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Make Talent Your Business by Jeannie Coyle, Wendy Axelrod

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chapter 5 Shape Your Environment to Drive Development

JEANNIE’S ALL-TIME CAREER HIGH was working for Lou Gerstner at American Express as senior vice-president of human resources. When Gerstner became the new group head of Travel Related Services, he promptly announced that one of his two top priorities would be developing leaders. Were people skeptical? You bet! After all, Jeannie’s colleagues’ experience matched the research showing that the number one reason leadership development falls flat is that many leaders don’t really believe in it. In their heart of hearts, these leaders held a Darwinian view that the fittest survive and do so on their own.1

Clearly, Lou was a different breed of leader. He wanted a simple, direct development process, ...

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