Jack-Straight from the gut

If you don’t know how to lose, you will never know how to win”.

“Don’t kid yourselves. That’s the way it is”.

-Grace Welch

Great values make great people. John Francis Jack Welch Jr, the most famous CEO, management expert and longtime chairman of General Electric(GE) is no exception. Known as ‘Neutron’ Jack for his outragious management policies, Jack Welch was the CEO and Chairman of GE from 1981-2001, arguably the most famous management person alive today.

It is always fascinating to read business success stories. They give you an insight into the values and characters of the people who dreamt about them, built them from scratch.  In that way, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Azim Premji, Larry and Sergei are remarkable persons.

Jack-straight from the gut tells the story of Jack Welch, of General Electric fame and his management policies defying conventional thinking as a result of which GE is one of the most successful companies in the world and Jack Welch the most famous CEO and chairman.

Co-authored with John.A.Byrne, Jack Welch tell us of his early childhood days in Salem, Massachusetts, USA and his entry into GE as a Junior Engineer for the Pittsfield plant of GE. From there, the story takes a rollercoaster ride as Welch gives us an idea of how he developed his business acumen and why he valued people more than anything and why it is important to trust yourselves more.

Welch tells us of the mistakes he committed(blowing the roof off the Pittsfield plant and lots more), his rise in the company, his frustrations regarding the bureaucracy in GE, his love for golf and his workaholic ways.

As we progress through each of the chapters, we learn, along with Welch what it needs to survive in a competitive world and why bringing out the best in yourselves and the people around you matters and why it is better to face reality than fool yourselves. Though considered a harsh way, demanding the very best actually helps you out in a competitive sense, understood in the right sense.

We also come to appreciate the passion that drove Jack Welch to achieve what he had done in his years, his adaptability to new ideas, his penchant for discussing business anywhere and sketching out his ideas on virtually any paper available, even on napkins, and his tenacity for striking deals that at first view appear ludicrous but later turn out to be money spinners. We learn of the deep love he shared with his mother who encouraged and supported him at every opportunity(her encouraging remarks are at the beginning of this post) which made Welch what he is today. There are many anectodes that Welch narrates which tells us what a visionary he is and his love for the job at hand. His passion that envelops anything and his innovative spirit, his relentless pursuits to weed out the useless and retain only the best are indeed management lessons to take up.

In a sense, reading such stories, that too business success stories help develop our competitive sense well and bring out the best in our characters. In that way, I would sure recommend this book as a definite read.

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Filed under Book Review, Business Stories

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