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The Secret to GE's Success

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The Secret to GE's Success

A Former Insider Reveals the Management Strategies of the World's Most Competitive Company


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

For 126 years, the spotlight lit up General Electric. Discover the secrets of one of the world’s most famous companies.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Well Structured
  • Background


Most consumers know the ad slogan, “GE brings good things to life,” but few know this complex company’s fascinating 126-year history. GE is one of America’s greatest business stories, spanning technological innovation, World War II, the politics of the New Deal, antitrust battles and the modern technological revolution. William Rothschild, a 30-year GE veteran, reflects on what makes GE great, including its distinctive leaders and the strategic management decisions that shaped the company. This well-researched book is also unusual because it is part memoir and part management study. It’s not a polished work; Rothschild strays as he tells his personal story. The book also needs a company timeline to put events into perspective. Still, getAbstract considers this unusual corporate profile useful reading for developing managers.


Examining Success

For 126 years, the General Electric Company (GE) has set national standards in corporate leadership, technology and finance. It emphasizes five key management components:

  1. “Leadership” – GE has had 10 CEOs. Each served an average of 12.6 years. Despite their varied backgrounds and personalities, each CEO built the company’s strengths and confronted its challenges. GE shares leadership and relies on a management team. Retiring CEOs resign from the board so that new leaders can work independently.
  2. “Adaptability” – Originally an electrical supply company, GE became a global conglomerate by responding to market challenges throughout its history. GE uses a “strategic portfolio” management approach, capitalizing on the best opportunities.
  3. “Talent” – GE has always invested in building its talent base of managers and leaders. It created a management development program in the 1950s.
  4. “Influence” – GE recognized the importance of its key constituents inside and outside the company, including government officials, investors, suppliers, unions, local communities, ...

About the Author

Consultant William E. Rothschild was senior corporate strategist at GE, responsible for business development and competitive strategies.

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