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Jack Welch’s lessons for leading, building and winning

Twenty years ago you couldn’t pick up a business periodical without seeing Jack Welch, former CEO of GE, on the cover, in a quote, or being featured in some way.
Jack Welch

Though he’s been retired from GE since 2004, he’s hasn’t really been retired. He maintains a busy schedule of writing, speaking and consulting engagements.

He was in Kansas City recently to talk about his latest book “The Real-Life MBA” and I had the chance to see him in action as he addressed employees and customers at Country Club Bank.

Now, nearly 80, Welch seems a bit mellower, but the flash in his eyes and fire in his belly are still there. His insights and opinions are delivered quickly and forcefully, here are a few:

What To Measure? 

“If I had to run a company on three measures, those measures would be customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and cash flow.”

Build Confidence To Drive Simplicity and Performance 

“If you’re not simple, you can’t be fast. And, if you’re not fast, you’re dead. So, everything we did (at GE) focused on building self-confidence in people so they could be simple – and successful.”

Set Your People Free

“You’ve got to balance freedom with some control, but you’ve got to have more freedom than you’ve ever dreamed of.”

Shout When You Win

“People feel guilty about stopping to celebrate a little victory … but it lets people know they’ve won. It’s so critical to an institution. It brings it alive, gives it character.”

Numbers Don’t Inspire, Vision Does 

“Numbers aren’t the vision. Numbers are the product. I never talk about numbers.”

Make People Share Good Ideas 

“What makes a company flourish is transferring ideas.” At quarterly meetings, Welch insisted that GE bring together the leaders of all of its businesses to share best practice ideas. “We take the best of diversity and use it,” said Welch.

Meet Customers More Often 

Welch made a point of personally meeting GE’s major customers in the spring and fall of every year. What he learned drove major company initiatives.

Don’t Dither. Jump!

“I’ve learned in a hundred ways that I rarely regretted acting but often regretted NOT acting fast enough.”
Have a great week.

Kindest regards,

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