21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Welch's approach and principles to business
Jack Welch was General Electric Chairman & CEO from 1981 to 2001 and is seen as one of the greatest business leaders of the 20st Century. Since his retirement in 2001 he has been travelling the world and spreaking to thousands of people during and following the promotional tour of his autobiography "Jack: Straight from the Gut" (2001). In this book he attempts to answer...
Published on 18 May 2005 by Gerard Kroese
3.0 out of 5 stars Aimed towards middle managers
I would have liked to rate this book higher, but I felt that it was aimed specifically at middle managers. There were some shockingly truthful chapters, particularly about firing people, which I admired the author for including. However, I am not in that position in career at the moment, and hoped it would help and inspire me to grow for the immediate future. There...
Published 11 months ago by Steez
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jack Welch's approach and principles to business,
This review is from: Winning (Hardcover)
Jack Welch was General Electric Chairman & CEO from 1981 to 2001 and is seen as one of the greatest business leaders of the 20st Century. Since his retirement in 2001 he has been travelling the world and spreaking to thousands of people during and following the promotional tour of his autobiography "Jack: Straight from the Gut" (2001). In this book he attempts to answer the questions which were asked during that tour. The book is split up in four parts, plus an introduction and a concluding chapter.
In the first part - Underneath It All - Welch lays out the substructure of principles to his approach to business. "... the four principles are about the importance of a strong mission and concrete values; the absolute necessity of candor in every aspect of management; the power of differentiation, meaning a system based on meritocracy; and the value of each individual receiving voice and dignity." Each principle is discussed in a separate chapter. In particular his discussions on the subject of candor is enlightening and should be an important lesson to all organizations and industries.
Part II - Your Company - discusses the mechanics of organizations. In the six chapters of this part Welch discusses leadership, hiring, people management, parting ways, change, crisis management.
In Part III - Your Competition - which describes the world outside your organization. The five chapters discuss the creation of strategic advantages, meaningful budget and target setting, growth through mergers and acquisitions, and a discussion on Six Sigma.
Part IV - Your Career - discusses managing the arc and the quality of your professional life. Welch discusses finding the right job (from first job through to the right job at any point in your career), getting promoted, and working for a bad boss. In the final chapter he discusses work-life balance whereby he explains what bosses think about the matter.
The last chapter discusses issues that he was unable to fit into the four parts. He answers 9 questions that he was asked during his tour. They range from questions about his golf game (Welch has stopped playing after 60 years in the game), AIDS through to whether Welch thinks he will go to heaven ("Now, that was a question that stopped me!")
Yes, I do like this book. It is a lot different to his autobiography although he uses some of the same examples. It is straight to the point and the advice is implementable and realistic. It follows a good layout and has some good checklists. There are fantastic one-liners in each and every chapter, but there is not enough room to put them all down in this review. It is not a traditional management book as such since the writing style is a lot different (which is not necessarily a bad thing) and very practical. Highly recommended.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Win in Big Business,
This review is from: Winning: The Ultimate Business How-To Book (Hardcover)
I found this quite an interesting book to read because of its honesty. Jacks methodology is really survival of the fittest. Whether morally it is a good thing or not is questionable but its necessary in business in order to survive.
The book is very readable compared to other business books.
Its written in very conversationable style.
He is often very blaise about people who got fired or moved on.
It always seems to be the best thing that happened to them. They always found their niche somewhere else.
In reality I think that is not often the case. Getting fired is not always easy to recover from and the financial strain it brings can destroy relationships and homes. But this is not the concern of the CEO . His focus is the shareholder and maintaining the stock value.
Here the book is very clear. There is no room for sentimentality. No room for loyalty, nostalgia or tradition. If its not working shut it down or sell it. If someone is not performing and is in the bottom 10% don't waste your time in trying them to work better or harder, just get rid of them.
I don't think I would be cut out to be a CEO but its good to get an insight of a successful one. He is far more honest that most writers about similar business issues.
If you really want to be a successful CEO this book provides guidance in the type of character you need to be.
It may not get you to heaven but it will keep you in the Fortune 500.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight to the point and very approachable,
If you're looking for a book on leadership that tells things as they are, without tons of fancy formulas or advice that is hard to apply in the real world, then this book is for you.
Leadership is an art more than a science, but there are some universal simple rules that anybody can follow in order to be a better leader, and this book covers them all in a very comprehensive, yet succint and specific way.
You might not agree with all of Jack's ideas (I certainly don't), but that is what leadership books are for: generate discussion rather than claim to be "the truth". Use what you think is valuable, and discard the rest. Whatever you do, this book gives practical advice, and I see a lot of value in that.
Particularly good are the chapters on Career Management, which are not always covered (or not covered well) in leadership books and yet are an esential element in the success of any leader. Books like "What color is your parachute" are more comprehensive, of course, but "Winning" has some down-to-earth advice in this area that I found very useful.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hard man to like,
There is quite lot to dislike about Jack Welch. Take 'winning' itself. Winning, says Jack, is what it's all about: 'I think winning is great. Not good - great!' Gosh. Maybe it's an English thing - we all know we have to win (who wants to be a loser?) but we Brits tend to talk about 'success' rather than 'winning'; we want to succeed, but we don't have to grind the other guy or gal's face into the dust. Then there's Jack's work compulsion. `From my earliest days I used to show up at the office Saturday mornings. Not coincidentally, my direct reports showed up too. Personally, I thought these weekend hours were a blast'. One wonders if Jack's direct reports thought that working Saturdays was a real blast too. Jack's idea of a good work-life balance was to go home occasionally. And then he went out to play golf.
So what is there to be impressed about in terms of Jack's approach? Well, a lot. Like it or not, people as driven by business success as is Jack Welch tend to rise to the top, for obvious reasons. And what is there to actually like about Jack? Infuriatingly, he is right about a lot of things.
