The world’s oldest startup continues to drive innovation. GE (then) Chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt discusses the digital industrial age, the transformation and globalization of GE and why workplace culture matters.
On powering the industrial internet: “Just like there's a consumer internet and an enterprise internet, there's going to be an industrial internet that harnesses data for the purposes of driving productivity. In our business, assets matter a lot. In 2010 we started to really look for ways to drive value from the analytics coming off our assets. The question for us at the time was: do we build or buy? We decided to build it ourselves and hire the best engineers from the industry.”
On GE’s recruiting strategy: “For the new people we recruit, I think purpose and the workplace matter a lot – the way we interact with each other, the notion that we're doing important things for the world. It's important for us to see change, but we're not for everybody. We want to be really good at what we do, and the people who join us have to want that too.”
On active listening as a key to strong leadership: “There's so much of this job that requires being in the moment. You always have to be listening because you don't want to miss something that's really important. But you [also] have to be doing. Good leaders know how to stay in the moment and how to listen and act at the same time.”