Posted by: Carel | June 11, 2007

Jack Welch Keynote at SuccessConnect in New York

I attended the SuccessConnect keynote of Jack Welch and Lars Dalgaard in New York on June 7, 2007. You can find a short video here: Keynote Video. Carlos Watson did a great job moderating the Q&A session. [Update: You’ll find the long version of Jack’s keynote here.]

The following comments from Jack and Lars were the most memorable for me:

  • Jack: HR should be equal to Finance in corporate America. People first, then strategy.
  • Lars: Megatrends (e.g., baby boomer’s leaving the work force) are forcing corporate America to elevate HR’s role in the organization.
  • Jack: Managers should commit to telling employees where they stand — the good and the bad, the Stars and the low-performers. HR needs Sarbanes-Oxley like compliance. “Phony appraisals are a SIN!”
  • Jack: 20/70/10 rule: Let 10% of the non-performers go, highly reward the top 20% and compensate the middle 70% well.
  • Lars: Most important interview question — “What did your mom teach you?”
  • Jack: Most important interview question — “Tell me about your previous job?” If the person has a victim mentality then let them go. If you find a star, then hire them on the spot. Don’t send them to HR and don’t let them leave the building. Give them love!
  • Jack: Terminate people with dignity. Help them find another job. They will be a reference — good or bad — you want them to be a good reference. Spend a lot of time with them after they leave the company.
  • Jack: The following are the top 3 character traits of a leader:
    1. Authenticity: Top character trait as a leader. Be real and true to yourself.
    2. Resilience: If a leader falls, how do they get back on the horse!
    3. Ability to look around corners: This is a leader’s secret sauce. Their ability to see around corners to spot hidden trends and changes in the direction of a business.
  • Jack: The compensation system should align with what you want to achieve as a leader.
  • Jack: Performance gets you in the game, aligning with company values gets you promoted. For example: If a manager delivers the numbers, but doesn’t life the company values — BAD, get them out. Long term they will destroy the company. Top performers are people who align with company values and deliver the numbers.

Jack’s final comment was the most important. Candor with your employees and management is the most important thing in business.

What do you think of Jack’s approach and management style?

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