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Saturday
Dec072013

Shake Up Your Routine

We have all heard the age old phrase “get comfortable with getting uncomfortable,” and while I support this mantra, I sympathize with others who, like me, enjoy routine and consistency. As I entered my current rotation, I told my program manager I was flat-out terrified of doing account development. But rather than pushing for an alternative role, I took a step back and realized that this was an opportunity to overcome a personal challenge area, one I knew nothing about. After all, it was only going to be six months. 

Such is the beauty of programs like CLP. Though three or four different jobs in two years sounds like a résumé nightmare to a non-programmer, rotations give you the unique opportunity to learn what you love, but more importantly what you don’t. And while I thought I would never again touch my current role with a 100-foot pole, I’m advocating for the opportunity to return to this function after I come off program. (Cue program manager’s “I told you so.”)

So be glad to be pushed, challenged, and yeah, a little bit scared. You will learn a lot about the roles that you perceived as “just a job” and what you want to foster and grow. As in my case, you just might surprise yourself. In a recent post, Richard Branson said, “A fulfilling career is waiting for those brave enough to find it.” Savor every moment on program. We are lucky enough to get the chance to sort out the good from the bad (and yes, probably a little bit of the ugly). By the end of it, I’d be willing to bet you’ll find a solid foundation for that career that’s waiting for you.    

Written by: Meg Milby (Energy Management - Intelligent Platforms / Charlottesville, VA, USA)

Tuesday
Dec032013

Try, Fail, Persevere, Repeat… Grab Success by the Horns

I love when most people talk about their story. It always sounds like a Disney or superhero movie: the person is faced with a challenge which seems insurmountable, however, they wear a cape which grants them superpowers that makes everything trivial to them. No one talks about their failures. And if they ever do, it's always a mute point. My GE 4-blocker (visualization used to rate oneself after a rotation) illustrates my marketing prowess. Sometimes, I'm tempted to put a Superman logo in place of my picture, because that's just how good it is. But, I feel that the one-pager does not tell the full story. 

Beneath my golden cape is a story of failures. During my second rotation, anything that could go wrong did; I suffered 3 system hard drive crashes that erased all of my hard work, I was hospitalized for my asthma, and couldn't get the appropriate stakeholders to respond to my requests. Those were the dark days; I'm talking about a room full of "dementors." My manager for this rotation did not have the patience to tolerate the shenanigans so it made our working relationship especially bad. Amazingly, I ended up turning it around. My 4-blocker has a bunch of laudable GE metrics that would make Uncle Jeff consider giving me a raise. Now you might be wondering: did I simply take my cape in to the superhero store and get a new one? No. I did 2 things.

- I believed there was a path to success. The vision of a successful rotation was what I clung on to and prayed about; it gave me the courage to try again. It would've been easier to write it off as a bad rotation and move on. 

-  I shared my dilemma with those around me (family, co-workers, college friends) to figure out a way to turn things around. The people I consulted with were invaluable in the turnaround process from start to finish. 

Let's pause for a moment. There are two things I want to emphasize: faith & authenticity. These are two very easy but infrequently practiced principles that most people including myself struggle with. In a nutshell, what am I really trying to communicate? I want you to know this:

You will fail. Not just once but many times over. Expect that. The big difference is, if you are authentic and persevere, you will succeed no matter whatever the circumstances. It's never too late to change the score on the board; if a man that gets a DUI can become the US President, there's no reason why you can't do the same. Well, maybe not become the President, but you get my drift. You can turn around personal and professional relationships or situations for the better. 

There is a quote I love. It reads, "Just because you failed doesn't make you a failure, just because you lost doesn't make you a loser." Never forget that. I fail everyday, and do you know what? I'm going to endure even more failures... but in the end you will see me in the sky. 

Work hard & prosper folks... Up, up and away!

Written by: Charles A. Mokuolu (Transportation)

Wednesday
Nov202013

International Experience and GE Culture

After one year in the Commercial Leadership Program, completing two rotations in Latin America, Ihave had the opportunity to work in the Healthcare Global Services team, moving to Milwaukee,Wisconsin for half of my 3rd rotationWhat I didn’t expect was that it would become a full year ofinternational experienceworking within 2 different global teams and interacting with all of the 7 regions worldwide.

This experience was key for me not only to understand how valuable the GE culture is on driving collaboration to achieve results, but also to understand how strong it becomes when tied to the local characteristics and needs. With that in mind, I tried to summarize 3 key learning takeaways from this international experience that I will take with me as I move to off program next January. I hope it helps you during your career journey, and also, please feel free to share your thoughts.

1-     Diversity brings differentiation. Having a team with different backgrounds and cultures is challenging, but the value it adds to achieve our global and scalable results is huge.

2-     Great leaders define context. Change is a constant in GE and in our current world. But as human beings we don’t naturally enjoy working with change and uncertainty - that’s why bringing the context where each request predicts a result, brings meaning and engagement to change.

3-     Deep dive in your self-knowledge. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses are key. But more important is the definition of your dreams, who do you want to become and where do you want to get.

