This book makes management look so straight forward. No theory, only live action from the real world. In his top years at GE Jack probably influenced more managementthinking than most gurus will.

To me his book, much more than ‘’Straight from the gut’’, helps you questioning your own dogmas, worries and successes.

Journalists try to oneliner the GE-methods in the 20-70-10 rule, but to me it is much, much more.

The good thing is, you can also get it on audio CD !

Mark's picture

I agree - simple, straightforward, sharp. I really enjoyed it. Jack gets a bad rap a lot, and in my thinking, that's a mistake. He's not perfect, but I want to be as imperfect as him when it comes to managing and leading others.


Len's picture

I concur. This book really conveys a good understanding of the ways and means Jack Welch employed to achieve his great success. It also aids in understanding why and how he made a lot of very difficult decisions that resulted in an undeserved reputation as the Robespierre of 20th Century business.

Welch's success speaks for itself. I've used his model for assessing individual performance (A, B, and C players) and have been able to apply it in ways that have benefited my organization. Welch was a tough leader, willing to make the hard calls. This book can help you learn how to make those calls yourself, in ways that are wise and beneficial to the organization...if you have the will.

kaspar's picture

Maybe it’s good to share which parts everybody liked most…

My first recognition was with dividing your managers into 4 categories. First axis being good on results, not good on results. Second Axis: managing in GE-style or without the methodology.

Jack advice on the 4 categories:
1 good – good : promote
2 bad – bad : get lost
3 bad on result – good on style : try other assignment, be confident, it must work
4 good on result – bad on style : this shocked me: fire them.
They corrupt the companies’ vision on good management!

AManagerTool's picture

I loved the book. Not so much for the advice that he gives but for the story he tells about leadership and the qualities to look for and posses. BTW, I had the audiobook version. Having Jack read his book to you is definitly worth the extra money.

There is definitly a bias against him. I once quoted somehting that he said about candor to our companies president. He shot back that he should have followed his own advice when he was cheating on his wife. WOW, Where did that come from? A bit defensive? It was like Jack was cheating with this guys wife....DOH!

Anyway, good book! Don't quote it though....

bflynn's picture

Jack advice on the 4 categories:
1 good – good : promote
2 bad – bad : get lost
3 bad on result – good on style : try other assignment, be confident, it must work
4 good on result – bad on style : this shocked me: fire them. [/quote]
#4 is one of the areas where I disagree with Jack. Maybe his answer came across harsher than it was intended, but dismissing the manager is the final step, not the first. Feed them a steady diet of O3s, feedback and coaching. If they cannot work within the culture of the company, then they need to go, but you should give them the opportunity to come within the fold.

Then again, how was a person like this ever hired to begin with, right? (tongue in cheek).


kaspar's picture

Hi Brian,

I think I do agree with you about this. What did touch me was though, in his GE, super hardball, target-focussed US company (I’m from the Netherlands), Jack proclaims the way to the goal is more important to stay in the game and be successful than hitting the targets ‘’the wrong way’’.

Everybody can make short-term results by pressing or threatening your people, by cutting costs or by mono-focus on a small set of targets. The moment I read this part on endorsing management style it really hit me in the hart.

My question is, are there other parts in this book other people like the best …

Mark's picture

[b]The characterization of Jack's position regarding Category 4 folks is incorrect[/b], and is a classic misinterpretation based on a lack of understanding that caused his moniker "Neutron Jack".

Jack says, "Confront them, THEN fire them." He has spent many hours working with Category 4 folks, trying to get them to change. (Privately, he doesn't think there's much to be done for them, but will try in most cases, and further will then find out who hired them and what went wrong.)

Further, some of Jack's advice resists translation to everyone. He is talking often about SENIOR execs. SENIOR execs don't get nearly as long as managers or directors to make changes.

Think a MONTH.

Would Jack fire a top performing MANAGER (lower level) who had never been told that his interpersonal behavior or communication style was unprofessional? I doubt it... but he might give their BOSS a stern warning.

And if YOU are going to stand up in front of people and talk about values, and display posters about trust and people and teamwork, you TOO better be willing to FIRE the jerks that drag everybody else down, or watch your credibility drain away.

One on ones, feedback, coaching.