From Drucker to Immelt: Developing Leaders for Tomorrow
Peter Drucker used to say that management development must be dynamic, that is to say it should not aim to replace today’s management, but rather must focus on the future - the “needs of tomorrow,” as he called it.
In this context, Drucker asks us to think about the following:
- What organizations will be needed to attain the objectives of tomorrow?
- What management jobs will that require?
- What qualifications will managers have to have to be equalto the demands of tomorrow?
- What additional skills will they have to acquire?
- What knowledge and ability will they have to possess?
The answer to these questions will help us define your companies future leaders – the men and women who will create your company’s future, the world’s future.
Fast forward to this month’s Harvard Business Review. In a revealing interview, General Electric’s Jeffrey Immelt tells Tom Stewart that GE has defined five growth traits for all of GE’s leaders. In their quest to become growth oriented (the target is to sustain an 8% rate of organic growth), Immelt tells us they had to change some of their DNA.
Here are the 5 traits of GE’s growth leaders:
1. External focus
2. Imagination and creativity
3. Clear thinking and decisiveness
5. Deep domain expertise
As part of the annual HR review at GE, executives are rated green, yellow, or
red on each one.
Immelt tells us that everyone has to have at least one red, because the point is not to pick out winners or losers, but rather to show that everyone (Immelt included) is working on one of these areas.
Interestingly, Immelt tells us the area he’s working on is - decisiveness. Which brings us back to what leadership development is all about - a scalable and repeatable process of individual improvement tailored to the future needs of the business.