20VC: Jeff Immelt on Leadership Lessons from 16 Years as CEO @ GE, Incumbent Innovation; Why Some Have Failed and Others Succeeded, When Boards Have A Positive vs Negative Impact on a Company & The One Fear Startup Founders Are Allowed To Have

Posted on 22nd July 2021 by Harry

Jeff Immelt is a Venture Partner @ NEA serving on both the technology and healthcare investing teams. Prior to entering the world of venture, Jeff served as chairman and CEO of GE for 16 years where he revamped the company’s strategy, re-established market leadership and quadrupled emerging market revenue. As a result, Jeff has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s. In addition, Jeff is on the board of Sila Nanotechnologies and Twilio.

In Today’s Episode with Jeff Immelt You Will Learn:

1.) How did it feel when Jeff was told he was going to be CEO at GE? How did that come about? Did he feel the weight of responsibility when it was announced?

2.) When it comes to incumbents embracing innovation, what strategies work? Why do they work? What lessons does Jeff take from his time at GE on what worked? What strategies do not work? What are the biggest mistakes large incumbents make when adopting new products or strategies? What advice does Jeff continuously tell large company CEOs who ask this question?

3.)  When does Jeff believe boards can be fundamentally impactful? In what circumstances do boards actually cause harm? What are the signs of the truly great board members? What are the causes of why board members can be misaligned with their founders? How should founders approach whether to listen or not to their board?

4.) How does Jeff think about trust in teams? Does he start fully trusting and it is their to be lost or start not trusting and it is their to be gained? What people do you want around you in a crisis? What are the signals of these people? What does Jeff mean when he speaks of “crisis accelerants and crisis absorbers”?

5.)  How does David think about fear in leadership? What is the one thing that leaders are allowed to be afraid of? How do the best founders approach their relationship to paranoia? How do the best communicate their fears to their team?

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