Tag Archives: Winning

Another Duo Welch Book Hits the Charts on April 15 – But Ethics?

We’re less than a month away from the release of Jack and Suzy Welch‘s newest work, The Real Life MBA:  Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and JackSuzyWelchBookCoverGrowing Your Career (Harper Business, 2015).   It is a certain best-seller, and pre-orders for the book are rocking the online outlets. Considering their personal backgrounds, perhaps you join me in being perplexed that even before its release, the book ranks #11 in the Amazon.com best-selling list in Business Ethics.

Say what?”  If you don’t know the story, here is a brief account.  Suffice it to say that much more detail is available to you through the Internet.  Jack’s second wife, Jane Beasley, found out about an affair between Suzy Wetlaufer and Welch.  At the time, Suzy was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Business Review.  Beasley delivered this information to the publication, and Wetlaufer was forced to resign in early 2002 after admitting to having been involved in an affair with Welch while preparing an interview with him for HBR.  Personal and professional ethics?   This did not turn out too badly for Beasley.  While Welch had crafted a prenupital agreement, she had insisted on a ten-year time limit for its enforceability, and therefore, left the marriage with around $180 million of Welch’s money.  That interview was never published.  Suzy and Jack married in 2004.

JackSuzyWelchThis is not their first co-authored book.  Randy Mayeux presented their first one, Winning (Harper Business, 2005) at the First Friday Book Synopsis.  It reached # 1 on the New York Times and Wall Street Journal business best-selling lists.   We did not present their next co-authored work, Winning:  The Answers:  Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today (Harper Business, 2006).

They both have another single-authored book.  Randy presented a synopsis of Jack: Straight from the Gut (Business Plus, 2003).  In 2010, Suzy wrote 10-10-10:  A Fast and Powerful Way to Get Unstuck in Love, at Work, and with Your Family (Scribner).  Randy gave that synopsis to several of our Creative Communication Network clients.  I remember that audiences we delivered that synopsis to were not exactly thrilled at the quality of information transferred.  In fact, at the Fort Worth Club, our event planner remarked that she wished she would have selected another book.  Maybe her reputation backfired on that one.  Of course, she didn’t write that one way to get unstuck is to have an affair with a famous married man.  It certainly worked for her.

Note that both of these authors are very competent and successful.  History will likely write Jack as the most successful CEO in American history.  His style and substance led General Electric to a fast and furious climb to the top of elite and powerful businesses.  All the labels, such as “Neutron Jack,” are applicable.  His decisions were profound and effective.  And, he believed in lifelong learning and professional development, even teaching courses on-site at the GE Learning Center.  Many CEO’s don’t even know their company has a learning center, let alone take the time to go teach in it.  Suzy’s role at one of the most prestigious business publications gave her strong credibility, as did her work experience at Bain.

Considering their reputation, most likely, this one will also fly to the top.  It is not out of the question that you might hear a synopsis of this at our event.  In fact, many of our regular attendees may push us very hard to present it.  It will be exciting to see what the sub-topics will be from the Table of Contents.  Only time will tell whether this one is heavier on style than substance.  The title alone is appealing.

But, ethics?  Is this really the best resource?

 

 

Keep Trying New Stuff, Constantly – Lessons Buried in the Facebook S-1 Filing

Zuckerberg and some of the top team members at Facebook

So, (courtesy of SlateSh*t Facebook Employees Say), here are five maxims/mantras of Facebook buried in their S-1 Filing:

Facebookism No. 1: “Done is better than perfect”
Facebookism No. 2: “Code wins arguments”
Facebookism No. 3: “Move fast and break things”
Facebookism No. 4: “The riskiest thing is to take no risks.”
Facebookism No. 5: “This journey is 1 percent finished.”

We have posted the phrase “this journey is 1% finished” across many of our office walls, to remind employees that we believe that we have only begun fulfilling our mission to make the world more open and connected.

(Read the article for full descriptives of each).

So here are a few clear lessons

1.  Ship fast, then fix…  Get it out there!

2.  Keep trying new stuff. Constantly!  Really — constantly!

3.  It is mandatory to take risks!

4.  You are nowhere near finished – ever!

You know, I think it will probably take the Coach and the best players of the Super Bowl Champion team about 2 days to get past celebrating and then ask, how do we get better for next year, so that we can win again?  And it will take the Coach and the best players of the losing team about 3 days to wallow in the sting of the loss, and then they will ask how do we fix what was wrong, and then get better, so that we can win it all next year?

It is a constantly changing, gotta-get-better fast world out there.

