WINNING A Book Review by AnupamPrashantMujumdar
In Good To Great, Jim Collins discusses companies' "Hedgehog Ideas," their core, driving business: what can we be the best in the world at, that we love to do? GE posed a particular problem for him. It didn't enter a market where it couldn't be first or second, and nevertheless it was in a tremendous number of different markets.Collins finally decided that GE's core business was developing CEOs, and indeed, GE alumni are all over the country's executive suites.
It's not often that an executive of Jack Welch's caliber shares his insight into management and management philosophy. As the former chief executive officer of General Electric, Jack Welch is rated as one of the outstanding contemporary corporate leaders.When he speaks, anyone who wants to learn to run an operation more effectively should pay attention.
Jack Welch knows how to win. During his forty-year career at General Electric, he led the company to year-after-year success around the globe, in multiple markets, against brutal competition. His honest, be-the-best styleof management became the gold standard in business, with his relentless focus on people, teamwork, and profits.
Since Welch retired in 2001 as chairman and chief executive officer of GE, he has traveled the world, speaking to more than 250,000 people and answering their questions on dozens of wide-ranging topics.
Inspired by his audiences and their hunger for straightforward guidance, Welch has written both a philosophical and pragmatic book, which is destined to become the bible of business for generations to come. It clearly lays out the answers to the most difficult questions people face both on and off the job.
Welch's objective is to speak to people at every level of an organization, in companies large and small. His audience is everyone from line workers to MBAs, from project managers to senior executives.His goal is to help everyone who has a passion for success.
I was interested to learn that Jack Welch's education background wasn't in business. He has a doctorate in physics. He is the outstanding example of General Electric's management development program.
Welch starts out by explaining what a mission statement is. Instead of platitudes about quality and service, Welch believes an effective mission statement should answer one question, "How do we intend to win in this business?" For example, the mission statement at GE from 1981 through 1995 said it was going to be "the most competitive enterprise in the world" by being No. 1 or No. 2 in every market. The mission statement guided the corporation's management to fix, sell or close every underperforming business that didn't meet the corporate requirements.
Once the mission is established, a company should define its values. The corporate values are behaviors, how the mission is to be carried out to win.
Welch emphasizes the importance of candor - open communication - to business success. When an organization has a high degree of candor, everything operates faster and better. In some organizations, people are afraid to communicate straightforwardly or put forth ideas that stimulate real debate. Presenting new ideas or criticism of practices with candor brings issues to the forefront so they can be dealt with much more quickly.
The more controversial comments in this book may relate to differentiation and managing people. According to Welch, managers should assess their employees and separate them into three categories of performance: the top 20%, middle 70% and bottom 10%, then act on the distinction. The top 20% should be treated as stars, rewarded and nurtured. Management of the middle 70% should focus on training, positive feedback and thoughtful goal setting, including identifying people with potential to move up and cultivating them.The bottom 10% has to go. Welch sees terminating these people as a humane action that may free these employees to pursue successful careers at companies and in pursuits where they truly belong and at which they excel.
Welch's optimistic, no excuses, get-it-done mind-set is riveting. Packed with personal anecdotes and written in Jack's distinctive no bull-shit voice, Winning offers deep insights, original thinking, and solutions to nuts-and-bolts problems that will change the way people think about work.
This is just a sample of Welch's corporate wisdom. The book is oriented to big organizations, but there is information here that can be translated and adapted by entrepreneurs and smaller companies. Welch includes questions of his philosophy with responses. If you are concerned with running an organization more effectively, you will want to read and study Winning.
Presented By AnupamMujumdar ArpitJain AbhinavNegi Ishita Singh