Jack Welch is one of those names in the corporate world that’s synonymous with transformation and enduring leadership. He led General Electric (GE) as chairman and CEO for two decades (1981 – 2001). Prior to joining GE in 1960 as a junior chemical engineer, he had ventured into jobs like golf caddy, newspaper salesboy, footwear salesman and drill press operator. He believes that an organization should either be No 1 or No 2 in the market where it competes or else leave it completely. At GE, he was widely recognized for his ability to teach and train leaders. Today, more than two scores of CEOs in top organizations were trained by Jack Welch.
“An organization should either be No. 1 or No. 2 in the market where it competes or else leave it completely.”
Under Jack’s leadership, GE grew tremendously both in acquisitions and in market value. He also promoted a company culture he called ‘boundaryless company’ by removing barriers between traditional functions. When asked the following questions, he responded;
What makes a good manager?*
I prefer the term “business leader.” Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion. Above all else, though, good leaders are open. They go up, down, and around their organization to reach people. They don’t stick to the established channels. They’re informal. They’re straight with people. They make a religion out of being accessible. They never get bored telling their story.
What makes an effective organization?*
For a large organization to be effective, it must be simple. For a large organization to be simple, its people must have self-confidence and intellectual self-assurance. Insecure managers create complexity. Frightened, nervous managers use thick, convoluted planning books and busy slides filled with everything they’ve known since childhood. Real leaders don’t need clutter. People must have the self-confidence to be clear, precise, to be sure that every person in their organization—highest to lowest—understands what the business is trying to achieve. But it’s not easy. You can’t believe how hard it is for people to be simple, how much they fear being simple. They worry that if they’re simple, people will think they’re simpleminded. In reality, of course, it’s just the reverse. Clear, tough-minded people are the most simple.
Post retirement from GE, Jack spends his time authoring books, mentoring CEOs and young leaders. The leadership lessons from Jack Welch can be summarized in the statement; Be open and simple! Check the video below for more on this.
JACK WELCH ON MANAGEMENT STYLE
Do You Concur With Jack Welch In This Regard? Let’s Hear Your Opinion In Comments
*Reference: HBR from the sept – oct 1989 issue.
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