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Critique of Developing a Leadership Strategy

Critique of Developing a Leadership Strategy

After you have read attached article : Developing a leadership strategy, complete the following:

Analyse Pasmore�s article and review the author�s Model for Leadership Strategy. Do you agree
with this model? How does it relate to your own company? Explain your answer with relevant
examples if possible.

The following conditions must meet in the paper

1) I want a typical and a quality answer which should have about 1100 words.

2) The answer must raise appropriate critical questions.

3) The answer must include examples from experience or the web with references from relevant
examples from real companies.

4) Do include all your references, as per the Harvard Referencing System,


Pasmore (2014) asserts that organisations today do not rely on the knowledge and
skills of a single leader or on the organisation’s chain of command. While leaders in
themselves are not the ultimate determinants of the success of an organization, they
nonetheless determine what course an organisation will take. The model that Pasmore created
for development of a leadership strategy can be analysed from the position of a real world
company to determine whether it is viable.
General Electric is one of the most renowned companies in the world today. Although
it has faded off in the latter years and is a shadow of its former self, the company still ranks
highly in leadership development. The decline in the fortunes of the company, though
attributable to a failure in leadership, is largely due to the changing global business
landscape. Research into corporate leadership has shown that successful businesses in
modern times are those that are run by experts (Bersin, 2012). This seems to suggest that the
first consideration today for a person to become a leader at GE is to possess relevant technical
knowledge in a given area. GE no longer emphasizes in the creation of great general
managers but rather on conversion of highly skilled individuals into great leaders. Thus,
scientists, engineers and sales people who have a firm understanding of a business function
are considered for leadership development.
GE is famed for its leadership development programs that take place in Crotonville.
It is the only company that has a corporate university that has been operational for about six
decades (Peters, 2012). The previous leadership development programs were deemed as
being weak as they churned vulnerable leaders with no grip of different business functions.
Presently, a manager has to have stayed in a business area for a period of five years to be
considered for leadership training. This means that GE has analysed its leadership needs and
has identified that it can plan for leadership positions five years in advance.


The process of being a leader starts after one has completed higher education and
acquires a job with the company. Since the company does not employ seasoned leaders, one
has ample time to prove his/her mettle in order to be considered for leadership development.
This does not mean that the line staffs are not trained. On the contrary, all of the 290,000
employees of GE undergo one form of training or another. However, to be considered for top
leadership, one has to prove oneself as an expert in a certain field. This is in line with
Pasmore’s assertion that talent sustainability starts with identification of needs and followed
by talent development Tittemore,2003). The condition of staying in a business area for 5
years is fairly new and has been implemented after research into present trends in the labour
Pasmore asserts that leadership is defined by more than the skills, competencies and
abilities that a person possesses. He observes that regardless of how formal or informal an
organisation structure looks, there is always an element of culture that destabilises the
balance (Miner, 2005). This means that an organisational culture is equivalent to a leadership
culture (Tittemore, 2003). GE has a very favourable organisational culture. It is anchored on
development and learning. Since the company is involved in many businesses in a wide array
of industries, there is always the worry that the organisational and leadership culture that is
specific to a certain geographic area will be diluted or lost. In order to pre-empt this threat,
GE tailors its leadership development programs to fit the different classes of executives and
considers the culture that they hail from. For example, a GE subsidiary in India has to have
some cultural aspects that are distinct from that in Munich. GE is very considerate of the
upsides and downsides of culture and seeks to mitigate them promptly.
GE believes that a leader is important for the business to be successful. However, the
company is aware that great leaders are not the be-all-end-all of the organisation. Thus, the
leadership development programs that leaders are subjected to are dubbed inspire, connect


and develop meaning that they are not meant to end with leaders. Susan Peters (2010), the
Chief Learning Officer at GE acknowledges that the desire of the organisation is that the
training they offer at Crotonville will have a multiplier effect through mentorship programs
conducted by professionals who have gone through the Crotonville experience. Since not
every leader is able to attend the coveted classes, the organisation empowers those who do to
impart the knowledge they acquire into others. This development at GE is in line with
Pasmore’s assertion that there must be bench strength within an organisation for it to achieve
a high level of success.
Pasmore asserts that an organisation must be aware of its business strategy and must
execute the strategy effectively which are vindicated by the results that the business posts.
This all stems from the specific company defining its leadership capabilities and requirements
in the present and in the future. In line with this, GE ensure that it has three buckets in which
its breaks down its global leadership learning courses. The first is the leadership bucket. This
is broken down into numerous other courses that are offered to different professionals
depending on their years of experience in the positions they hold (O’Connor, 2010). The
second bucket contains skills and includes those driven by function. An example of this
includes marketing skills and financial skills among others. The third is the business bucket
where leaders are trained on business specific knowledge that is required for success in the
industry. This is expansive since GE operates in a wide array of industries from healthcare to
Pasmore’s model is generic and fits into the practices that have become culture at GE.
However, it differs from the GE model and from industry trends in one fundamental way. GE
has shifted from its training programs for generic managers in favour of those that are
business specific. Pasmore argues that development of leaders for leadership positions should
begin immediately after talent identification. However, GE disputes this assertion and instead


holds that development of leaders for leadership positions should begin after they have
acquired the necessary technical competencies in a specific business functions. The mode of
choosing leaders for the reason that they have solely been trained in leadership is outdated.
GE’s model proposes a paradigm shift to one where leadership talent is identified early and
allowed to gather technical experience and then gradually elevated through different levels.
This model ensures that there is no shortage of competent and driven individuals to fill
different positions in an organisation where need arises. Rather than develop leaders due to
an identified gap in leadership, GE continuously trains qualified individuals.


Bersin, J. (2012), ‘Why Leaders Must Be Experts: Keys to Success From GE’, Forbes. 3,
must-be-experts-keys-to-success-from-ge/. {9 Jan 2015}
Miner, J. B. (2005) Organizational Behaviour. Armonk: M. E. Sharpe.
O’Connor, P. (2010), ‘How Companies Develop Great Leaders’, Businessweek. 16, Feb.
{9 Jan 2015}
Pasmore, W. (2014) Developing a Leadership Strategy: A Critical Ingredient for
Organizational Success. White Paper, Centre for Creative Leadership
Peters, S. (2010) How GE Builds Global Leaders. Interview at Wharton University, May 12
Peters, S. (2012), ‘How GE Is Attracting, Developing, and Retaining Global Talent’, Harvard
Business Review. 8. Feb.
Tittemore, J. A. (2003) Leadership at all Levels. Canada: Boskwa Publishing

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