Jack Welch

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Jack Welch, 2012

John Francis "Jack" Welch, Jr. (born November 19, 1935) was Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. During his tenure, GE increased its market capitalization by over $400 billion.


  • At the heart of this culture is an understanding that an organization's ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive business advantage.
    • Jack Welch, in: Robert Slater (1998), Jack Welch & The G.E. Way: Management Insights and Leadership. p. 12
  • Six Sigma has forever changed GE. Everyone—from the Six Sigma zealots emerging from their Black Belt tours, to the engineers, the auditors, and the scientists, to the senior leadership that will take this Company into the new millennium—is a true believer in Six Sigma, the way this Company now works.
    • Jack Welch, cited in: Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman, and Roland R. Cavanagh. The six sigma way. McGraw-Hill,, 2000. p. 4
  • The best Six Sigma projects begin not inside the business but outside it, focused on answering the question—how can we make the customer more competitive? What is critical to the customer’s success?... One thing we have discovered with certainty is that anything we do that makes the customer more successful inevitably results in a financial return for us.
    • ** Jack Welch, as cited in: Peter S. Pande, Robert P. Neuman, and Roland R. Cavanagh. The six sigma way. McGraw-Hill,, 2000. p. 6

Jack: Straight from the Gut (2001)[edit]

  • I enjoy challenging a person's ideas. No one loves a good and passionately fought argument more than I do. This isn't about being tough-minded and straightforward. That's the job. But so is sensing when to hug and when to kick. Of course, arrogant people who refuse to learn from their mistakes have to go. If we're managing good people who are clearly eating themselves up over an error, our job is to help them through it. That doesn't mean you have to take it easy on your top performers.
    • Ch. 3.
  • The best way to support dreams and stretch is to set apart small ideas with big potential, then give people positive role models and the resources to turn small projects into big businesses.
    • Ch. 3.
  • I wanted to change the rules of engagement, asking for more— from fewer. I was insisting that we had to have only the best people...If you wanted excellence, at a minimum, the ambience had to reflect excellence.
    • Ch. 9.
  • In GE every day, there's an informal, unspoken personnel review—in the lunchroom, the hallways, and in every business meeting. That intense people focus—testing everyone in a myriad of environments—defines managing at GE. In the end, that's what GE is. We build great people, who then build great products and services.
    • Ch. 11.
  • In manufacturing, we try to stamp out variance. With people, variance is everything.
    • Ch. 11.
  • Change has no constituency—and a perceived revolution has even less.
    • Ch. 12.
  • There are advantages to being the chairman. One of my favorite perks was picking out an issue and doing what I called a "deep dive." It's spotting a challenge where you think you can make a difference—one that looks like it would be fun—and then throwing the weight of your position behind it. Some might justifiably call it "meddling." I've often done this—just about everywhere in the company.
    • Ch. 14.
  • If you like business, you have to like GE. If you like ideas, you have to love GE. This is a place where ideas can flow freely from and through more than 20 separate businesses and more than 300,000 employees. Boundaryless behavior allows ideas to come from anywhere. We formalize our freewheeling style in a series of operating meetings that blend into one another.
    • Section IV introduction.
  • Being a CEO is the nuts! A whole jumble of thoughts come to mind: Over the top. Wild. Fun. Outrageous. Crazy. Passion. Perpetual motion. The give-and-take. Meetings into the night. Incredible friendships. Fine wine. Celebrations. Great golf courses. Big decisions in the real game. Crises and pressure. Lots of swings. A few home runs. The thrill of winning. The pain of losing. It's as good as it gets! You get paid a lot, but the real payoff is in the fun.
    • Ch. 24.
  • Getting every employee's mind into the game is a huge part of what a CEO job is all about. Taking everyone's best ideas and transferring them to others is the secret. There's nothing more important.
    • Ch. 24.
  • Getting the right people in the right jobs is a lot more important than developing a strategy.
    • Ch. 24.
  • Arrogance is a killer, and wearing ambition on one's sleeve can have the same effect. There is a fine line between arrogance and self-confidence. Legitimate self-confidence is a winner. The true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open—to welcome change and new ideas regardless of their source. Self-confident people aren't afraid to have their views challenged. They relish the intellectual combat that enriches ideas.
    • Ch. 24.
  • Business has to be fun. For too many people, it's "just a job."
    • Ch. 24.
  • Business success is less a function of grandiose predictions than it is a result of being able to respond rapidly to real changes as they occur.
    • Ch. 24.

Quotes about Jack Welch[edit]

  • CEO of General Electric for 30 years, Jack Welch was declared the greatest manager of the 20th century. Focusing firmly on results, he revolutionized management to achieve phenomenal growth for his company.

External links[edit]

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