Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Level Player of GE - 1997 Explanation

Excerpts from Annual Report of GE 1997

Now we simply cannot afford to field anything but teams of “A” players.

What is an “A”?

At the leadership level, an “A”  is a man or woman with a vision and the ability to
articulate that vision to the team, so vividly and powerfully that it also becomes their vision.

An “A” leader has enormous personal energy and, beyond that, the ability to energize others
and draw out their best, usually on a global basis. An “A” leader has “edge” as well: the instinct
and the courage to make the tough calls — decisively, but with fairness and absolute integrity.

As we go forward, there will be nothing but “A’s” in every leadership position in this Company.
They will be the best in the world and they will act to field teams consisting of nothing but “A” play-
ers. The best leaders — the “A’s” — are really coaches. What coach, with any instinct or passion
for winning, would field an Olympic swimming or gymnastics team, or a Super Bowl team, that
wasn’t made up of the absolute best available? In the same vein, what business leader worthy of the
name would even consider fielding a team with anything other than the very best, the “A” players?

What characterizes “A” players?

In finance, for example, “A’s” will be people
whose talents include, but transcend, traditional
controllership. The bigger role is one of full-
fledged participant in driving the business to win
in the marketplace — a role far bigger than the
dreary and wasteful budget “drills” and bean-
counting that once defined and limited the job.

In engineering, “A’s” are those who embrace
the methodology of Design for Six Sigma. “A”
engineers can’t stand the thought of “riding it
out” in the lab, but rather relish the rapid pace of
technological change and continually re-educate
themselves to stay on top of it.

In manufacturing, “A” players will be people
who are immersed in Six Sigma technology, who
consider inventory an embarrassment, especially
with a whiff of deflation in the air — people who
understand how to drive asset turns and reduce
inventory while at the same time increasing our
readiness to serve the customer.

In sales, “A” players will use the enormous cus-
tomer value that Six Sigma generates to differenti-
ate GE from the competition, to find new
accounts, and to refresh and expand the old ones
— as contrasted with “C” players whose days are
spent visiting “friends” on the “milk-run” circuit of
customer calls.

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