Review: What Made jack welch Jack Welch by Stephen Baum


Though I have not yet read Jack Welch's Straight from the Gut, I picked up this book thinking this could make for a good starter before the main course. Stephen Baum has worked with Booz Allen Hamilton as a Management Consultant for years. Though, sadly, I had this fixated view in my head that management books, usually, are theoretical and useless in the real world. I don't how I got that perception despite of the fact that years ago I had read Lee Iacocca's An Autobiography and it had instilled a new desire inside me to look at things and my career in a different light. Somehow I never read more of them even during my post graduation in management studies! I regret that decision now.

jack welch wasn't Jack Welch till he really applied his skill and intelligence at GE to make it bigger. Stephen Baum has written this book in the simplest of sentences but powerfully bringing out what makes a leader become a Leader. Apart from Welch, he also writes about Ted Turner, Shelly Lazarus, Jim Broadhead, Bernard Schwartz, Joe Uva, Arthur Martinez and many more.

Few of the key messages from the book are: Don't think too much before taking a decision - take it with a presence of mind and then make sure you act to make it the correct one; use your own distinctive leadership style at work; consider the varied experiences you might have in your job as a great opportunity to learn and challenge the status-quo; ethics are very important as a base for your decisions; you won't be alone in your company to do all the work - so motivate your peers and colleagues and have a buy-in from your superiors; stop just thinking and start acting now (tackle problems on the way); look at the big picture and not just your unit or team; have the confidence to take decisions without the fear of going wrong (backed by an immense thirst to read and keep yourself updated with what’s happening elsewhere); and finally - it is not important to be a leader as many employees are happy doing their own individual work throughout their career but if you are thrust or aspire to be in a leadership role then you must be a good one.

I would like to keep the review brisk and simple - apt because the book is such. I recommend it strongly, not just to a leader but to anyone who wants to look at his job in a new motivating way.