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Jack Welch Fires an Ineffective Business Architect




25 Lessons from Jack Welch

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25 Lessons from Jack Welch

Robert Slater, the author of Jack Welch and the GE Way, writes that in 1987 Jack Welch, the legendary former CEO of GE, 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.

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Jack Welch hoped that meeting would lead to improved performance.

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 get some vision.

Articulate Your Vision

To get some enthusiasm for his work and re-energize his employees.

Energize Others

Finally, Welch had a proposal for the perplexed manager.

"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."

Make a Difference!

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.