I will finish with one thought I just received from one of my current leaders, who is in a GE Senior Leadership Training this week. “Creating significance is the cornerstone of a successful life.” 

Written by: Felipe Pirri (Global Operations / Milwaukee, WI, USA)

Wednesday
Nov132013

CLPs On Camera

A couple months ago, the Capital CLP’s filmed a promotional video to be used for recruiting purposes.  The video, which captures our professional lives and jobs across the United States, was directed, filmed, and edited by the CLP’s. Within only a few weeks and by using two flips cams, we interviewed all the CLPs and asked them a series of questions, such as, education background, current role and location.  Additionally, we included a few interview type questions and asked them to describe the Corporate Leadership Program in one word or phrase; for example “CLP is engaging!”  The video was then edited and sent to corporate for review.

I won’t lie, I had my doubts about the video in beginning, but the end result turned out great! It really demonstrates a few key elements of the program that, I believe, set CLP above the rest. The video gives insight into the diversity across all roles, cultures, locations and backgrounds that the program has to offer.  In addition, the video highlighted the key benefits of the program.  Whether it’s exposure to senior leaders or experiencing three different management styles, the program gives us all the tools we need to become successful commercial leaders. Most importantly, the video was able to put a much needed face to the program, which makes the position more relatable to prospective college grads. Individuals looking for a career in our program are now able to get a better grasp of the diversity, exposure and breadth of experience they will find by being a part of the corporate leadership program.  Overall, the video was a great success, and I am honored to be part of it, as well as CLP. 

Written by: Zack Imhoff (Capital / Norwalk, CT, USA)

Tuesday
Nov122013

Miniscule Improvements

A handful of CLPs were given the chance to visit the Global Research Center (GRC) in Niskayuna, NY, and I was granted the privilege of being one of three CLPs from Oil & Gas to go. When we arrived, we discovered that the GRC in NY is a campus similar to that of a small college campus that houses many different departments. Different buildings house each department, and we were able to tour a few of the buildings as well as stay in the Lodge right on campus.

As we all know, cross-business collaboration in a company as large and diverse as GE is often a difficult and daunting task. The GRC adds a breath of fresh air to the company by promoting cross-business product expansion as researchers often develop products for one business that can be adapted to fit the needs of another business.

A perfect example of a cross-business technology is synthetic jets. These synthetic jets are tiny billows that use piezoelectric materials to create what is essentially an artificial lung that generate small puffs of air. One of the labs that we were able to visit was using synthetic jets as a cooling solution for LED light bulbs for GE Lighting. The LEDs in these light bulbs would run so hot that they needed active cooling, and fans were too bulky and noisy to be used in a light fixture. So these synthetic jets were applied, and the result was mind-blowing. Because of the cooling the jets added, the output of the overall lamp was increased threefold and the number of LEDs was cut in half.

Glen Merfeld giving an overview of the GRCA perfect example of a cross-business technology is synthetic jets. These synthetic jets are tiny billows that use piezoelectric materials to create what is essentially an artificial lung that generate small puffs of air. One of the labs that we were able to visit was using synthetic jets as a cooling solution for LED light bulbs for GE Lighting. The LEDs in these light bulbs would run so hot that they needed active cooling, and fans were too bulky and noisy to be used in a light fixture. So these synthetic jets were applied, and the result was mind-blowing. Because of the cooling the jets added, the output of the overall lamp was increased threefold and the number of LEDs was cut in half.

In another lab, the same piezoelectric synthetic jet technology has been modified for many different types of aviation applications to control airflow. The synthetic jets are used to re-energize the airflow for stall and separation control. Using a full-scale trailing edge flap set-up, it was demonstrated that these synthetic jets could replace the current moving parts on an aircraft wing. The technology has even been modified to the point where the technology can be used to control liquid flow and hydrodynamics.

3-D printed toys

Additive manufacturing (3-D printing) is another technology that everyone has heard about, but not everyone knows that GE has a large investment in the technology as well. Research is being conducted at the GRC to bring additive manufacturing to the point where products made by traditional methods are able to be printed. This allows many new and more complex designs to be realized while reducing the cost of manufacturing.

After our visit of the labs, we were able to network with the Edison engineers that were at the GRC and learn about their projects. As a special treat, we were able to see Thomas Edison’s desk.

Thomas Edison's Desk

One of the things that really stuck with me from the visit was that one of the lead researchers said, “What we do every day is to take a small miniscule amount of extra energy, and take that to modify or improve a process to have a quantum improvement in either efficiency or output.” Based on what we saw at the GRC, it’s really what it’s all about - just making tiny and sometimes extremely simple improvements to things that create a HUGE (positive) change in output.

Overall the GRC visit was an incredible learning experience, and we’d like to thank Greg, Sandy, and Dan for making this trip possible, as well as Brian and Dr. Seyed for taking time out of their busy day to show us around.

Written by: Yifei Li (Oil & Gas – Flow & Process Technologies / Houston, TX, USA)

 

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