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For the past 30 years, senior leaders from across GE have converged in early January to talk strategy and set priorities for the entire year at Jeff Immelt’s Global Leadership Meeting – or GLM. Each business follows up with a leadership meeting of its own in the following weeks. I had the fortunate chance to attend GE Digital’s GLM in New Orleans from January 19 to 21 to representing the Leadership Programs based in the San Ramon office.
I got a chance to hear from the GE greater Leadership team directly regarding their opinions and plans for GE Digital for the next year.
Bill Ruh, GE Digital CEO, GE Chief Digital Officer
- We’re not just digital AND industrial, we are digital industrial
- We have come to a point in the software industry where we don’t actually own our assets. We only own the experience, the speed, the outcome, and the business model that packages all of those things together
- At GE, we have the largest industrial data sets, so we need to use those to our advantage
- Our domain knowledge differentiates us from consumer and enterprise experiences
- The Digital Thread is what connects all of GE: manufacturing, services, and engineering design
- We are trying to put Analytics (GE Digital) and Physics (GE Aviation) together
Jennifer Waldo, Head of Human Resources, GE Digital
- “Big things don’t happen without taking risks. Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.”
- She talked about talent acquisition and how GE has to do a lot more not only to attract talent but retain it.
Khozema Shiphandler, VP & CFO, GE Digital
- Execute, execute, execute.
- We need to go from productivity to revenue to investments
- We’re in the position for service market leadership, but we have to use new metrics to understand them as well
Kate Johnson, CCO, GE Digital
- She talked about our service transformation policy and how commercial reviews across all businesses might change (CMO, CSO, OM, CCO)
- “It’s about science, not art”
- We need to change our metrics; we need to think about developers, subscriptions (platform consumption), and burn rate
- We need to develop consistency in horizontal processes
Jim Daily, CDO, GE Aviation
David Burns, CIO, GE Aviation
- “Don’t confuse effort with results”
- What Aviation sees in 2016
- Grow full flight data coverage
- CSA Productivity
- Customers on Predix
- Digital Thread Productivity
Jeff Immelt, CEO & Chairman, GE
- We can fulfill the unmet need; we have the “killer app”
- We have more material science patents than any other company in the world
- We have a healthy disrespect of our own business model
- Live in a constant state of fear and continue learning
- It’s good to bring in people from the outside and change culture
- Elements of a good leaders at GE: Being competitive, inherently curious, self-awareness balanced with self-confidence, resilience, good judgement, willingness to stand apart, giving and not taking
- Leaders are good at what they do and have the ability to lead people
- We need to be extra paranoid about size and age – we can’t let legacy get the best of us
Harel Kodesh, CTO, GE Digital
- Less investment in storage, computing power, and networking
- More investment in security, analytics, mobile enterprise, new areas (cloud)
- One team, one dream.
- Engage in constructive conflict.
- It’s ok to fail. Really.
- Look differently at how we deliver & measure ourselves.
In retrospect, I think most of the conference was more inspirational rather than strategic. It was more presentation-based rather than workshop-based. Everything was very high-level rather than getting into the nitty gritty, which as an entry-level employee. I would have appreciated more information about. In some ways, I appreciate Steve Jobs’ methods for running a retreat or meeting : keep it simple. Even though GE is a large company, it seemed a little extravagant. I did have some wonderful conversations along side our Executive Design Director, David Cronin, as to where our studio was going for the future. I also got to see the amazing sketchnotes by Julie Stuart.
As my second GE “corporate” conference, it gave me some insight into how GE functions (and specifically GE Digital at that) as an organization and get some glimpses of how the leadership team is thinking. Getting a chance to spend some time in New Orleans was also appreciated 🙂