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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A view of corporate America from the inside, 4 Jan. 2003
This review is from: Jack: What I've Learned Leading a Great Company and Great People (Hardcover)
In the Cult of the CEO, Jack Welch is a High Priest. This book reveals how he rose within GE and subsequently transformed it.
At its core, his GE seemed to revolve around his annual management get togethers at the Boca Raton resort, golf and keeping Wall Street happy. He undoubtedly did the latter very well.
What I found most interesting was the approach to performance management that evolved under his stewardship and GE's management education at Crotonville.
His requirement for managers to lose 10% of their people every year through the performance appraisal process is often mis-quoted. They didn't automatically get fired. They were often redeployed elsewhere in GE (although I suspect the 'bottom 10%' badge was something they couldn't shake off easily).
GE's performance management process does have some valuable lessons for us all:
1) It was so thorough and permeated the whole organisation - not just an annual form filling exercise. Managers really did manage the performance of their people day-to-day.
2) The relentless focus on top performers and developing talent. Managers didn't get sucked into squandering time on the 'problem child' in their team - largely because everyone knew where he or she was headed. They worked hard to create development opportunities for their top performers and (eventually) saw the benefit in developing others to move them on in the organisation.
Equally, Welch's involvement in Crotonville (GE's Management Development centre) sends a powerful message. An organisation's best people need to see, hear and be close to top management. To stay motivated they need to know that the top people want to spend time with them and see them develop, even if they're just starting out on their management career.
Other than that, the book is a middle of the road autobiography of a top business leader.
Buy it if you want great reference material on performance management, Six Sigma or how to turn a big bricks and mortar company into an e-business player.
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Location: Stirling, Scotland.

Top Reviewer Ranking: 65,127