Jack Welch, Straight from the Gut (2001)
American business leader and management writer (pictured right).
The book is his account of his highly successful reign as the boss of the American company, General
Electric from 1981 to 2001.
Time magazine’s manager of the twentieth century
Jack Welch in the Business Leaders section.
How to be successful in business
1. Great leadership
The best leaders are:
- energetic, inspirational and self-confident.
- unafraid to express their opinions.
- determined (Welch overcame a stammer).
- effective (achieving short and long term
visionary and challenging aims)
2. Minimizing layers of management
This is necessary to:
- speed up decision making.
- reduce bureaucracy.
3. Constructive conflict
Open and honest debate.
4. Being in businesses that are either number one or two in the
If they aren’t, “fix, sell or close them”.
5. Facing reality
- be truthful about the position you’re in.
6. Tough love
A mixture of:
a) tough mindedness
This is needed to:
- maximize people’s performance.
- fire/castigate people, when necessary.
Treating people well (to attract, motivate and
keep the best talent).
7. Dealing with paradox
For example, balancing:
- short and long term objectives.
- toughness and sensitivity (see point 6).
8. Customer satisfaction
Convincing employees that job security is impossible without happy customers.
9. Constant change
To increase customer satisfaction by constantly:
- improving people, products, policies and processes (like production)
10. Boundaryless organization
Breaking down barriers between different functions, so that they co-operate to maximize customer
11. Work-Out sessions
40-100 employees meeting together to find solutions to a management
problem without their managers, who then have to implement them.
12. Creativity and innovation
- rejecting the view that only ideas invented by the company are OK (the “Not Invented
13. Quality and continuous improvement
- “Finding a Better Way Every Day” (which became a company-wide slogan).
- introducing Six Sigma (3.4 defects per million parts).
14. Corporate culture
Inspiring employees through shared corporate values based on:
- inspirational leadership.
15. Cost efficiency
Minimizing costs through strict financial controls.
16. Empower and motivate people
- reward excellent performance.
- involve people in decision making
Key quotes on business success
It’s all about performance.
No business was a safe haven for employment unless it was winning in the marketplace
Key quote on human resource management
Treat people with dignity and give them a voice.