Jack Welch Leadership Essay

Words: 2721
Pages: 11

15-LD-Leadership Stories-2
Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jack Welch
I have selected Jack Welch former Chairman and CEO of General Electric. I chose Mr. Welch as he is such a renowned business man and success story. Moreover, he is a local product and I grew up hearing how GE was such a great company as many of my mother’s friends and family were employed by GE. I knew little besides generalities of his abrasive personality and his no-funny-business personality. After reading his biography and researching online, I was not too surprised there was much more beneath the covers.


Jack Welch joined GE in 1960 as a 24 year old junior engineer fresh from a PhD program in chemistry. Born in Salem, Massachusetts, Mr. Welch described
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Welch saw excess and underperformance and logically came to the conclusion that reductions had to be made, no matter how much he didn’t enjoy letting people go.

Judging – tend to like a planned and organized approach to life and prefer to have things settled
Welch evaluated his executive staff and business leaders based heavily on their ability to be decisive and valued strongly a definitive path forward. This can be highlighted by a term he often used: “Don’t Walter Cronkite me” – meaning you can report bad news, but you better be providing a plan on how to fix it.

Spider Chart Assessment

Welch has stated that there are 4 “E”s of GE leadership: 1. very high energy levels 2. ability to energize others around common goals 3. the edge to make tough yes and no decisions 4. ability to consistently execute and deliver on promises
The 4 E’s are connected by 1 P – passion.

The following assessment is a relative comparison of Welch’s weakest and strongest engineering leadership capability; it is certainly not a comparison with the general public.

* Initiative - Assess risk and take initiative to create a vision and course of action * Courage - Face difficult / high-risk actions head-on
When Welch took over as CEO, GE was at the top. No one saw a problem. Welch saw it differently and had both the initiative and courage to lead GE to be the first big, healthy and profitable company in the