While the world of business is changing at a rapid pace, thanks to globalisation and digitalisation, the fundamentals of leadership remain relevant. Let’s take a look at some evergreen business lessons from former CEO and Chairman of GE Jack Welch who is widely regarded as one of the most successful business leaders of the last century.
During his 20 years at the company, Welch was given several leadership awards and was also named by Fortune magazine in 1999 as the “Manager of the Century”. When Welch was appointed as the CEO in 1981, GE’s market capitalisation was $13-billion and when he retired in 2001, the company’s market capitalisation was R500-billion.
In 2005, Welch wrote a New York Times best-selling book, Winning, about the lessons he had learned in his role at the helm of GE.
The book focuses a great deal on the importance of winning at every level and particularly with regards to creating a winning team. Welch believes leaders should invest the vast majority of their time and energy into relentlessly upgrading their team, taking all opportunities to evaluate, coach and improve performance.
Welch was also well-known for changing the way departments work and for effecting profound cultural changes at GE. “To be vital, an organisation has to repot itself, start again, get new ideas, renew itself,” said Welch.
These are 10 of Welch’s top business lessons:
- Stay focused, be consistent and always follow-up on everything.
- Change is good. Embrace it in everything from competition to market conditions and consumer spend.
- Lead, don’t manage.
- Don’t ignore the facts of your business and the general market. Either take advantage of them or protect yourself from their negative effects.
- Get good ideas from everywhere.
- Get rid of bureaucracy and eliminate boundaries.
- Create a learning culture and involve everyone.
- Instil confidence while making business fun.
- See change as an opportunity.
- Make everybody a team player and put values first.