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

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

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With all the stories I have heard in the past few years from employees in companies around the world, I’m convinced you cannot be too specific about values and their related behaviors.

And It’s in the Backup

Clarity around values and behaviors is not much good unless it is backed up. To make values really mean something, companies have to reward the people who exhibit them and “punish” those who don’t. Believe me, it will make winning easier.

I say that because every time we asked one of our high-performing managers to leave because he didn’t demonstrate the values—and we said as much publicly—the organization responded incredibly well. In annual surveys over a decade, employees would tell us that we were a company that increasingly lived its values. That made people even more committed to living them too. And as our employee satisfaction results improved, so did our financial results.

And Finally, It’s in the Connection

A concrete mission is great. And values that describe specific behaviors are too. But for a company’s mission and values to truly work together as a winning proposition, they have to be mutually reinforcing.

It seems obvious, doesn’t it, that a company’s values should support its mission, but it’s amazingly easy for that not to be the case. A disconnect between the parts of a company’s framework probably is more a sin of omission than of commission, but it often happens.

In the most common scenario, a company’s mission and its values rupture due to the little crises of daily life in business: A competitor moves into town and lowers prices, and so do you, undermining your mission of competing on extreme customer service. Or a downturn hits, so you cut your advertising budget, forgetting your mission is to enhance and extend your brand.

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.

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