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Jeff Immelt’s leadership by fiat

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Profiles in Leadership

GE chairman and chief executive Jeffrey Immelt is famously at ease. Occasionally, he simply issues an order.

When done in moderation, Immelt says, leadership by fiat can drive change.

In 2010, he visited Brazil and saw it rapidly advancing in technology. He thought GE should open a lab there.

When he got home, he told his research director: “Hey, dude, you’re going to put a global research center in Brazil. Pick a good place.”

By year’s end, GE had a lab in Rio.

“If you run a big company,” Immelt says, “you’ve got to, four or five times a year, just say, ‘Hey, team, look, here’s where we’re going.’ If you do it 10 times, nobody wants to work for you. If you do it zero times, you have anarchy.”

— Adapted from “GE Goes With What It Knows: Making Stuff,” Steve Lohr, The New York Times.

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