from Jack Welch
Robert Slater, the author of
Jack Welch and the GE Way, writes
that in 1987
the legendary former
requested a meeting with the head of a particular GE business.
The business had produced profits, but it certainly was not
setting any records, and Welch had a strong feeling that it
could do much better.
9 Signs of a
Jack Welch hoped that meeting would lead to improved
But his message was lost on the
manager. He had no idea what Welch wanted. "Well, help me
with that," he pleaded. "Look at my earnings. Look at my return
on investment. All the things I'm doing, all the people I've
taken on. What the hell do you want me to do?"
"I don't know," Welch told him in
all honesty. "I just know your business could be doing better."
Welch wanted the man to
To get some enthusiasm for his work and
Finally, Welch had a proposal for the perplexed
"What I'd like you to do is take a
month off and just go away. When you come back, act as if you
were just assigned to the business and you hadn't been running
it for four years. Just come in brand new, hold all the reviews,
and start slicing everything in a different way."
The man still didn't get it. He did
not understand that Welch wanted him to rewrite his agenda, take
a new look at the business plan, and see things with a fresh
eye. The CEO of GE didn't think that was asking too much of the
man. But the junior executive was clueless. He didn't get
Welch's insistence that he become excited about his work, and
that he figure out how to energize his troops.
Six months later the executive no
longer worked for GE.