quote - Jack Welch

GE is facing some current challenges in the market however from 1981 through 2001 under CEO Jack Welch GE’s market cap (value) grew 18% compounded annually from $14B to $410B.

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A large part of this profitable growth was due to the rigor placed on their talent development processes directly from the CEO.  

Quote: My main job was developing talent. I was a gardener providing water and other nourishment to our top 750 people. Of course, I had to pull out some weeds, too. Jack Welch, Retired Chairman & CEO of GE

Even in the early years of his tenure while having to cut expenses in many areas Jack Welch invested heavily in expanding GE’s talent development programs.  Many of these philosophies, tactics and tools can be used by contractors:

  • Differentiation is critical for attracting, retaining and developing top talent.  
  • Put a great business leader such as Bill Conaty in charge of talent giving them an equal seat on the executive team.
  • Use tools similar to the “GE Workout” to stretch your team and develop their leadership capabilities. 
  • Other tools used by Jack Welch are included in The GE Way Fieldbook. 
  • Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan discuss some of the talent processes including a scorecard and providing feedback in Execution. 

Talent development is difficult and requires making some very tough decisions.  It is the contractors that build robust talent processes today that will dominate tomorrow.  


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