Gone But Not Forgotten

Yesterday, the business world lost one of its greats, as Jack Welch passed. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from Jack through his books, talks, and of course, studying the way he did things. I’ve often found inspiration for a pressing client problem in a “Welch-ism”. 

Years ago Jack and I both spoke at the same event in Austin, Texas. Welch was revered for his insights and wisdom in the modern business world.

Over the years, I’ve shared some of those lessons in tidbits, and today I’m going to round up the most popular of those places where a Welch idea provided a critical “a-ha”.

Here are a few of my favorite Jack Welcome mentions.

In the first post titles How to Tell Your Customers They’re Wrong I share a classic customer service test I’ve done with a number of clients to see just how well your company is prepared to deal with crazy requests.


In the next post titled What Business Are You Really In? Are You Sure? You’ll learn where Jack spent over 30% of his time while he was the CEO of GE, and why most CEOs aren’t spending even a percentage or two on this important point.


In the third post titled Your Strategic Genius is Useless in The Face of This I share a story about how Jack was readily prepared for the loss of key talent. Even more valuable, I provide a simple challenge that you can do today to prepare yourself for the inevitable.,


I’ll finish this off with one of my favorite Welch-isms of all time, on his view of managing short-term profit & long-term growth which is highly applicable my the Tuesday Tidbit audience:  

“I always thought any fool could do one or the other. Squeezing costs out at the expense of the future could deliver a quarter, a year, maybe even two years, and it’s not hard to do. Dreaming about the future and not delivering in the short term is the easiest of all. The test of a leader is balancing the two.”

Your challenge today is to reflect on that thought.

Many leaders get caught too far on one side of that equation. For some, their long term plans are incredible, but the company will never be able to reach them due to poor performance in the short term.  For others, they’ve been able to eke out decent profits or growth over the past five years, but have no plans in place to thrive (or even survive) in the changing markets over the next 10-20 years.  

Jack would say that both are short-sighted – that you need to reach to find a way to continue reaching for the stars without putting yourself out of business.