The New GE Way: Go Deep, Not Wide

In a break with old practices followed by Jack Welch, GE’s top managers will relocate less, and concentrate expertise in one field, according to an article in today’s WSJ.

General Electric Co. once groomed upstart managers to be jack-of-all-trades generalists. Now the conglomerate is betting on deep industry experts instead.

The shift is a major change in philosophy at a corporation that for decades had made a rigorously applied yet generic management tool kit central to its identity. Like all companies, GE wants some of both traits in its leaders, but the balance has tipped toward expertise.

Rather than purposely relocate its senior leaders every few years in a game of musical chairs, in order to expose them to more of the company, GE now is leaving them in their business units longer.