Winning
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Winning

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by Jack Welch, Suzy Welch
     
 

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Jack Welch knows how to win. During his forty-year career at General Electric, he led the company to year-after-year success around the globe, in multiple markets, against brutal competition. His honest, be-the-best style of management became the gold standard in business, with his relentless focus on people, teamwork, and profits.

Since Welch retired in 2001 as

Overview

Jack Welch knows how to win. During his forty-year career at General Electric, he led the company to year-after-year success around the globe, in multiple markets, against brutal competition. His honest, be-the-best style of management became the gold standard in business, with his relentless focus on people, teamwork, and profits.

Since Welch retired in 2001 as chairman and chief executive officer of GE, he has traveled the world, speaking to more than 250,000 people and answering their questions on dozens of wide-ranging topics.

Inspired by his audiences and their hunger for straightforward guidance, Welch has written both a philosophical and pragmatic book, which is destined to become the bible of business for generations to come. It clearly lays out the answers to the most difficult questions people face both on and off the job.

Welch's objective is to speak to people at every level of an organization, in companies large and small. His audience is everyone from line workers to MBAs, from project managers to senior executives. His goal is to help everyone who has a passion for success.

Welch begins Winning with an introductory section called "Underneath It All," which describes his business philosophy. He explores the importance of values, candor, differentiation, and voice and dignity for all.

The core of Winning is devoted to the real "stuff" of work. This main part of the book is split into three sections. The first looks inside the company, from leadership to picking winners to making change happen. The second section looks outside, at the competition, with chapters on strategy, mergers, and Six Sigma, to name just three. The next section of the book is about managing your career—from finding the right job to achieving work-life balance.

Welch's optimistic, no excuses, get-it-done mind-set is riveting. Packed with personal anecdotes and written in Jack's distinctive no b.s. voice, Winning offers deep insights, original thinking, and solutions to nuts-and-bolts problems that will change the way people think about work.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times
“Now is the time.”
Fortune
“Manager of the Century”
WARREN E. BUFFETT
“When you talk with Jack about management, his energy and passion fill the room.”
Warren E. Buffett
"When you talk with Jack about management, his energy and passion fill the room."
bn.com
Let's be honest: Jack Welch doesn't need our praise. Pitched at everyone from iron-willed CEOs to befuddled college grads, this book was an instant bestseller. But once you've spent a few pages with its pithy, candid advice -- Welch's plainspoken guidelines for hiring and managing people, beating the competition, finding the right job, getting promoted, and most everything else associated with winning the game of business -- you'll see why.
Newsweek
"..smart, practical and not afraid to address tough subjects"
BusinessWeek
"...candid and accessible...insights and wisdom to share."
The Wall Street Journal
"The right stuff -- Mr. Welch offers knowing descriptions of dilemmas and problems that are all too common in American business life, and he proposes a few ideas for solving them.."
USA Today
"Welch dispense the sharp-edged business acumen...He is giving back what he learned, and not just to fellow CEO's. He is able to write a book that might just reach the rest of us."
Library Journal
Welch (Jack: Straight from the Gut) follows up his successful and frank autobiography with his equally straight-shooting insights on winning that focuses more on business and management. The now legendary retired CEO of General Electric presents management wisdom he learned in his 40 years with GE that culminated with growing the company from a market capitalization of $4 billion to nearly half a trillion dollars. Since his retirement in 2001, Welch has been on a whirlwind tour of speaking engagements tied to his first book and Q&A sessions with managers from all levels, and this work summarizes his beliefs that were covered in these appearances. Written with his wife, a former editor of the Harvard Business Review, the book is organized into four parts, including management principles and concepts; managing people, processes, and culture; and managing the art and quality of a professional life. Welch's personality and ideas are soundly evident, although his distinctly New England accent and raspy narration may send some listeners to the hard copy. Highly recommended for larger public libraries and university libraries supporting a business curriculum.-Dale Farris, Groves, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries

What does it take to win? According to Jack Welch, winning in business is great because when companies win, people thrive and grow. There are more jobs and more opportunities everywhere and for everyone. But even the most talented businessperson with the best intentions will get nowhere unless he or she knows HOW to win in today’s complex business world. Business is a game, and winning that game is a total blast!

