Phebe Novakovic, CEO General Dynamics

General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic

General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic

Looking at the career of Forbes’ 75th most powerful woman, we could notice that although Phebe Novakovic completed her MBA back in 1988, nothing was really listed afterwards. I mean, about her career even in write ups. Instead, there’s this big gap between 1988 to 1997, the time before she worked for the CIA as an Intelligence Officer.

Well, it’d be intriguing to know what Novakovic did during that 9 year period.

Nonetheless, what matters more is that she “grew” as a person, as a leader .. no matter. This is something employers and recruiters have yet to truly learn – understanding that “experience can be obtained from exposure through other undertakings.”

Still when Novakovic took over the helm at General Dynamics on the first day of this year 2013, it’d be interesting to note that there were losses and that stocks were down, but – with her frankness, the stocks slowly climbed up again… and so the story goes.

See, openness is important if you want to recover from failure. This is like acknowledging your illness for you to get proper treatment. And if you are a good leader, you would not try to hide an elephant or make lame excuses. Instead, you would focus on the “what to dos”… and do it now.

And in Novakovic’s case, her business philosophy explains her actions – as it should: “It’s our job to right-size our businesses, drive costs out and perform for our customers and our shareholders and our people.” And so it explains her focus on operations.

One thing though.

She has been with General Dynamics Corporation since May 2001 starting as a Director, and working her way up to her current position. Hmm… the company had just gone through setbacks. So, what was she doing during those trying times? Was the situation out of her fence? Well then, she could have given suggestions before things fell. We don’t know. Or perhaps she didn’t see the avalanche coming? Oh, then, you got to improve awareness and feel.

Business maybe unpredictable, but when you are always on your toes, you’d improve your chances of perhaps not even getting swiped by the sickle; otherwise, you could hope for a “better” fall and a faster recovery. And not just plain press release but real recovery. Though with Phebe Novakovic on the reins, it could be sooner than later.

What’s your take?