I have just finished reading Winning by Jack Welch. This book summarizes the key learnings of one of the greatest CEOs of all time in Jack Welch. As the book title indicates, it is about winning in the corporate world and getting ahead. It is divided into four main parts: the first called “Underneath it All” in which the foundational elements of a successful company are laid out – mission and values, candor, differentiation, and voice and dignity. The second, “Your Company” discusses the mechanics of an organization – leadership, hiring, people management, parting ways, change and crisis management. The third part of this book is “Your Competition”, with topics discussed such as strategy, budgeting, organic growth, mergers and acquisitions, and Six Sigma. Finally the last section of the book “your career” focused on one professional life with topics such as – the right job, getting promoted, hard spots, work-life balance.
What makes this book unique is the breadth of topics discussed. It really serves as a primer for anyone looking to navigate his way through the corporate world. While it is hard to summarize the many learnings contained within this book, below are some excerpts which I found particularly profound:
-“When you are an individual contributor, you try to have all the answers. That’s your job…When you are a leader, your job is to have all the questions.”
-On Change ” 1- Attach very 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- Ferret out and get rid of resisters, even if their performance is satisfactory. 4- Look at car wrecks.”
-” The 4-E (And 1-P) Framework – The first E is positive energy. -The second E is the ability to energize others. – The third E is edge, the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions. – Which leads us to the fourth E – execute – the ability to get the job done. – If a candidate has the four Es, then you look for that final P – passion.
Given the scope of the book, one can’t expect that it covers each of the topics in depth. What it does though, is server as an eye openers on areas/aspects of one’s career that were perhaps missed/over-looked.
If you had to read one book this year, I would recommend Winning!