The greatest influence in my life has been Jack Welch, the CEO of General Electric –GE. His groundbreaking ideals on leadership and change management have been not only been accepted as the Bible of human resource development, but also help person to emerge as a completely changed person. He has authored several books which are best sellers for a considerable period of time like Straight from the Gut. His campaigning of Six Sigma quality and his distinctive philosophy and an operating system which relies on a sharing of ideas, a deep people-centric focus, and an casual give-and-take style.
It was Jack Welch’s mother who helped him shape his life and the high and lows which exemplified his career. Beginning his illustrious career at GE during 1960 as an Engineer drawing $10,500, Jack understood the urgency for getting out of the ordinary when his first salary hike was same as others. He remained out of the corporate bureaucracy while managing $2 billion conglomerate of GE business out of Hilton in Pittsfield. (Straight From the Gut) It is very crucial that one should embrace change and not fear it since change occurs at a very faster rate than one can react to it.
A lot of people believe that status quo is the best strategy since it is safest. Jack Welch, the tomorrow driven leader announced that it was foolishness to fear change. He loved change, maintaining that change keeps everyone alert and drives everybody to work. Change is a large part of the truth of the any environment which is new competitors, new products. Ignoring that reality will make a person to doom. In his capacity as the CEO, not fearing change, Welch constantly reinvented GE. From Welch’s teaching one learns that one has to constantly evolve through various tools and methods while keeping the goal same which is non-stop growth.
He always told his employees to begin each day as it were your first day on the job and contribute whatever changes are needed in order to improve things. It has been a good learning thing that one has to reexamine one’s agenda constantly and rewrite it is there is any need for it. This keeps one from again getting back to the old habits. In the workplace, sometimes it is important to take decision yourselves. In case one is confident that he is right regarding something, one should urge change upon his boss. (Welch, Jack; Slater, 37)
It is from Jack Welch I learnt that one is never too old to learn something new or to appreciate the fact that no one person holds all the answers to everything. Always there exists a better path. For instance we can imagine enjoying a great dinner party with nine intelligent guests each having excellence in his chosen field. One can imagine that how better everybody at the dinner would be, when a better way to communicate the best ideas into every guest at the table is there. This is known as boundaryless behavior. Each one can learn something new, something better from someone else. Q&A with Jack) Jack Welch’s leadership is something unique. According to him the foundations of leadership starts during childhood and are strengthened by number of experiences which build self confidence. I have been influenced by his teachings that a fine line exists between self-confidence and arrogance. One should not be arrogant as it can be a killer. The difference between self-confidence and arrogance is the courage to be frank. One has to welcome change and new ideas in spite of its source. Still with all the self-confidence in the world, the spirit of leadership emanates from inside.
I have learnt that one basic tenet is that being passionate about what one does. It is one characteristic that is common for all winners alike, it is that they give extra care compared to anybody else. It is true that no detail is too small to sweat or too large to dream. It never implies that one does not have to be loud or flamboyant. Passion is what one does something that urges one to perform which comes from deep inside. When passion is combined with self-confidence and integrity, it is winning combination no matter what on does or where one works. (Q&A with Jack)
It is great to learn that leaders inspire. Leaders constitute people who are able to inspire people having a clear vision regarding the manner in which things can be performed in a better manner. In the opinion of Jack Welch, it is the requirement of leaders at every level who are able to energize, excite and inspire instead of controlling people. Since ours is a knowledge driven economy, it is imperative that people are able to make their own decision. Managing less is managing better. It is a great learning experience that nagging supervision, control and bureaucracy mar the competitive spirit among people.
Weak managers are the killers of business, since they are job killers. It is important to note that one cannot manage self-confidence into people. It is also important to articulate one vision regarding the manner in which things can be done better. (25 lessons from Jack Welch) The best leaders are those who come up with new ideas, express a vision which inspires others to act. Besides it is also important to keep things simple. This is because simple messages travel in a much faster manner and the removal of clutter helps in the faster decision making process.
Genuine leadership comes from the quality of one’s vision and one’s potential to urge others to do extraordinary work. Getting employees regarding their work is the answer to being a great leader. It is an open fact that real and limitless productivity comes from a challenged, empowered, excited and rewarded teams of people. A very important influence of Jack Welch is that one has to face reality and act in a decisive manner. Majority of the mistakes which the leaders commit stem from not being ready to face reality and then acting upon it.
Facing reality sometimes means expressing and performing activities which are not popular, but just coming to face reality would imply matters get better. New ideas must come from everywhere. (25 lessons from Jack Welch) The working assumption in the present world is finding someone, somewhere having a better idea and the working compulsion is to determine who possesses a better idea and to learn the same and put it into action in a very speedy manner. It is also crucial to follow-up. Following up is one important determinant of success in case of a business.
One’s follow-up business strategy will show the path for one’s success. A great inspiring thing to be learnt from Jack Welch is putting values first. It is not crucial to focus very much on numbers. This is because numbers are not the vision and they are just the products. It is important to concentrate more on the softer values of building a team, sharing ideas and exciting others. It is also important to cultivate leaders who have within them the four E’s of leadership which are Energy, Energize, Edge, and Execution; leader who shares values of the organization and deliver the commitments. (25 lessons from Jack Welch)