Mission and Values
Mission and values are two terms that have got to be among the most abstract, overused, misunderstood words in business. By contrast, a good mission statement and a good set of values are so real they smack you in the face with their concreteness. The mission announces exactly where you are going, and the values describe the behaviors that will get you there.

Effective mission statements balance the possible and the impossible. They give people a clear sense of the direction to profitability and the inspiration to feel they are part of something big and important. A mission cannot, and must not, be delegated to anyone except the people ultimately held accountable for it.

In contrast to the creation of a mission, everyone in a company should have something to say about values. You can use company-wide meetings, training sessions, and the like, for as much personal discussion as possible, and the intranet for broader input. The executive team has to go out of their way to be sure they’ve created an atmosphere where people feel it is their obligation to contribute.

Candor: The Biggest Dirty Little Secret in Business
Lack of candor blocks smart ideas, fast action and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer. When you’ve got candor, everything just operates faster and better.

First you get idea-rich. Second, candor generates speed. Third, candor cuts costs. Put all of its benefits and efficiencies together and you realize you just can’t afford not to have candor. Given the advantages of candor, you have to wonder why we don’t have more of it.

To get candor, you reward it, praise it and talk about it. You make public heroes out of people who demonstrate it. Most of all, you yourself demonstrate it in an exuberant and even exaggerated way - even when you’re not the boss.

Differentiation: Cruel and Darwinian? Try Fair and Effective
Companies win when their managers make a clear and meaningful distinction between top- and bottom-performing businesses and people, when they cultivate the strong and cull the weak. Companies suffer when every business and person is treated equally.

Differentiation is just resource allocation. Along with being the most efficient and most effective way to run your company, differentiation also happens to be the fairest and the kindest. Ultimately, it makes winners out of everyone. However, differentiation cannot - and must not - be implemented quickly. At GE, it took about a decade to install the kind of candor and trust that makes differentiation possible.

Hiring: What Winners Are Made Of
Hiring good people is hard. Hiring great people is brutally hard. Nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people on the field. However, before you think about assessing people for a job, they have to pass through three screens.

The first test is for integrity. People with integrity tell the truth, and they keep their word. They take responsibility for past actions, admit mistakes, and fix them. The second test is for intelligence. The candidate has a strong dose of intellectual curiosity, with a breadth of knowledge to work with or lead other smart people in today’s complex world. The third ticket to the game is maturity. Mature individuals can withstand heat, handle stress and setbacks, and alternatively - when those moments arise - enjoy success with equal parts of joy and humility.

Change: Mountains Do Move
Change is a critical part of business. You need to change, preferably before you have to. Most people hate it; they love familiarity and patterns, and cling to them. But attributing a behavior to human nature doesn’t mean you have to be controlled by it. Instead, it comes down to embracing four practices:

  1. Attach every change initiative to a clear purpose or goal. Change for change’s sake is stupid and enervating.
  2. Hire and promote only true believers and get-on-with-it types.
  3. Remove the resisters, even if their performance is satisfactory.
  4. Look at car wrecks.

Crisis Management
As long as companies are made up of human beings, there will be mistakes, controversies and blowups. The cold truth is that some degree of unwanted and unacceptable behavior is inevitable.

You can be proactive in preventing some crisis in three main ways: tight controls, good internal processes and a culture of integrity.

Strategy: It’s All in the Sauce
In real life, strategy is actually very straightforward. You pick a general direction and implement like hell. Strategy means making clear-cut choices about how to compete. You cannot be everything to everybody.

Six Sigma: Better than a Trip to the Dentist
Nothing compares to the effectiveness of Six Sigma when it comes to improving a company’s operational efficiency, raising its productivity and lowering its costs. Six Sigma has two primary applications. First, it can be used to remove the variation in routine, relatively simple, repetitive tasks. And second, it can be used to make sure large, complex projects go right the first time.

