MLA Gold Award Site

Excerpt from Winning by Jack Welch, Suzy Welch, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Winning
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2006, 272 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Getting more participation really makes a difference, giving you more insights and more ideas, and at the end of the process, most importantly, much more extensive buy-in.

The actual process of creating values, incidentally, has to be iterative. The executive team may come up with a first version, but it should be just that, a first version. Such a document should go out to be poked and probed by people all over an organization, over and over again. And the executive team has to go out of their way to be sure they’ve created an atmosphere where people feel it is their obligation to contribute.

Now, if you’re in a company where speaking up gets you whacked, this method of developing values just isn’t going to work. I understand that, and as long as you stay, you’re going to have to live with that generic plaque in the front hall.

But if you’re at a company that does welcome debate—and many do—shame on you if you don’t contribute to the process. If you want values and behaviors that you understand and can live with yourself, you have to make the case for them.


It’s in the Nitty-Gritty Details

When I first became CEO, I was certainly guilty of endorsing vague, too cryptic values. For instance, in 1981, I wrote in the annual report that GE leaders “face reality” and “live excellence” and “feel ownership.” These platitudes sure sounded good, but they had a long way to go toward describing real behaviors.

By 1991, we had made a lot of progress. Over the course of the previous three years, more than five thousand employees spent some portion of their time participating in the development of our values. The result was much more concrete. We printed them on laminated wallet cards. The text included imperatives such as “Act in a boundaryless fashion—always search for and apply the best ideas regardless of their source” and “Be intolerant of bureaucracy” and “See change for the growth opportunity it brings.”

Of course, some of these behaviors required further explanation and interpretation. And we did that all the time, at meetings, during appraisals, and at the watercooler.

Since leaving GE, I’ve realized how much further still we might have been able to push the discussion about values and behaviors. In 2004, I watched Jamie Dimon and Bill Harrison work together to develop values and behaviors for the new company created by the merger of Bank One and JP Morgan Chase. The document they used to open the dialogue came from Bank One, and it listed values and their corresponding behaviors with a level of detail I had never seen before.

Take the value “We treat customers the way we would want to be treated.” That’s pretty tangible, but Bank One had literally identified the ten or twelve behaviors that made that value come to life. Here are some of them:

  • Never let profit center conflicts get in the way of doing what is right for the customer.
  • Give customers a good, fair deal. Great customer relationships take time. Do not try to maximize short-term profits at the expense of building those enduring relationships.
  • Always look for ways to make it easier to do business with us.
  • Communicate daily with your customers. If they are talking to you, they can’t be talking to a competitor.
  • Don’t forget to say thank you.
  • Another value Bank One had was: “We strive to be the low-cost provider through efficient and great operations.”

Some of the prescribed behaviors included:

  • Leaner is better.
  • Eliminate bureaucracy.
  • Cut waste relentlessly.
  • Operations should be fast and simple.
  • Value each other’s time.
  • Invest in infrastructure.
  • We should know our business best. We don’t need consultants to tell us what to do.

If this level of detail feels overwhelming and even doctrinaire to you, I can sympathize. When I first saw Jamie’s single-spaced, five-page values-and-behaviors document, I nearly fell over. But as I read it, I saw its power.

The foregoing is excerpted from Winning by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Victoria
by Daisy Goodwin

"A hit…The research is impeccable, the attention to detail, perfect." - The Sunday Mirror (UK)

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Second Mrs. Hockaday
    by Susan Rivers

    A love story, a story of racial divide, and a story of the South as it fell in the war.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win No Man's Land

No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien

Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.

Enter

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Ruler of the Night
    Ruler of the Night
    by David Morrell
    Amateur sleuth Thomas De Quincey is back in a mystery set in Victorian England. This time, he and ...
  • Book Jacket: A List of Cages
    A List of Cages
    by Robin Roe
    Robin Roe has written one helluva young adult debut novel. Alternating first person narratives by a ...
  • Book Jacket: Homesick for Another World
    Homesick for Another World
    by Ottessa Moshfegh
    The frizzy, freaky, funky, and frazzled all pile on in this much anticipated short story collection ...

Word Play

Solve this clue:

H W S W T Devil S H A L S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.