Tuesday, September 27, 2005

You don't need to be smart to be a CEO

What strikes you first when you start reading the book “Jack: Straight from the Gut” - Jack Welch is definitely not dumb, but he is not smart either. He's IQ should somewhat between 90-100 but as his story shows you don't need to smart to be the most admired CEO in the US. Actually what you really need for success:

(1) Single-mindedness and total concentration on one goal. Devote all your time and all your efforts on reaching this goal. Just don't analyze it, don't think it over and as a result - never hesitate. It's surprising how many people miss one thing - Welch's idea "be No.1 or No.2 or ..." is flawed! Later he admits himself that managers could narrow the market and become No.1. And this is not just "hmm, thanks for telling me this" - it's a fundamental methodological mistake. It simply means that the whole idea was not really thought over and was never analyzed. But thousands of people who didn't like it were fired from GE.

(2) Create corporate culture. As Jack shows this actually means - meet as many people as you can and if you find someone who is like you (passionate, loud, confident, concentrated, ruthless and aggressive) make him your VP immediately (and fire the "non-culture" guy who occupied it). Then - and this is the most important thing! - give him impossible goals and if he doesn't deliver - fire him too. This way very soon you have your top management who look like your clones and your middle management tries hard to mimic. And it's a surprise how many people missed it - Welch's list of GE values is flawed. They are not values - they are personal traits of character, description of certain individuality, self-portrait of Jack himself.

(3) Never have any emotional attachments to anyone - business and nothing but business. Welch describes all his so called "friends" only from the business and effectiveness point of view. The only person he is emotional about is his mother. His words "I loved my dad" sound as an excuse. Jack ruined his family not because he was working too hard - he had all week-ends for himself (even long week-ends!). He spent them playing golf instead of playing with kids. It comes to him as a surprise that golfing is not a good idea when you invite your girlfriend for a romantic weekend.

Please, pay attention - Welch never reads books, Welch had only two weeks of business training in marketing, Welch likes to teach but hates to be taught, Welch prefers learning by trial and not by analysis. And then - read this book again if you don't agree - Welch lacks strategic thinking. With his one "strategic" in head he just makes a lot of selling and buying everything that he has a gut for. Anyway, you don't need to be smart to be a CEO.


Anonymous said...

so true! this could be applied to others too

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