Six Sigma is meant for and has its most meaningful impact on repetitive internal processes and complex product designs. Once you understand the simple maxim "variation is evil," you’re 60 percent of the way to becoming a Six Sigma expert. The other 40 percent is getting the evil out. Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries
—Soundview Summary

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060753948
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/05/2005
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
76,936
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Winning

Chapter One

Mission and Values

So Much Hot Air About Something So Real

Bear with me, if you will, while I talk about mission and values.

I say that because these two terms have got to be among the most abstract, overused, misunderstood words in business. When I speak with audiences, I'm asked about them frequently, usually with some level of panic over their actual meaning and relevance. (In New York, I once got the question "Can you please define the difference between a mission and a value, and also tell us what difference that difference makes?") Business schools add to the confusion by having their students regularly write mission statements and debate values, a practice made even more futile for being carried out in a vacuum. Lots of companies do the same to their senior executives, usually in an attempt to create a noble-sounding plaque to hang in the company lobby.

Too often, these exercises end with a set of generic platitudes that do nothing but leave employees directionless or cynical. Who doesn't know of a mission statement that reads something like, "XYZ Company values quality and service," or, "Such-and-Such Company is customer-driven." Tell me what company doesn't value quality and service or focus on its customers! And who doesn't know of a company that has spent countless hours in emotional debate only to come up with values that, despite the good intentions that went into them, sound as if they were plucked from an all-purpose list of virtues including "integrity, quality, excellence, service, and respect." Give me a break -- every decent company espouses these things! And frankly, integrity is just a ticket to the game. If you don't have it in your bones, you shouldn't be allowed on the field.

By contrast, a good mission statement and a good set of values are so real they smack you in the face with their concreteness. The mission announces exactly where you are going, and the values describe the behaviors that will get you there. Speaking of that, I prefer abandoning the term values altogether in favor of just behaviors. But for the sake of tradition, let's stick with the common terminology.

First: About That Mission ....

In my experience, an effective mission statement basically answers one question: How do we intend to win in this business?

It does not answer: What were we good at in the good old days? Nor does it answer: How can we describe our business so that no particular unit or division or senior executive gets pissed off?

Instead, the question "How do we intend to win in this business?" is defining. It requires companies to make choices about people, investments, and other resources, and it prevents them from falling into the common mission trap of asserting they will be all things to all people at all times. The question forces companies to delineate their strengths and weaknesses in order to assess where they can profitably play in the competitive landscape.

Yes, profitably -- that's the key. Even Ben & Jerry's, the crunchy granola, hippy, save-the-world ice cream company based in Vermont, has "profitable growth" and "increasing value for stakeholders" as one of the elements of its three-part mission statement because its executives know that without financial success, all the social goals in the world don't have a chance.

That's not saying a mission shouldn't be bold or aspirational. Ben & Jerry's, for instance, wants to sell "all natural ice cream and euphoric concoctions" and "improve the quality of life locally, nationally and internationally." That kind of language is great in that it absolutely has the power to excite people and motivate them to stretch.

At the end of the day, effective mission statements balance the possible and the impossible. They give people a clear sense of the direction to profitability and the inspiration to feel they are part of something big and important.

Take our mission at GE as an example. From 1981 through 1995, we said we were going to be "the most competitive enterprise in the world" by being No. 1 or No. 2 in every market -- fixing, selling, or closing every underperforming business that couldn't get there. There could be no doubt about what this mission meant or entailed. It was specific and descriptive, with nothing abstract going on. And it was aspirational, too, in its global ambition.

This mission came to life in a bunch of different ways. First off, in a time when business strategy was mainly kept in an envelope in headquarters and any information about it was the product of the company gossip mill, we talked openly about which businesses were already No. 1 or No. 2, and which businesses had to get repaired quickly or be gone. Such candor shocked the system, but it did wonders for making the mission real to our people. They may have hated it when businesses were sold, but they understood why.

