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The Most Admirable CEO, Jack Welch

Viewed 1175 times 2020-3-3 13:07 |System category:News

  Nobody raised a stink when Fortune magazine named Jack Welch manager of the century in 1999, in light of the fact that GE had become the most admirable company in corporate America. Better yet, CEOs around the world were striving to learn his leadership style and his much-coveted management practices or rules. 

  Welch's  rules  also gained currency in China after then-CEO of Haier, Zhang Ruimin or 张瑞敏 in Chinese, decided to take a page from Welch's playbook and turn Haier into another global powerhouse instead of a traditional Chinese company bound by bureaucracy and nepotism . To that end, Zhang went to Boston to seek the counsel of Jack Welch, trying to follow Welch's businesslike approach and use that to hone Zhang's own managerial skills in China.

  Welch told  Zhang that business leaders in China  had to ask their  people to create value for  companies  by fostering creativity  instead of sticking to the antediluvian rules championed by  predecessors. Which is to say that you have to find the right people or like-minded sorts who are sympathetic to your views. All the same, just rid them if they are not receptive to your thinking; you just don't want such obdurate sods sabotaging your efforts to enhance  your company's  operational efficiency. 

" You own these businesses. Take charge of them. Get headquarters out of your hair. Fight the bureaucracy. Hate it. Kick it. Break it,"  Welch reportedly made such statements, according to Fortune's  Geoffrey Colvin, who wrote several exceptional cover stories featuring Jack Welch's management style for Fortune when John Huey and Norman Pearlstein were still at  the helm at  Time Inc, which owned Fortune magazine way back.

  Welch also set store by the notion that a company has to find its own  competitive advantage; otherwise, it would be a mistake to take on a competent rival that has the upper hand in this field. Case in point: it would be foolhardy for most American companies  to compete with  Asian companies in terms of production and labour costs, considering that such costs r much lower in China and Vietnam. "  To stay competitive, GE must be No. 1 or No. 2 in its industry," says Jack Welch.

  Convinced that GE had to be a lean organization, Jack Welch introduced Six Sigma and graded its employees  on a five-level scale, using it as a means to weed out the underdogs who failed to get their work done. For good measure, He was not loth to sell GE's  underperforming businesses because he wanted GE to be a service company.

  You might think an old geezer like Jack Welch would balk at embracing digitization. You are wide of the mark. Actually, Jack Welch paid heed to the need to go digital after he started palling around with Scott McNealy, co-founder of  technology company  Sun Microsystems. They both appeared  on the cover of the same issue of  Fortune magazine in 2000 and riffed on technological advances that had transformed the way people did business. Welch told Fortune that "Scott McNealy has taught him lots about the need to go digital."

  What can a Chinese business leader learn from Jack Welch?  I'd say it's not just about employee performance reviews, execution  customer feedback, strategic planning  and  cost-cutting. It's more to do with a leader's willingness to be a game-changer in his industry. You have to be the cage-rattler if you want to survive.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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Reply Report tatata69 2020-3-6 18:11
Correction: Welch also set great store by the notion that.   I'd say it's not just about employee performance reviews, execution,   customer feedback, strategic planning  and  cost-cutting.

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    • Hebe is Wrong 2020-4-30 20:04

      By the way, his former girlfriend was born in mainland China.

    • Hebe is Wrong 2020-4-30 19:39

      I'm just embittered by the way snotty Taiwanese celebs treat Show Lo's former girlfriend, who is said to have helped Show Lo build a successful career in mainland China. One of the friends of Show Lo in Taiwan reproved his former girlfriend when asked to make comments on this scandal, saying "she shouldn't have done this because it would scupper Show Lo's chance of making money in mainland China." Jacky Wu, another TV host in Taiwan,  held the same view during an interview, arguing that Show Lo is just a roistering boy who wants to have some fun. And another female lawyer in Taiwan even rubbished Show Lo's former girlfriend, calling her a capricious lover. "A girl shouldn't treat her former boyfriend like this even she has been betrayed," exclaims this female lawyer in Taiwan.

        I don't know what's wrong with their brains. Another irreverent  shrink living in Taiwan even called Show Lo a romantic figure who bonds with lasses, suggesting that he is a sentimental sort like  Byron.

        It's such disgusting for them to chafe at a doughty girl trying to tell the public that her former boyfriend is just another follower of Harvey Weinstein, who used his power to ravish young actresses in America. And it's decidedly absurd for them to claim that people should give Show Lo another chance to appear on mainland TV shows, allowing for the fact that such insolent sorts living in Taiwan don't even respect girls living in mainland.

        In any event, I'd argue that mainland should bar such celebrities from appearing on TV shows in mainland China. We don't need more dandies like Show Lo showing boys and men how to cavort with girls without marrying them. We should exalt the notion that only true love brings happiness instead.

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