Take the work-life balance (obviously not Jack's strong point).`Work wants 150 percent of you, and so does home,' says Jack. Only you, says Jack, can decide what accommodations you are prepared to make to achieve the right balance for your own circumstances and ambitions. In the meantime, what will make your boss consider giving you a bit of leeway that would improve your personal life? An absolutely outstanding performance at work.
In the same way, Jack is scary about his firm belief in `Differentiation'. Just as he classified GE businesses as `Fix, Sell or Close', so the people in his management teams were rigorously sorted into the top 20%, the middle 70% and the bottom 10%. The bottom 10% had to go. If management couldn't actually identify anybody who should leave the company, Jack fired the managers.
All managers carry out this kind of assesment, but generally in a far more private way, sharing the conclusions with a few other top managers and acting on them in relatively subtle ways - a promotion here; an easing out of the door there. With Welch, Differentiation was public policy. Everyone's card was marked; the people whose cards were at the top of the pile got big rewards. The ones at the bottom of the pile were heading for the exit, regardless of circumstance or potential. The process was repeated every year without fail.
Welch is more recognisably right about`Candour' - the need to get straight to the heart of what will genuinely lead to success in business, even if it's uncomfortable for the participants.
Reading 'Winning' may make you wince occasionally (or all the way through, as in my case), but it also challenges managers to look searchingly at themselves and at their business, and to think about what really makes a winning difference.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Upbeat business guidance,
This review is from: Winning (Hardcover)
Jack Welch, former General Electric CEO and chairman, is a legendary corporate mentor. Fortunately for readers, this book (which he wrote with Suzy Welch, his wife) provides a top-tier mentoring session. The book is well paced with a mix of you-are-here details and stories by one of corporate America's savviest minds. Welch is honest about his mistakes and his successes. The book's only shortcoming is the chapter on family-work balance, an area where Welch admits his weaknesses. Otherwise, his corporate policy discussions score an abundance of points. We highly recommend this book to senior executives and up-and-coming managers alike.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One-on-one with Jack Welch,
Pretend that you have written a letter to Jack Welch, asking him to share what he has learned throughout his career thus far, especially what he has learned about "winning" in the business world. To your surprise and delight, he responds...inviting you to spend a long weekend with him on Nantucket, during which you will have his undivided attention. He anticipates almost all of your questions and has carefully prepared to answer them, fully and honestly. What we have in this volume is probably what Welch would share with you if given the opportunity.
How best to describe Winning? It is not an autobiography. It offers memoirs but only to the extent Welch draws upon his life and career to establish a context within which to pose a question, offer an example, make a key point, etc. Unlike so many other business books allegedly written by celebrity CEOs (but which were in fact primarily crafted by ghostwriters), this book is a refreshing exception. There is no doubt in my mind that Welch wrote it. Of course, along the way, he would have been a fool not to have obtained feedback from his wife, Suzy, given her own distinguished career. She is widely renowned for her talents, both as an editor and as a business thinker in her own right. But this is definitely Welch's book.
Much of what Winning offers is, of course, relevant to business but its greater value, for me, is derived from the personal relationship which Welch immediately establishes and then sustains with his reader. Oh sure, he shares generously of what he learned during a 40-year association with G.E. Those reminiscences are both informative and entertaining. However, as Welch points out, he learned almost as much about business after he retired as CEO as he did when he worked there. Since then, "I have been asked literally thousands of questions. But most of them come down to this: [begin italics] What does it take to win?" [end italics] His thoughtful and eloquent response to that question gives form and direction to this book.
To his credit, Welch never hesitates to acknowledge his poor decisions, his deficiencies as a corporate leader and manager, and his disappointments during what has been an otherwise extraordinarily successful business career. What also comes through loud and clear are his obsession with achieving superior performance (especially his own), his delight in taking on formidable challenges, his passion for "winning," whatever the competition may be, and his appreciation of each new day as well as the new opportunities which it offers. Also obvious is that he possesses what Hemingway once described as a "built-in, shock-proof crap detector."
What a privilege and pleasure it would be to spend that hypothetical long weekend with Welch. Presumably those who have done so would agree that reading this book gives at least some indication of what would be revealed during a series of one-on-one conversations with him. I disagree with Warren Buffett's claim that "No other management book will ever be needed." (Will all due respect to his friend, perhaps Welch also does.) However, I think Winning offers a wealth of sound, practical, at times unorthodox advice about leadership and management. For executives who aspire to be "winners," this is a must read.
I also highly recommend the unabridged audio set (11 hours on 9 CDs) during which Welch reads from this book. The set includes a lively as well as informative interview of him by Jane Friedman, president and CEO of HarperCollins.
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the time to read,
I Loved this book. Highly inspirational read. I will definitely be using this as my manual in the next year.
4.0 out of 5 stars The voice of experience,
This review is from: Winning: The Ultimate Business How-To Book (Kindle Edition)
When I studied Business at university, I read many academic books that advocate complicated theoretical models and theories but have limited practical applicability. This book is the opposite. It is hands-on advice from someone who used to be one of the best CEOs in the world. It is immediately applicable in everyday business life. The title is perhaps a bit cringe-worthy but that's easy to get over.
I thought his other book 'Straight from the gut' is even more impressive.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book,
This book covers off everything you need to know about how to run a great business. I've already implemented some changes in my own business after reading this book. They're working wonders and we're growing more swiftly than we ever have before.
2.0 out of 5 stars ok,
This review is from: Winning Intl (Mass Market Paperback)
Got this on a recommendation. It's a good motivation book, if you want to take over the world. but that's about it.
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Winning Intl by Jack Welch (Mass Market Paperback - Feb 2007)