date Jun 9, 2007
authors Jack Welch
reading time 7 mins
  • Book Title: Winning
  • Author: Jack Welch and Suzy Welch
  • About the Author: Jack Welch has been the CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001
  • Year written/published: 2005
  • My Comments: A fantastic book about the management of a company and people. The contents are divided into 5 basics - Underneath it all, Your Company, Your Competition, Your Career and Tying up the Loose ends. I’ll definitely come back to this book when i need to recall about the management of a company. It touches on very pertinent issues like hiring, firing, crisis management and competitors. Loved the candor and frankness jack presented in every one of these lines

Contents page:

  1. Mission and Values
  2. Candor
  3. Differentiation
  4. Voice and Dignity
  5. Leadership
  6. Hiring
  7. People Management
  8. parting Ways
  9. Change
  10. Crisis Management
  11. Strategy
  12. Budgeting
  13. Organic Growth
  14. Mergers and Acquisitions
  15. Six Sigma
  16. The Right Job
  17. Getting Promoted
  18. hard Spots - that damn boss
  19. Work-Life Balance
  20. Here, There, Everywhere

Some extracts: Principle of Differentiation…

One of the main misunderstandings about differentiation is that ir is only about people. That’s to miss half of it. Differentiation is a way to manage people and business. Basically, differentiation holds that a company has 2 parts, hardware and software. Software is simple - it’s your people. Hardware depends. If you are a large company, your hardware is the different businesses in your portfolio. If you are smaller, your hardware is your product lines.

on energetic people and their successes…

If you are shy and introverted and somewhat low in energy, there are professions and jobs where those characteristics are advantageous. If you know yourself, you will find them. This criticism of differentiation, which I hear now and then, is not really about differentiation but about society’s values. I might add that in business, energetic and extroverted people generally do better, but results speak for themselves, loud and clear. Differentiation hears them.

What leaders do…

  1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.
  2. Leaders make sure people not only see the vision, they live and breathe it.
  3. Leaders get into everyone’s skin, exuding positive energy and optimism.
  4. Leaders establish trust with candor, transparency and credit.
  5. Leaders have the courage to make unpopular decisions and gut calls.
  6. Leaders probe and push with curiosity that borders on skepticism, making sure their questions are answered with action.
  7. Leaders inspire risk taking and learning y setting the example.
  8. Leaders celebrate.

leaders must exude positive energy…

You know the old saying,” the fish rots from the head.” It’s mainly used to refer to how politics and corruption filter down into an organisation, ut it could just as easily be used to describe the effect of a ad attitude at the top of any team, large or small. Eventually, everyone’s infected.

hiring principle of jack welch…

  • 4 acid tests: Integrity, Intelligence, Maturity
  • 4Es: Positive Energy, Ability to Energise others, Edge and the courage to make tough yes or no decisions, Execute and the ability to get the job done.
  • P: Passion

Some principles for hiring for the top…

  • The first characteristics is authenticity.
  • The second characteristics is the ability to see around the corners.
  • The 3rd characteristics is a strong penchant to surround themselves with people better and smarter than they are.
  • The 4th characteristics is the heavy-duty resilience.

To manage people well, companies should:

  1. Elevate HR to a position of power and primacy in the organisation, and make sure HR people have the special qualities to help managers build leaders and careers. In fact, the est HR types are pastors and parents in the same package.
  2. use a rigorous, non-bureaucratic evaluation system, monitored for integrity with the same intensity.
  3. Create effective mechanisms - read: money, recognition and training - to motivate and retain.
  4. Face straight into charged relationships - with union, stars, sliders and disrupters
  5. Fight gravity, and instead of taking the middle 70 percent for granted, treat them like the heart and soul of the organisation
  6. Design the org chart to be as flat as possible with blindingly clear reporting relationships and responsibilities

on evaluation systems…

It should be clear and simple, washed clean of time-consuming bureaucracy It should measure people on relevant agreed upon criteria that relate directly to an individual’s performance It should ensure that managers evaluate their people at least once a year, and preferaly twice, in formal, face-to-face sessions Finally, a good evaluation system should include a professional development component

embracing change…

  1. Attach every change initiative to a clear purpose or goal. Change for change’s sake is stupid and enervating
  2. Hire and promote only true believers and get-on-with-it type
  3. Ferret our and get rid of resisters, even if their performance is satisfactory.
  4. Look at car wrecks: turn disasters into opportunities like bankruptcies, financial crisis.

5 assumptions to keep in mind when a crisis occurs:

  1. The problem is worse than it appears
  2. There are no secrets in the world, and everyone will eventually find out everything
  3. you and your organisation’s handling of crisis will be portrayed in the worst possible light
  4. There will be changes in processes and people. Almost no crisis ends without blood on the floor
  5. The organisation will survive, ultimately stronger for what happened

Managing competition…

First come up with a big aha for your business - a smart, realistic, relatively fast way to gain sustainable competitive advantage. Second, put the right people in the right jobs to drive the big aha forward Third, relentlessly seek out the best practices to achieve your ig aha, whether inside or out, adapt them, and continually improve them.

What the players field look like now?

  • Who are the competitors in this business, large and small, new and old?
  • Who has what share globally and in each market? Where do we fit in?
  • What are the characteristics of this business? Is it commodity or high value or somewhere in between? Is it long cycle or short? Where is it on the growth curve? What are the drivers of profitability?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor? How good are their products? How much does each one spend on R&D? How big is each sales force? How performance-driven is each culture?
  • Who are this business’ main customers, and how do they buy?

Career lusts…

Career lusts looks different. it shows itself in tearing down the people around you, insulting or disparaging them in order to make your own candle burn brighter, as the old saying does. It’s covering up your mistakes or (worse) trying to lame them on someone else. It’s hogging meetings, taking disproportionate credit for team’s success, and gossiping incessantly about people and events in the office. It’s seeing the company’s org chart as a chessboard, and making an open display of watching the pieces move.

the dos…

  • manage your relationships with your subordinates with the same carefulness that you manage the one with your boss
  • get on the radar screen by being an early champion of your company’s major projects or initiatives
  • search out and relish the inputs of lots of mentors, realising that mentors don’t always look like mentors
  • have a positive attitude and spread it around

How to deal with different types of bosses…

  1. Good values/good performance: great!
  2. Bad values/bad performance:have to go, the sooner the better
  3. Good values/bad performance: they believe in the company’s values and practice them in earnest, but they just cannot get the results.
  4. Bad values/good performance: most bad bosses are here! They are the most difficult to deal with and they often hang around for a long time, despite their awful behaviour because of their good results