Moreover, we harped on the mission constantly, at every meeting large and small. Every decision or initiative was linked to the mission. We publicly rewarded people who drove the mission and let go of people who couldn't deal with it for whatever reason, usually nostalgia for their business in the "good old days."

Now, it is possible that in 1981 we could have come up with an entirely different mission for GE. Say after lots of debate and an in-depth analysis of technology,competitors, and customers,we had decided we wanted to become the most innovative designer of electrical products in the world. Or say we had decided that our most profitable route would have been to quickly and thoroughly globalize every business we had, no matter what its market position.

Either of these missions would have sent GE off on an entirely different road from the one we took. They would have required us to buy and sell different businesses than we did, or hire and let go of different people, and so forth ...

Winning. Copyright © by Jack Welch. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

Bill Gates
"A candid and comprehensive look at how to succeed in business-for everyone from college graduates to CEOs."
chairman, Microsoft Corporation
Warren E. Buffett
"When you talk with Jack about management, his energy and passion fill the room. You get a similar experience with this book-the same qualities jump at you from every page."
chairman, Berkshire Hathaway
Rudy Guilliani
"Jack Welch lays out a readable, detailed, step-by-step plan that anyone can use to become a true winner. Using real-life examples and the same tell-it-like-it-is style that helped reinvigorate General Electric, Welch describes how Americans can succeed in both their careers and in their personal lives."
former mayor of New York City
Tom Brokaw
"Reading Jack Welch's plain-language, high-energy book Winning is like getting the playbook of the Super Bowl champions before the game. It's a big head start on how to master the corporate game from the entry level to the corporate suites. He is the master."
former anchor and managing editor, NBC Nightly News

Meet the Author

Jack Welch is the Executive Chairman of the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online MBA school with more than 1,000 students. Prior to this, for 20 years, he was Chairman and CEO of General Electric Company, which was named the world's most valuable corporation and was consistently voted the most admired company in the world by Fortune magazine. Welch is active in private equity and consulting, working with dozens of businesses in a wide variety of industries. Along with speaking to upwards of a million people around the world, CNBC named Jack Welch one of the Top 10 "Rebels, Icons and Leaders" of the past 25 years.

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Winning: The Ultimate Business How-To Book 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have now read both books by Jack Welch. After the first, I just had to read the second. I always find it interesting to read about the influential people in America. I recommend this to all people who are wanting to learn how to succeed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jack Welch allows his points to be made and used to those of us not quite to the executive level(yet) unlike many books out there. I would recommend it to anyone trying to move up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good book filled with lots of experience. It's a book that will serve you well if you're on your way to the top of the corporate structure. As an entrepreneur, however, I like having my own business which this doesn't address. I just bought another book called Stop Working by Rohan Hall that's more suited for people who want to start their own business to become independently wealthy. Both books are excellent however Winning is targeted towards climbing the ladder and Stop Working towards becoming wealthy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand three times then post this to three other books then look under your pillow
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gable4242 More than 1 year ago
Welch begins Winning with an introductory section called "Underneath It All," which describes his business philosophy. He explores the importance of values, candor, differentiation, and voice and dignity for all. The core of Winning is devoted to the real "stuff" of work. This main part of the book is split into three sections. The first looks inside the company, from leadership to picking winners to making change happen. The second section looks outside, at the competition, with chapters on strategy, mergers, and Six Sigma, to name just three. The next section of the book is about managing your career&mdash;from finding the right job to achieving work-life balance. Welch's optimistic, no excuses, get-it-done mind-set is riveting. Packed with personal anecdotes and written in Jack's distinctive no nonsense voice, Winning offers deep insights, original thinking, and solutions to nuts-and-bolts problems that will change the way people think about work.
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doc_rock More than 1 year ago
Thankfully, Jack gets to the source of is business genius. Something that was hinted at but not really well illucidated in "From the Gut". Wonder is Suzy is the difference?
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Loved it
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Don11DK More than 1 year ago
Great read, Jack is one of the greatest of all time, I enjoyed reading his countless stories of success. What a great leader, it is obvious that he puts human capital at the front of his priorities.
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