How Does Jeff Immelt, The CEO Of GE, Spend His Time?

Jeff Immelt runs the third largest company in the world, a company that generates revenue of 175 billion dollars (55% of it outside the US). In his interview this week with Charlie Rose, Jeff Immelt responded to the question of how he divides his time in this way:

30% of his time is spent on people – coaching talent, choosing and nurturing the best people. Immelt says “People is where we create differentiation”.
30% is spent on financial operations – focusing on businesses that need attention, making financial decisions, where to build things, where to expand markets, what to sell.
30% is spent on growing the company – meeting customers, making deals, developing ideas and opportunities such as GE’s Eco-imagination strategy.
10% on governance – working with the board, investors…

Immelt’s other preoccupation is his promise to GE employees to be in the front seat of history. He keeps a great antenna open to constantly absorb the changes in the world, to grow breadth, to pick up trends, to appreciate context and to think about what’s next.

How would you translate this learning and mindset to yourself? Whether you are a one person business, leading a team or running an organization?
First, invest in people and develop talent – develop your own talent and strengths as well as coach and develop the people around you. When you provide development opportunity and growth value for people, you will never be out of work, you will never not be valuable, you will never be bored and you will never be isolated.
Second, understand your business, take an interest in it and take care of it. Know how it works, manage risk and take full responsibility for your finances
Third, engage with new growth, with new opportunities, develop what you do, don’t do the same thing this year as you did last year, push your envelope into new territories.
Fourth, keep your house in good order.
And then, stay open and continue to learn new things. Be alert to perceive the trends around you and the greater context of the times in which you live.

Finally, Immelt clearly enjoys what he does and is excited about it. You can too. You don’t have to be the CEO of GE to live an exciting and enjoyable life. Start getting excited about your own strengths and about being the CEO of your own life and enterprise. In the end it’s the only enterprise you really have. How about making it a great one?

© Aviv Shahar

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