Sunday, September 22, 2019

Life-Based Leadership Principles from Jack Welch Essay Example for Free

Life-Based Leadership Principles from Jack Welch Essay During the hundreds of millions of years of natural evolution on this planet, survival has always been a continuous challenge for living creatures. It has recently to come into light that in the past four million years, there have been scores of human species on the earth, besides us homo sapiens. However, all of these various human-like beings including the Neanderthal man perished in the course of evolution; we humans have outlived all of them. We have emerged as the true survivors. We are the last â€Å"man† standing. However, in the whole history of the world, survival could have never been as tough as it is in today’s world of big business. It is an ever-changing, dizzingly fast-paced, intensely competitive and danger-saturated environment out there. There are many survivors and many winners in this arena, of course. Of all such exceptional people in the recent decades, there is one man who stands out as a celebrated icon of leadership and business success. And it is none other than Jack Welch of GE, arguably the finest CEO in the latter half of the twentieth century. Speaking from a broad perspective, he is not just an exemplary business leader, but a hero, a survivor, a symbol of the triumph of man. Jack Welch is a man who believed that each individual should control his or her own destiny. Welch sums up his conviction thus: â€Å"Today, I see winning as people defining their objectives and fulfilling them, not being a victim. You define where you want to go, and then you go for it ([emailprotected]) And from the depth of this belief perhaps sprang the secret of his greatness. Starting from the early Eighties, Jack Welch, CEO of the General Electric Corporation, has led his company through one of the most revolutionary and far-reaching changes ever witnessed in modern business history. Having taken GE with a market capitalization of about $12 billion, Jack Welch turned it into one of the largest and most admired companies in the world, with a market value of about $500 billion, when he stepped down as its CEO 20 years later, in 2000. Although Jack Welch was the legendary leader of a global manufacturing giant noted for its technological might and superiority, he has utilized a very human process to drive change through GEs vast organization. He honoured the individual above all, and the humanity of the individual. To him, the individual was the pivotal force in bringing about organizational change. And for the major part of his immensely successful career at the helm of GE he relentlessly embraced change. It was change that made GE businesses leaders in their markets, added profitable, productive businesses to GEs family, and tapped the brains of knowledgeable employees. Welch worked for change, and change worked for him. Jack Welch of course knew how difficult change could be. Nevertheless he viewed change as his only real chance to transform GE into the kind of top-notch competitive enterprise that he wanted it to be. Only through continuously undergoing massive changes, GE could win, and Jack Welch firmly believed in winning. He wanted to be a winner. And winners were not afraid to make changes. However, pursuit of change, empowerment of individuals, and such principles are only part of a broder human-centric principles of successful leadership in which Jack Welch passionately believed in. Welch’s original approach to management and leadership, which proved so successful in transforming GE could be summed up unders six heads: Control your destiny, or someone else will. Welchs first maxim became the title of a semi-autobiographic bestseller that described the revolution at GE. The basic approach that Welch followed to carry out a dramatic revolution at GE was to trust the individual and let him or her believe in their own desitiny. Welsh believed in delegating authority freely, fairly and responsibly, within the company. In a general context, however, while no mere human being can have absolute control over his or her destiny, the point is to take total personal responsibility for one’s own life and actions, and assume intelligent control of the course of things. 2. Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it were. Facing reality is tough. Facing reality means looking directly into suffering, failure, inadequacy of ourselves, others, and the world, something which we human beings are programmed to avoid. When corporations do not face simple realities, however, such as their products costing more to produce and being worthless than those of their competitors, market share and profits drop, the company and its employees suffer. Welch saw all these things happening at GE. Only when we are ready to honestly examine ourselves and acknowledge our shortcomings, will we be able to do anything about them. Acceptance can lead to transformation. 3. Be candid with everyone. Traditional wisdom says that honesty is the best policy. This home-spun truth has great relevance in today’s hyper-modern corporate settings. Welch strove to create an atmosphere at GE where people could effortlessly speak up to somebody in authority, who could then do something about their problems. It is an atmosphere, it is in the air of GE. Welch himself regularly spoke with front-line employees on the plant floor. Welch was equally open to hear both the good and bad things about GE. Honesty, sincerity and candor: they have their own rewards. In a bureaucracy, people are afraid to speak out. This type of environment slows you down, and it doesnt improve the workplace, says Jack Welch. He therefore calls for promoting a corporate culture that appreciates and rewards honest feedback. You reinforce the behaviors that you reward. If you reward candor, youll get it. 4. Dont manage, lead. Welch abhorred a strictly hierarchical type of management built on the concept of control. To Welch, managers should become leaders who show the way to other people by inpsiring and motivating them. Instead of controlling and exploiting workers, leaders should liberate and empower them. Do not push and pull your employees at every opportunity, gently guide them towards greater possibility. Welch’s leadership philosophy continues to be very simple: empower others, ask questions, tap into the potential of all of your associates, choose integrity and candor over charts, graphs, and politics, and spend more time in action instead of planning and posturing budgets. 5. Change before you have to. That is to say, proactivity. One has to be able to look ahead and predict changes that future is going to necessitate. In the context of a business organization, it is far better to change early those things in a company that need to be changed to stay competitive, when there is still plenty of time, rather than forcibly having to change them later when an adverse reality in form of failure and loss thrusts itself in the face of the organization. Welch was fond of yelling across the table at meetings, Change, before its too late! 6. If you dont have a competitive advantage, dont compete. Welch often quoted his business maxim that every division at GE had to be number one or number two or get out of that specific business. In the 1980s, Welch was convinced that inflation would soon become rampant thereby slowing down economic growth. The elimination of the old-line businesses was not going to be an easy job in terms of loss of jobs and lowering of morale that it implied. But Welch had to do what he had to do. The Number 1 or number 2 philosophy – as ruthless as it sounds – had been critical for GE to grow and survive in the modern world.

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