Every Day There Is A New Question
"Winning" is written by Jack Welch and, whether you love him or hate him, the guy has real experience in running a large corporation successfully. This is unlike so many other authors who can be somewhat academic. Welch began his career with the General Electric Company in 1960, and in 1981 became the company's eighth chairman and CEO. During his tenure, GE's market capitalization increased by $400 billion, making it the world's most valuable corporation. Jack retired in 2001 and he is currently the head of Jack Welch, LLC, where he serves as an advisor to a small group of Fortune 500 CEOs and speaks to businesspeople and students around the world. Overall, "Winning" stresses being positive at many levels, causing companies and individuals to thrive and grow, creating jobs and more opportunities for everyone.. It covers the broad expanse of Jack's business experience. He devotes chapters to everything from mission statements to work-life balance. Jack claims that he set out to write this book to answer the repeated questions he gets at Q&A sessions around the world. This results in a tome that is timely, well-informed and relevant. Because of the scope of this book, I will try to focus on the sections that I found most relevant to leadership. Mission
According to Jack Welch, the words "mission and values" are among the most abstract, overused, and misunderstood terms in business today. However, they are also the most important. In his view, a good mission statement and supporting set of values must never come across as wishy-washy or too academic. He believes they have to be "so real they smack you in the face with their concreteness." Your mission statement needs to announce exactly where you are going. There should be no ambiguity. Moreover, he says, a proper mission statement needs to answer one key question: "How do we intend to win in this business?" This question is defining. It requires companies to make choices about people, investments and other resources. The question also forces companies to delineate their strengths and weaknesses in order to assess where they can profitably play in the competitive landscape. Welch recommends that everyone in a company be given an opportunity to have input into its value statement. Getting full participation when you are formulating a value statement really makes a difference, he says. It gives you more insights and more ideas, and most importantly, at the end of the process you'll have more extensive buy-in. Naturally, an open, participatory process cannot happen overnight. It will take time, and an enormous amount of commitment. But Welch is confident it will be worth it in the end. Candor
Next, there is candor or just telling it like it is. Jack believes lack of candor blocks smart ideas, fast action and good people contributing everything they have. When you have candor, everything just operates faster and better. First you get idea-rich. Second, candor generates speed. Third, candor cuts costs. Put all of its benefits and efficiencies together and you realize you just can't afford not to have candor. Given the advantages of candor, you have to wonder why we don't have more of it. To get candor, you reward it, praise it and talk about it. You make public heroes out of people who demonstrate it. Most of all, you yourself demonstrate it in an exuberant and even exaggerated way - even when you're not the boss. Differentiation
Differentiation is probably one of the things which Welch is most noted for at GE. His 20-70-10 plan has been controversial to say the least. This practice highly rewards the top twenty percent of employees, encourages the middle seventy percent and eliminates the bottom ten percent. By doing this, Welch believes that companies win when companies cultivate the strong and cull the weak. Also he stresses that companies suffer when every business and person is treated equally. To Welch, differentiation is just resource...
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