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An autobiography, Jack: Straight From The Gut provides John F. Welch, Jr. the opportunity to guide us through not only his time spent as Chairman and CEO during a forty-one year career with General Electric (GE), but also his early years,

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Introduction

JACK: STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT By Jack Welch with John A. Byrne Scott Stoddard October 11, 2001 WHMP501 JACK: STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT By Jack Welch with John A. Byrne Overview: An autobiography, Jack: Straight From The Gut provides John F. Welch, Jr. the opportunity to guide us through not only his time spent as Chairman and CEO during a forty-one year career with General Electric (GE), but also his early years, and his family life outside of GE. From his days as a first grader growing up in Salem, Massachusetts playing gin with his beloved mother, to his welcoming of Jeff Immelt as his successor as CEO, Welch describes in fast moving detail his thoughts, feelings, wins, and losses, all in chronological order. As a child Welch respected and admired his father, but cherished his mother and maintained a bond with her that he references long after her death in 1965. She imparted him with enormous self-confidence and leadership skills that he developed early and kept with him through high school, his undergraduate years at the University of Massachusetts, graduate school at the University of Illinois, and ultimately throughout his time with GE. ...read more.

Middle

Welch describes in game-like fashion his position of underdog against eight other GE executives under consideration for the job. "We were all working our butts off trying to differentiate ourselves."2 Welch ultimately wins the game but vows to himself to select his successor in a different and more fair way, if at all possible. He would get that chance in a process he began in 1994 when he asked his VP for executive development to put together a list of attributes for the "ideal CEO"3 "The specs were filled with skills and characteristics you'd want: integrity/values, experience, vision, leadership, edge, stature, fairness, and enery/balance/courage."4 Those that filled this criteria totaled 23, but were whittled down to eight serious candidates by 1998. In 2000 Welch formally announced the three final candidates, but took an unprecedented bold step in naming each of their replacements. This ensured that GE would lose two top executives after naming one to become the new CEO, but was done to provide the new leader 100% confidence that he was in charge and would have no reason to have to look over his shoulder. ...read more.

Conclusion

to energize others around common goals, the edge to make tough yes-and-no decisions, and finally, the ability to consistently execute and deliver on their promises."6 I understand what he looks for and strive hard to emulate that image. In my opinion, hearing his basis and rationale for creating this culture further enhances people's abilities to thrive in it. My final takeaway involves that of integrity. Welch begins and ends the book with this theme and mentions it many times throughout. I've heard him mention it many times previously, but he drives it home with such passion and conviction here in his memoirs. "I never had two agendas. There was only one way-the straight way."7 With no regrets and apologies to none, the business world certainly has not heard the last of Jack Welch. Endnotes 1. Jack Welch and John A. Byrne, Jack: Straight From The Gut (New York: Warner Business Books, 2001), 156. 2. Ibid., 79. 3. Ibid., 409. 4. Ibid. 5. Holman W. Jenkins Jr., "Life According To Jack Welch," The Wall Street Journal, 21 September 2001, sec.W, p. 12. 6. Welch, 158. 7. Ibid., 381. ...read more.

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