Lead (The Welch Way)

Manage Lead

Jack Welch is all about leadership, not management. he doesn't even like the word "manage." To him, the word "management" conjures up all of the negative things that people associate with managing, such as "controlling, stifling people, keeping them in the dark." Welch loved to lead. He loved to create a vision and then get people so passionate about what they were doing that they couldn't wait to execute his plan. That's what a genuine leader is, said Welch. Someone who could express a vision and then get people to carry it out.

And Welch did not think that executives or CEOs had a monooly on leadership --or good ideas, for that matter. To him, anyone could be a leader, just so long as they contributed, and the most meaningful way for anyone to contributed, and the most meaningful way for anyone to contribute was to come up with good ideas. Welch once said, "th ehero is the person with a new idea." To him, there is simply nothing more important to an organization than expressing ideas and creating a vision.

At GE, he created an enterprise that made new ideas the lifeblood of the organization, the fuel that made the gigantic GE engine run. He said that if the company had to rely on him for all of its good ideas, "the place would sink in an hour." While many business leaders talk a good game on the subject of leadership, Welch lived it. He created a vison for his company ("world's most competitive enterprise") and spent more than two decades igniting the organization to make his vision a reality. He had great energy, competitive spirit, and the ability to spark excitement and achieve results, and searched for leaders who had those same qualities.

Here are things you can do to raise your Welch Leadership Quotient:

Articulate a vision, and spark others to execute it:
That was the essence of leadership, said Welch. Anyone who could express a vision and then get others passionate about making it happen could be a leader.

Don't manage every excruciating detail:
Leaders know that it is their job to see the big picture. Don't get caught up in managing minutiae. Surround yourself wih great people and trust them to do their jobs.

Involve everyone and welcome great ideas from everywhere:
Since business is all about getting the best ideas from everyone, be sure to leave no one out. It just might be the quietest person on your team who is sitting on the best idea.

What we are looking for... are leaders at every level who can energize, excite and inspire rather than enervate, depress, and control.

From: Jeffrey A. Krames. The Welch Way: 24 lessons from the world's greatest CEO. New York, McGraw-Hill, 2004.

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