Tuesday, February 21, 2006

WINNING by Jack Welch

Winning is my latest book which I completed close to two weeks back but then due to some preoccupations was not able to post my experience after reading the book. This is my, If I am not wrong, 7th Management Book, the last being India Unbound which is not very close to a Mangement book but it does have that kind of flavor.

Winning came into the market sometime in May 2005 and I wanted to read the book eagerly, right from the day when I read its review in India Today. I had spotted the book first in the LandMark Stores in Spencer’s Plaza in Chennai. But then it took close to 6 months for the book to come into my hand courtesy one of my friend. Albeit, the edition being partially pirated, the content being more important than the style or the design of the book, I was satisfied.

The book starts off with the favorite theme of every go-getter. Winning Does Matter. The essence of the book lies in the phrase stated above. Jack Welch using his past experiences tries to look into issues which are at the center of winning and which can make or break any game in life whether corporate or social. The book has come out when Jack Welch retired from GE and traveled across the world covering Asia, Africa, Europe, spoke at several places and conferences and had one to one meeting with several professionals on what it takes to WIN.

As with any management thought, the important part is to apply the thought in the real life rather than reading it through and have the pleasure. The real pleasure comes in when the Management idea gets into execution to give some real results. This time I had decided when I would read the book I will apply every idea in the text in my professional life and see whether it really works or not. Believe me it does work in 80 % of the cases.

The book is divided into 5 different parts altogether, which have a central theme that is – What Does it take to Win?. The first part introduction starts by talking about the various aspects of business and theories behind the business functions, the idea of Candor, which Jack Welch strongly advocates, and the issues like Differentiation. The second part of the book talks about the essential elements of Company. How a company should be structured and what are the issues to be kept in mind. It talks about the essentials of business like Leadership, Hiring, Change and Crisis Management. Next section talks about Competition in terms of strategy, budgeting, growth and M&A. The penultimate section in the book is titled “YOUR CAREER” which is one of the unique features of any management books I have seen till now. Generally we do not find a section dedicated specifically to the career. This section starts off by talking about what kind of job is a right job for an individual then the issues in performance appraisal to the issue of a bad boss and finally closing on one of the most important issues of 21st century – How to balance work and family life.

In the last section, Jack Welch talks about some of the questions, which cannot be part of any of the other four chapters mentioned above. Here in he covers issues like Threat of China, Diverity, Regulations like Sarbanes Oxley, Business response to AIDS, His successor Jeff Imelt and How he is doing together with the last question on whether Jack Welch will go to hell or heaven.

One of the topics, which Jack Welch forces the most and deals in extensively, is the issue of CANDOR. Candor is something, which we all will never wish to practice in our live's because we fear it immensely. But I did practice it in my professional life in a situation wherein I felt that the things are not going right and yes it did work it.

All in all, WINNING is a great read and is a must for every individual who looks at good career as a journey and not as a destination.

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