Ellen M. Lord
President & CEO, Textron Systems
Headquarters: Providence, Rhode Island
Primary Business: Aerospace and defense
Revenues: $1.9 billion
Talent Management Supports Economic Stability
I believe many of the same sound business strategies serve companies well regardless of the macro environment. However, in this time of domestic and international economic and political uncertainty, effective leaders must have a laser focus on execution excellence, as well as profitable growth. As a defense contractor, Textron Systems has had to confront business uncertainties for some time. We have done so by putting an extraordinary effort into talent management to keep our business strong, which we believe is the best way we can support economic stability.
Recruiting, developing, and retaining talented employees in all disciplines are cornerstones of our success. We look particularly to college campuses to identify and recruit up-and-comers in multiple disciplines, keeping us on the cutting edge and showing America’s youth the exciting challenges and opportunities they can experience by developing solutions for the most advanced military in the world. Our employees not only design and build platforms for U.S. and allied militaries, they operate and maintain these platforms in the field. We also value former military and government service employees for their unique understanding of our customer base and its needs—veterans bring unparalleled skills and knowledge to our mission.
We are building a deep bench so that we can promote from within. Investing in employees, and stretching them to embrace new roles, drives business success. We have a robust management assessment process that allows managers to identify high-performing employees across functions and quickly match those individuals with opportunities to learn and grow. Actively managing talented people at all stages of their careers, giving them opportunities to grow and training to thrive—these are ways that all employers can continue to keep American industry vital.
To be a successful part of a growing economy, businesses must think globally. Our customer base is diverse, and we thrive when we nurture diversity of experiences, opinions, skills, and education in our workforce. Likewise, to be productive in this global economy we need to not only export our products and services, but also develop a global integrated supply chain.
I believe the strength of an organization comes down to its people. Only people can capture global market opportunities and generate business success.
Education: BS, Connecticut College;MS, University of New Hampshire;Textron Six Sigma Black Belt
First Job: Analytical chemist
What I’m Reading: Eiffel’s Tower, by Jill Jonnes
My Philosophy: Focus on a critical few items, and constantly communicate your vision.
Best Advice: Always hire people who are smarter than you.
Interests: Cooking, gardening, athletics, community involvement