VP And Chief Marketing Officer, General Electric
Dan Henson, 46 (pictured in New York's Chinatown), manages
"We hope to do well over half a billion dollars in business from the Beijing Olympics. But we are also looking at the Games to broaden our footprint in China overall. It's a chance to dialogue with the government. We are in discussions that range from expanding rural water purification across Chinese villages to improving rural health care and access to medical technology.
The Olympics have also inspired us to reassess our sales process. We have always been good at winning customers in a specific space—for example, our energy experts can sell to energy folks. But when governments spend billions of dollars on Olympic projects, they don't want to be sliced and diced by the same company. Our number-one revelation is that customers don't necessarily organize their buying behavior the way we structure our business. They want to know everything you can do to deliver on a stadium contract. That is a lesson we will use beyond China."
A version of this article appeared in the September 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.