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