Episode 10: Jeannie Coyle on Lou Gerstner, AmEx, and Developing Leaders through Experience [The Amiel Show]

What happens when CEOs of large organizations make leadership development a central part of their business strategy? What becomes possible when they personally spearhead this pivotal work rather than delegating it to HR or ignoring it entirely?

In episode 10 of The Amiel Show, talent strategist Jeannie Coyle and I talk about her experience at American Express in the early 1980s, helping Lou Gerstner (who later “saved IBM”) build a powerful pipeline for developing leaders internally. We discuss:

Get the latest Jedi Leadership Tricks

Sign up today for my free weekly update

No spam. I promise.

  • The unusual approach that Americal Express took of developing leaders through focused experiences rather than training and complex tools
  • Jeannie’s big risk that paid off: giving Gerstner a one-page summary of high potential leaders instead of the customary big binders
  • How Gerstner created a new culture involving honest, transparent conversations that had never happened before
  • How Gerstner took personal responsibility for developing leaders at the company
  • What it was like to be a woman in leadership at American Express in the early 1980s

Jeannie-Coyle

Listen to the Podcast

Tweet a Quote

Gerstner knew he was not perfect. He was more interested in hearing about his downsides.

–Jeannie Coyle    Tweet this quote

Explore Additional Resources

WorkIntelligence, Jeannie Coyle’s consulting and coaching business

Make Talent Your Business: How Exceptional Managers Develop People While Getting Results by Jeannie Coyle and Wendy Axelrod

Lou Gerstner, “the man who saved IBM”

One Page Talent Management by Mark Effron

Ram Charan’s article “It’s Time to Split HR” in Harvard Business Review

Ask A Question to Knockman the Magnificent

My good friend, Knockman The Magnificent (named after the Jewish Mystic, Nachman of Breslow, but with a 21st century pragmatic orientation), will soon be answering questions on the show. You leave me a short voice message (directly through your computer) with your question. If I select it, I’ll play it on the air, and Knockman will answer it. Click here to ask your question.

New to Podcasts? Here Are a Few Simple Steps to Get Started

The easiest way to listen is to download a podcast application on your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. Two popular apps are Downcast and PocketCasts.

These apps allow you to subscribe, download, and listen to a podcast directly on your mobile device. No need to synch with your computer. They also automatically update your podcasts every time a new episode is released.

Applaud, Send Friends…or Both!

If you enjoyed the show, please rate it on iTunes and write a brief review.

If you have friends who might enjoy listening, please email them a link to this episode.