5 lessons communicators can glean from GE’s recent woes

Drop the investor-centric fluff, and find the core story of what makes your company unique. Hopefully, that doesn’t consist of execs who demand backup planes to follow their private jets.

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The company’s great reputation is tarnished. Its stock price has tanked.

GE’s previous CEO kicked a host of problems down the road to Flannery, who took over in 2017. Flannery is doing damage control, while taking what must be immensely unpopular steps to save the company.

How could the corporate titan that was once touted as the best-managed company in the world fall so far? Jack Welch‘s succession planning and testing has been hailed as a model of great corporate leadership and governance. He let three leaders know they were in the running, then he tested them for a year in various leadership positions with specific challenges. The winner, Jeff Immelt, grabbed the reins as GE’s sharp descent began.

The company has been selling off assets, downsizing and trying to find a way forward amid ongoing PR pummelings. All this has presented an array of communication troubles.

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