Jack Welch – Winning
I just finished reading Jack Welch's Winning. My one-word review is…disappointing. I was a big fan of Welch’s previous book, Jack: Straight from the Gut. It was very inspiring and full of fascinating insights and techniques. You really got the feeling you were getting an insider’s look at GE in his earlier book. That’s simply not the case with this one.
Given how wildly successful Winning has been, I decided to take another look at some of the reviews over on Amazon. I have to agree with a couple on the first page: “A lot of effort for the reader for a few insights” and “Insightful at times, but mostly superficial.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. In fact, I almost put this one down after reading the first couple of chapters. Despite the never-ending gratuitous references to many of his former GE colleagues, how they’ve gone on to bigger and better things, etc., I fought my way through to the end of the book – I guess I can at least say Jack taught me something about perseverance.
If you haven’t read Jack: Straight from the Gut, get it. If you haven’t already bought Winning, don’t.
Well, I wasn't even that impressed with "From the Gut". Being smack dab in the middle of a corporate environment as an aspiring leader, I found it to be full of pie-in-the-sky ideals, way too much focus on six sigma (which, frankly, is increasingly debunked as a true change agent), and too many stories that aren't related to the reality of running a company or division. I had no opinion of Jack before reading the book but now I view him as maniacal. Not inspiring at all and I kept thinking: "those poor people who worked for him and/or were fired by him." Anybody running a company the size of GE has my admiriation, but for the sake of the people working there, I'm happy it is no longer Jack.
Posted by: Todd Main | September 05, 2005 at 09:20 PM
I would have to respectfully disagree with you on this one, Todd. I found a number of very practical ideas in Welch's previous book. For example, he introduced the notion of striving to be either first or second in your market -- anything less and you should sell off the company. He also presented a very interesting way of appraising and rating personnel. Didn't he also suggest that you shouldn't measure your market share just by looking at the primary market, but rather by lumping in all adjacent markets so that you don't get too complacent with a large chunk? I always thought this was an outstanding concept since it forces you to think of new ways to grow the business and expand into not-so-obvious areas. I honestly remember putting that book down at the end and feeling like it was one of the most inspirational management books I've ever read. Now you can see why I was so disappointed with his latest book...
Posted by: Joe Wikert | September 13, 2005 at 07:15 PM