Ge's New Ceo Can Lead First And Light Up The Room Later
Lack of charisma won't be a serious obstacle for W. James McNerney Jr. in replacing CEO Jack Welch ("Running the house that Jack built," The Corporation, Oct. 2). I have three points to make: First, you need the charisma of a leader especially in times when a company is facing big changes, as General Electric Co. was in the 1980s. GE is now a well-run machine, and it seems to me that there won't be major shocks in the future.
Second, if you weren't born with something, it doesn't mean you can't learn it. Now, we can see an election struggle between two candidates for the Presidency of the U.S.; I'm sure that both candidates work with speech coaches. The candidate who gets the post of CEO of GE during the next 15 years can spend half a year training for better speaking skills.
Third, advancing new ideas and projects within the company is not the work of only one person, but of a team. This involves everything from making presentations to collecting information from workers. I call this work "internal PR" and assert that the charisma of an individual leader, although important, is not decisive.