It Really Does All Start Here — The Right People Make All The Difference

Many years ago, I had a teacher – a very, very smart teacher – who said that if you read something in one place, pay a little attention.  But if you read it over and over again from a number of sources, pay a whole lot of attention!

Here’s something you can read in countless business books.  It is repeated by enough authors in so many books that I think it is safe to say — be sure to get this one right.  Pay a lot of attention to this!  Here’s the lesson:

Hire the right people!

How many stories do you know about inefficient, unsuccessful, stagnant, even demoralizing workers?  Knowing that making the right hire is important is…well, common knowledge.  Actually making the right hire – this is the hard part.

I was thinking about this and remembered just how clearly Jack Welch expressed this in Winning.  Here are some key quotes:

Hiring good people is hard.  Hiring great people is brutally hard.  And yet nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people on the field.  All the clever strategies and advanced technologies in the world are nowhere near as effective without great people to put them to work.

Effective people know when to stop assessing and make a tough call, even without total information.  Little is worse than a manager who can’t cut bait.

If you’ve hired the right people, they will want to grow.  They will be bursting with the desire to learn and do more…  Good people never think they have reached the top of their game.  But they’re dying to get there.  A company that manages people well helps make that happen…  It makes sure that training is seen as a reward for performance, not a sop for time served.

Hiring the right people, investing in their development, rewarding them with more training and more challenges – this is the path to business success.

Look around you – are you hiring the right people?
Look at yourself – were you the “right hire?”

Let’s put it this way.  Making the right hire may not absolutely guarantee business success.  But it comes close.

Making the wrong hire – this is a sure fire path to business disappointment.

Winning, with the Right Stars, Leads To More…Winning!

Two things.

It really helps you win if you’re on a winning streak.
It really helps you win if you have the right stars to fill the right slots.

Both of these thoughts are stated pretty clearly, and strongly, in the Jack Welch book, Winning.

Here’s Jack Welch about winning:
There have been literally thousands of questions.  But most of them come down to this:  What does it take to win?  And that is what this book is about – winning.  Probably no other topic could have made me want to write again!  Because I think winning is great.  Not good – great.  When companies win, people thrive and grow…  Winning lifts everyone it touches – it just makes the world a better place.  When companies are losing, on the other hand, everyone takes a hit.  People feel scared.  They have less financial security and limited time or money to do anything else.  All they do is worry and upset their families, and in the meantime, if they’re out of work, they pay little, if any, taxes.

An effective mission statement basically answers one question:  How do we intend to win in this business?  It does not answer:  What were we good at in the good old days?  Nor does it answer:  How can we describe our business so that no particular unit or division or senior executive gets pissed off.

And here’s Jack Welch on hiring:
Hiring good people is hard.  Hiring great people is brutally hard.  And yet nothing matters more in winning than getting the right people on the field.  All the clever strategies and advanced technologies in the world are nowhere near as effective without great people to put them to work.

Here in Dallas, life revolves around one thing, and one thing only – how are the Cowboys doing?  (I am fairly convinced that if a scientist found the cure for cancer, war broke out between the USA and Canada, the Texas Rangers won the World Series, and Tony Romo had a hang nail, all on the same day, the lead story on the front page of the Dallas Morning News would be Tony Romo’s hangnail).  Lately, the Cowboys have looked like losers  (because they were losers, losing their first two games).  Their posture, their facial expressions, were all showing the strain.  And then, yesterday, it all clicked.  They looked like a different team.  They looked like…winners.  And winning literally changes the way you look!

And then I read this fascinating article, Without Star, Often Broadway Shows Can’t Go On by Patrick Healy, in the New York Times.  Consider these opening paragraphs:

To understand why the hit Broadway musical “Promises, Promises” will close after just nine months, gaze up at the show’s giant billboard over Times Square. There are the smiling faces of Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth, stars who are the chief reasons the show usually grosses $1 million a week.

The producers built the $9 million revival of “Promises” as a vehicle for Mr. Hayes and Ms. Chenoweth — so much so, they now contend, that the actors have become irreplaceable, and the show will close in January when they leave.

Winning in business works the same way.  If your company, your department, you, are on a losing streak, you don’t have to tell anyone.  They can see it in your demeanor.

And if you are on a winning streak, you don’t have to tell anyone.  They can see it in your demeanor.

And it really helps to have the right stars (the right people, doing the right jobs – the jobs they were born to, trained to, feel “called to,” perform) in the right places.  And when you find a true star, he or she is really, really hard to replace.

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You can purchase my synopsis of this Jack Welch book, Winning, with handout + audio, at our companion web site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.