This book is not an autobiography, it is a primer for all people on all levels in business on how to succeed. As he states: “This book offers a road map. It is not, incidentally, a road map for senior level managers and CEO’s. If this book helps them, terrific. I hope it does. But this book is also very much for people on the front lines: business owners, middle managers, people running factories, line workers, college graduates looking for their first jobs, MBAs considering new careers, and entrepreneurs.”
The book is divided into five sections:
Underneath It All this revolves around mission and values, candor, differentiation, voice and dignity.
Your Company – The first topic covered in this section is Leadership. The most valuable chapter in my opinion, it has leadership rules interspersed throughout the chapter. They alone make this chapter worthwhile. Other topics include hiring, people management, and change.
Your Competition – strategy, budgeting etc.
Your Career – the right job, getting promoted, etc.
Tying Up Loose Ends speaks for itself.
As is very clear from the five sections, everything internal and external in the business environment is covered. In utmost detail, and with frankness. This gives the book that feeling of reading something true and real. Which is rare. To give you a feel of the style of the book and Jacks style consider what he says in the Leadership chapter:
“a word on paradoxes. Leadership is full of them.
The granddaddy of them all is the question I often get How can I manage quarterly results and still do whats right for my business five years out?
My answer is, Welcome to the job!
Look, anyone can manage for the short termjust keep squeezing the lemon. And anyone can manage for the longjust keep dreaming. You were made leader because someone believed you could squeeze and dream at the same time. They saw in you a person with enough insight, experience, and rigor to balance the conflicting demands of short- and long-term results.
Performing balancing acts every day is leadership.”
A final word from Jack Welch: I am often asked if leaders are born or made. The answer, of course, is both. Some characteristics, like IQ and energy, seem to come with the package. On the other hand, you learn some leadership skills, like self-confidence, at your mother’s knee, and at school, in academics and sports. And you learn others at worktrying something, getting it wrong and learning from it, or getting it right and gaining the self-confidence to do it again, only better.
Tomorrow: What Great Managers Do
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