Jack Welch On The Role Of Leaders

Jack Welch, in this short video from 2015, expounds on what is the role of a leader.

This was the advice given by the legendary Jack Welch to 4,300 aspiring startup founders and CEO’s last week at TiECON, the largest entrepreneurship conference in Silicon Valley. Welch was speaking with his co-author and wife, Suzy Welch, to promote their new book, “The Real Life MBA,” the proceeds of which will go towards inner city scholarships.

While Welch is best known as former CEO of General Electric GE -0.99%, one of the largest and most innovative companies in the world, his advice about leadership resonated with the startup crowd. Welch himself never went down the startup path, but he was a great intrapreneur, having built GE’s Plastics and Chemical Divisions into $1 billion units. He is a cultivator of talent like no other in American history. According to Vivek Paul, a former CEO of Wipro and protégé of Welch, there are 50 CEO’s of large American companies who worked directly for Jack Welch at some point.

  • Chief Meaning Officer – “To let everyone in the place know: where you are going, why you are going there, and – most importantly – what’s in it for them to get there with you?”
  • Chief Declutterer – Get rid of the hurdles or bottlenecks so that your people can act and get what needs to be done, done.
  • Chief Celebrator Of Others – “You’ve got to have a generosity gene. It’s got to be in your body… You’ve got to enjoy people’s success.  You got to love people’s success. You’ve got to get in their skin and really be excited as hell for them! You’ve got a love to give raises, you’ve got to be turned on giving bonuses… it’s got to make you feel great!”
  • Chief Fun Officer – “Find all kinds of ways to win. There are small victories all the time and celebrate every one of them… find a way to make little victories big
    victories. And if you get a lot of little victories, you’ll get a big victory when you add them all together. But think of the job that way: work is fun, and your job is to make it fun, if you’re a leader. Don’t be some grinding horse’s ass!”

I especially like what he said at the end of the video – which, to me, sums up the privilege, honour and responsibility of what it means to be a leader:

So, in my view you’ve got a huge responsibility. Most of you – God gave you a job where you are responsible for people’s lives. It’s a big deal! You got families you’re responsible for. Make it a big success for them! You’ve got one of the luxuries of life: to impact people’s lives. Grab it, squeeze it, and take advantage of it.

 

 

 

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