Thursday, September 08, 2005

Leadership & Education --> "qg on GE about MBA @ U of M"

I have a friend whose son just entered the University of Michigan’s MBA program. He was telling me how excited his son was to get his degree and enter the workforce to make money at a big company. He also said that Jeffrey Immelt chairman of General Electric Company spoke at their incoming MBA ceremony. I’m always impressed when schools have big time speakers at the beginning of the year to give the students a sort of jump start to their studies and what lays ahead upon graduation.

Mr. Immelt talked to the class about rising oil prices and the importance of global competition. GE, America’s number one country in terms of wealth, WHOOPS, Wait, that now belongs to Exxon Mobil.

I often wondered why so-called experts in Leadership (i.e., academia) equate a company’s wealth with the success of their Leadership style. AT&T for 50 years was considered the best-run company in America with the big three auto companies close behind. While I can’t speak to the auto companies, I can about AT&T.

It amazed me when AT&T was a monopoly and people “automatically” paid a bill sent to them each month. So what was it that made their managers so special. I mean no matter what you did as a manager the customer had nowhere else to go, so I guess that equals a winning record and successful leadership. I think we can say the same thing about the big three from the 1940s – 1970s. Not much competition if any at all.

So Mr. Immelt is right, the United States must be able to compete in global competition, I know GE does because it employs over 20,000 employees in India and is rapidly moving their appliance industry to Mexico and soon if not already in China (does anybody worry about the Chinese Government some day just taking over these companies on their soil once they learn all there is to know about the product).

qg is excited about all this talk, after all is it not the “finance” savvy MBAs (finance manager who has been taught to manage by the able to be seen numbers only will define profit as the difference between revenues and expenses). from the last 25 years that have led many of the American companies. You see, Dr. Deming said the worst thing America can do is send our American Management Style oversees. Maybe it will be the best thing for global competition. The workers may be Chinese, Mexicans or Indians, but the boys running the show are Americans.

So the American worker continues paying for the blunders of management. Last week it was reported the average CEO makes $12 million dollars a year and a worker $27,000.

Here is a thought University of Michigan MBA Program – how about bringing in a group of first line supervisors and non-management workers who interface with customers on a daily basis ($27,000). I’m not saying don’t bring in the Harvard bred leaders like Mr. Immelt ($ Millions), just let the future leaders get some reality from the front-line before so they can challenge their “experts” in class for the next 2-4 years. Naw that would not make "cents."


Anonymous said...


I found your post through Yahoo Search. I work for Ge in the south and I think you have hit a nerve at my place of employment.

Kentucky Ken

qualityg says said...


Is it a nerve like an exposed tooth, or a pinched nerve that goes dumb (I mean numb) every so often?

I have received some calls too from friends who attended U of M. Go Irish!