With the economy being shaky, I urge you to take Jack Welch’s Advice on how to prepare.
But first, let’s deal with some recent negative press about Jack Welch and his legacy as the CEO of General Electric.
- Some say he cheated by manipulating the profit numbers and didn’t really do as well as he would have you believe.
- Others say that he did the damage by suggesting you should “Fire the bottom 10% of your staff each year.” It worked once, but after that, it killed the morale and the company’s potential.
- There is a new book that claims that he brought too much focus on creating short-term shareholder value at the cost of long-term value, and employee and community well-being.
All this may be true, and yet he did many things right which you can still learn from.
Including the following big idea, that I believe will be his strongest legacy.
Follow This Advice From Jack Welch, Especially When The Economy Looks Shaky
At one point in his career, Welch hired a futurist to help his leadership team explore the different possible economic scenarios that might happen in the world, and how General Electric should be prepared if any of these scenarios came to pass.
They explored the ramifications of everything: stagflation, global and civil wars, booming economies, earthquakes, etc.
In all the scenarios, they discovered there was one recurring theme that showed up as their best defense.
A Strong Leadership Team
No matter which future scenario came to pass, Welch and his team learned that having a strong leadership team, at multiple levels within GE, would be their best defense AND their best offensive weapon to deal with bad economies, black swans, and good times.
What Does This Mean For You?
Here are two ways to look at it.
1. No matter what, but especially right now, you can take steps to be sure your leadership teams are “leveling up” to the top performers in the industry.
Don’t settle on the status quo (no matter how hard it is to recruit). Instead, look at the best within your company and within the industry, and seek to raise your other leaders to that same/similar level.
2. Another approach is the concept of Top Grading: hiring (and promoting) the right people for key positions in your firm, in order to raise the overall performance of your entire organization.
Every great company that I work with is undertaking both of these strategies. They want to surround themselves with A players, and B players who exhibit coach-ability and a drive to grow.
Don’t settle for the “highly” or “semi-skilled bad-culture fit” filling your ranks. That will leave you weakened, and unprepared for the next economic cycle.
The economy is changing, what will you do?
Don’t settle on status quo (no matter how hard it is to recruit). Click To Tweet
Get out of your four walls, and see for yourself what top performers look like, and what their team looks like, and how their teams are being trained.
Life is full of possibilities once you “see” the blue sky beyond your four walls.
Life is full of possibilities once you “see” the blue sky beyond your four walls. Click To Tweet
Below is one way to do this.
- Drost is a top example of a “constant and never-ending learning” environment
- Drost has so many strong leaders, from foremen to supervisors to division leaders to general managers…they all inspire.
- Drost is an open book, willing to share with the industry to help everyone do better