I’ve always picked up quite a bit of management and business knowledge by observing and talking to leaders around me. I’ve been fairly lucky so far and have been regularly surrounded by people who impressed and inspired me. They all helped me in one way or another to get better at what I’m doing.
Another way to get some inspiration and motivation is to read biographies about very successful people in whatever industry they are working in. Jack Welch, is one of these people and his biography Straight from the Gut is a fantastic read !
As you know, Jack is the former GE CEO. During 20 years, he has implemented some very innovative management strategies and leadership style which are covered in the book in the form of advice and autobiographical stories. The book covers his youth and his strong relationship with his parents, his beginnings as an engineer at GE in the 1960s, the tough decisions he had to make during his early years as CEO, business stories about his successes (e-business strategy is a great one) and failures (the purchase of the Kidder Peabody company).
Jack Welch took fairly established strategy (Number 1 and number 2, Six Sigma, e-Business etc.) embraced them and used his extremely high passion to execute at an amazing level. His strong focus on people is also something I put on top of my management strategy (who doesn’t?).
The book can really be read as a novel and I finished (devoured!) it during one long flight to Kuala Lumpur.
Here are a few inspiring quotes from the book:
Legitimate self-confidence is a winner – the true test of self-confidence is the courage to be open.
Understand where real value is added and put your best people there.
Be open to the best of what everyone, everywhere, has to offer; transfer learning across your organisation.
Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach. It lets you take greater risks and achieve far more than you ever thought possible. Building self-confidence in others is a huge part of leadership. It comes from providing opportunities and challenges for people to do things they never imagined they could do.. rewarding them after each success in every way possible.