In October 2007 I attended the four-day program Leadership, Innovation, and Growth (LIG) at General Electric’s famed management development center in Crotonville, New York. LIG was the first effort in the center’s 51-year history to bring all the senior members of a business’s management team together for training.
As a senior editor at HBR, I was invited to go through LIG with 19 senior managers of GE Power Generation, one of the company’s oldest businesses. (It dates back to the days of Thomas Edison.) About a year later I revisited the turbine heads, as Immelt affectionately calls them, to see how much impact the program had made. The answer was plenty: The business had accelerated its push into emerging markets, launched initiatives to revamp product development, and stepped up efforts to create new businesses. Managers seemed to be genuinely trying to alter their roles and behavior in order to foster growth. Why was LIG so effective in helping to bring about these changes? There were five main reasons: