● Maintain your integrity. Establish your integrity and never waver from it. People might not have agreed with Welch on every issue, but they always knew they were getting it straight and honest. He never had two agendas; there was only one way — the straight way.
● Set the tone for your company. The organization takes its cue from the person on top. Welch always told GE’s business leaders their personal intensity deter- mined their organization’s intensity — how hard they worked and how many people they touched would be emulated a thousand times over.
● Maximize your organization’s intellect. Getting every employee’s mind into the game is a huge part of what being a CEO is all about; taking their best ideas and transferring them to others is the secret. Be open to the best of what everyone, every- where, has to offer, then transfer that learning across the organization.
● Put people first, strategy second. Getting the right people in the right jobs is a lot more important than developing a strategy — this truth applies to all kinds of businesses. Without the right leaders in place, the best, most forward-thinking strategies in the world will amount to little.
● Stress informality. Bureaucracy strangles; informality liberates. Creating an informal atmosphere is a competitive advantage. It isn’t about first names, unassigned parking spaces, or casual clothing; it is about making sure everybody counts, and everybody knows they count. Passion, chemistry and idea flow from any level at any place are what matter. Everybody’s wel- come and expected to go at it.
● Be self-confident. Arrogance is a killer, and wearing ambition on one’s sleeve can have the same effect; legitimate self-confidence, however, is a winner. The true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open o welcome change and new ideas, regardless of their source. Self-confident people also are not afraid to have their views challenged; they relish the intellectual com- bat that enriches ideas.
● Appraise all the time. Whether you are handing out a stock option, giving a raise, or simply bumping into someone in the hallway, always let your people know where they stand.
● Mind your culture. If your company joins forces with another through merger or acquisition, establish the new entity’s culture on day one, to minimize confusion and root out resistance to your goals.
● Recognize the benefits of speed. By acting decisive- ly on people, plants and investments, Jack Welch was able to get out of the pile very early in his career at GE. Yet, upon his retirement 40 years later, one of his greatest regrets was that he hadn’t acted fast enough on a number of occasions. He never regretted taking quick action.
● Forget the Zeros. The entrepreneurial benefits of being small — agility, speed and ease of communication — are often lost in a big company. Welch’s experience in plastics enabled him to come to the job of CEO knowing that isolating small projects and keeping them out of the mainstream was a smart thing to do. By focusing on such projects as separate, smaller business- es, the people involved were more energized, adventurous and backed by the right resources.
Jack Welch: Straight from the gut