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am 23. Juni 2000
Slater's book can be compared to other books written about famous and successful leaders. Its goal is to take lessons from the behavior of an individual leading a large firm during a successful period. What makes it different from many other books is that Jack Welch was still in power when it was written and the author had the privilege to meet him on a regular basis and to interview most of the senior management of GE.
Slater has selected a few management principles frequently mentioned by Welsh and demonstrates how they are applied on an every day basis inside GE worldwide. The outcome is rather convincing. Welch relies on a few basic principles that he is consistently teaching to his employees and applying when he has something to decide on. Welch's leadership philosophy can be summarized by: "Select a few extremely simple and strong messages, repeat them all the time and justify all important decisions by them in order to convince everybody that you are right and consistent." As much as the value and the quality of the principles, in turns out that Welch's success is also built on an heavy communication exercise. The real quality and originality of some messages might be questionable but for sure Welsh's persistence in repeating them is rather unique. Given the diversity of the core businesses of GE worldwide, Welch sometimes appears more to act as a management consultant than a CEO involved in day to day business.
All in all, this book is well documented and provides a good presentation of successful leadership principles. On the negative side, one can wonder if the obvious success of GE is only due to the strength and simplicity of Welch's messages. One would also have expected a little more distance from the author and a more critical point of view. Slater obviously admires Welch and the book sometimes sounds like a commercial for GE and his boss. Welch often says "Face reality" and by interviewing more employees at a lower management level, the author might have been able to draw a more objective picture.
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This is Robert Slater's third book about Jack Welch, who has achieved almost mythic status in his 17 years as CEO of GE, making the company the wolds most valuable. This new book focuses on the lessons all businesses can learn from how Welch transformed GE from a manufacturing to a service centered business by embracing change, creating a boundaryless organization focussing on globalization and emphasizing communication. Slater is a Welch fan. I would also recommend reading Thomas F. O'Boyles muckraking work AT ANY COST, JACK WELCH, GENERAL ELECTRIC and THE PURSUIT OF PROFIT as an antidote to boosterism and an insight to the darker side and human cost of radical change in a giant corporation. After you have finished with Welch and GE read the refreshing 2000 PERCENT SOLUTION by Mitchell, Coles, and Metz for a wealth of information and freeing your organization from common practices that stall growth. Welch examples may inform us but Mitchell, Coles and Metz give us a blueprint for achieving success in our businesses and organizations and involving our employees in the process of exponential growth
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am 18. Juli 2001
This book is not bad. It is actually a good example of how Jack Welch applied all those well-known leadership techniques (develop a vision for change and communicate it as much as you can, empower your constituents, encourage the heart, etc.). However, Slater repeats himself constantly. The book could have been cut down to half using a better structure. What I miss most, though, is that it never says anything about Jack Welch's background. I would have liked to learn more about how he made it all the way to the top and what incidents or people in the past made him become the man he is. Apparently, he has a PhD in Chemical Engineering. This is not mentioned once in the book.
Plus the language is not very consistent (he's switching between "the author" and "I" or between "other companies" and "your company"). That can be quite annoying sometimes.
Other than that, it is still worth reading - I learned a lot. I haven't read any other books on Jack Welch so I don't know if I got the right one here. But I guess this one is ok.
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am 3. Januar 1999
I've read countless business biographies and books on leadership. Slater wrote "Get Better or Get Beaten!, the 31 Jack Welch Secret's to Leadership" and this is just the long version of it. It is barely readable, as it is obvious Slater is personally involved with his subject and cannot be objective. This is unfortunate and causes the reader to "take away" (a Welchism) absolutely no sense of the man, Jack Welch, let alone to care about his ideas on leadership or "the GE way". Too much "way to go Jack Welch" quotes and not enough content. You can skip both of these books if you are looking for insights into great leadership. If your goal IS to read a book with some great insights on leadership, I highly recommend the fine books on leadership by CEO's James Autry and/or Max DePree. These books will make you think and do things differently after having read them versus Slater's leadership cheerleader dribble. Save your money folks!
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am 7. Dezember 1999
This is a book about WINNING and not simply being competitive. To Jack Welch, winning isn't everything, it is the ONLY thing and this has certainly captured the imagination of the author. All too many executives in the world today are on the yellow brick road - searching for a heart, searching for a brain, and searching for courage. Hopefully, this book will enable many of today's losing executives to understand that winning is not driven by the notion of how far one can get their head up their rear-end. I believe that obviating the problem of executive-level cranial rectitis most assuredly was a goal of this author. In this regard I loved the book!
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am 16. September 1998
Do not buy this book if you are looking for new insights into what makes Welch a great leader and GE a great company. I found its stories too shallow and overly complementary to Welch (almost as though they were written by GE's public relations folks.)
Noel Tichy's book "Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will" while somewhat dated is a much better read.
I cannot wait for a critical evaluation of GE's successes and failures, that includes lessons that other managers can apply in their companies. This book certainly does not get me there.
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am 22. August 1998
While this book provides readers with some worthwhile insights about the GE culture and its leader, its uncritical and somewhat superficial approach can be grating to a reader seeking solid insights. GE, of course, is a great company and Jack Welch is a true business leader, but somehow I sense an inconsistency between the purported values of this organization and the actual clone-like behaviour of its leadership (and supporters). This book won't provide you with too many 'ah-has' but it still has value if you want to peer into the GE style of communicating
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am 31. März 1999
The content of this book is terrific, provided you zero in on the key things Jack Welch imparts in his own words. The author, unfortunately, was so enamored with Mr. Welch, that he became a cheerleader, defender, and clarifier of Jack's positions. If there is one guy who needs none of those things, it is certainly Jack Welch. As a Jack Welch disciple, I confess I would have preferred the Dragnet and Sargent Joe Friday approach of "The facts. Nothin' but the facts." They were certainly in there, but I didn't need Mr. Slater to explain them to me.
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am 26. Februar 1999
While not a rave, it is always worthwhile to read the stories of the very successful. Jack Welch is without question a revolutionary businessman, and his story is well told here. The book itself was typical of its type (the writing was lackluster), what makes it special is the ideas behind the words.
Don't look for this book if you want a cultish depiction of Jack Welch, the Man the Myth the Legend. Instead, read this as a business owner might and apply its lesons to your corner of the world.
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am 26. September 1999
There is no doubt about it, Jack Welch is one of the best CEO's ever. I put a low rating on the book. I couldn't stand the style. Half the book is quotes from a Welch speech...which is fine. However, the other half is just paraphrasing everything Jack says to a "T". Very very very very very very very redundant. You can get great take-aways from Jack's style. Unfortunately you have to read through the entire book. It's 10 pages of great leadership skills packed into 300+ pages.
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