In this unprecedented study of America's leading executives, John Kotter shatters the popular management notion of the effective "generalist" manager who can step into any business or division and run it. Based on his first-hand observations of fifteen top GMs from nine major companies, Kotter persuasively shows that the best manager is actually a specialist who has spent most of his or her career in one industry, learning its intricacies and establishing cooperative working relationships. Acquiring the painstaking knowledge and large, informal networks vital to being a successful manager takes years; outsiders, no matter how talented or well-trained seldom can do as well, this in-depth profile reveals. Much more than a fascinating collective portrait of the day-to-day activities of today's top executives, The General Managers provides stimulating new insights into the nature of modern management and the tactics of its most accomplished practitioners.
Carol T. Schreiber General Electric Company Kotter's landmark portrayal of general managers at work offers new insights about actual managerial performance. He documents the importance of "growing up in a business" for career development and business competence...Most important, by identifying and depicting the most effective managers in his study, he documents the value of different approaches to management. His work represents a monumental contribution to all who educate, advise, select and evaluate general managers -- and to general managers themselves.
Andrew Heiskell Former Chairman of the Board and CEO, Time, Inc. Excellent. Kotter is describing the real world of general managers rather than the theoretical portrait which rarely matches any business activity I've ever known. All business school students should read The General Managers.
Rosemary Stewart Oxford Centre for Management Studies author of Managers and Their Jobs This is a path-breaking contribution to our knowledge of the work and behavior of general managers. Most importantly John Kotter analyzes the implications of the differences as well as the similarities in the behavior of general managers he studied. He destroys the myth of the professional manager who can be successful in any organization.
The Washington Post Well-documented, powerful, thorough...valuable for aspiring managers...must reading for board members and owners of companies looking for leaders.