"Jack Welch is arguably the most lauded CEO in the world...Such leading magazines as Time, Fortune, and Business Week all lavished praise upon him. They described him at times as the best CEO in America; at times, these magazines credited GE with being the best-run company in the nation...Welch built GE into the most successful American corporation of the late twentieth century by forging and then implementing a series of business strategies that have become his trademark: Business is simple. Don't make business overly complicated. Face reality. Don't be afraid of change. Fight bureaucracy. Get boundaryless. Use the brains of your workers. Find the best ideas, inside or outside your company, and then put those ideas into practice. These strategies and others have formed the building blocks of Jack Welch's battle for corporate revolution...The Welch strategies have been described in a number of popular business books...Most of these books describe the aforementioned business strategies, and others as well, and give an excellent overview of what Welch and GE have accomplished. What The GE Way Fieldbook sets out to accomplish is not simply to explain the strategies but to offer a blueprint of how other companies can implement those strategies expeditiously and seamlessly in their own business...In contrast with the other fieldbooks, The GE Way Fieldbook is the first of its kind to focus on the inner workings and business strategies of a specific company...While we include much of the GE story throughout the book, the primary objective is to provide a road map for those wishing to implement GE's practices in their own organizations. As a result, most chapters include not only textual material but also self-assessment exercises, action steps, and internal GE documents. It is worth noting that these documents, most of which have been provided by General Electric, have never appeared in book form" (pp.1-2).
In this context, Robert Slater divides his book into two main sections. But, in this review, I only focus on the first section as follows.
I. The GE Way: A Fieldbook for Corporate Revolution: In this section, he focuses on the different GE business strategies and initiatives within four learning modules.
1. The Leadership Module (Chapters 1-4): In this module, Slater explains:
* five characteristics of best quality leaders described by Jack Welch in 1997.
* key GE leadership ingredients-the four E:energy, energizer, edge, and execution-, and authentic leadership model of GE as refined views of Welch on leadership in 1999.
* advices of GE's successful executives to GE's senior and middle-level executives all around the world:
(1) Performance: Focus on current job performance...,
(2) Expertise: Become proficient in one business/technical area...,
(3) Ownership: Don't whine about your career...,
(4) Challenge and Visibility: Take the hard job...,
(5) Mentors/Supporters/Role Models: Broaden your base support...,
(6) Global Experience/Cultural Breadth: Expose yourself and family to different cultures early...,
* GE's assessment-360 degree feedback- and reward policy.
2. The Empowerment Module (Chapters 5-6): In this module, Slater explains:
* Welch's Work-Out model and six basic objectives of this model:
(1) reducing bureaucracy,
(2) improving organizational processes,
(3) empowering employees; reducing vertical boundaries,
(4) breaking down intra-organizational walls,
(5) developing formal alliances or informal relationships with customers,
(6) developing other extra-organizational relationships.
* how GE implements this Work-Out model.
3. The Organization Module (Chapters 7-10): In this module, by providing a series of questionnaires and other self-assessment exercises, Slater explains Welch's boundaryless organization strategy as the GE's emerging culture and the soul of GE's integrated diversity.
4. The Customer Module (Chapters 11-15): In this module, Slater presents a complete picture of GE's Six Sigma program, how it began, how it works, what impact it has had on the company, and what Jack Welch thinks about it. Welch argues that "Six Sigma is the most important management training thing we've ever had. It's better than going to Harvard Business School."
I highly recommend this invaluable guide.