Welch’s 3 Pillars of Success

“I gave my boss’ boss a picture of the industry…I think that’s how I got noticed…”

Business icon Jack Welch provides his three points of light to succeeding in business: (i) over-deliver; (ii) stay positive and (iii) don’t announce your ambition on your forehead like a neon light.

  • First, if you just do what the boss asks you do to do, you will just be confirming what the boss already knows
    • By over-delivering, you’ll be providing new perspective
    • In academia, schools ask you a (question) to be answered… you don’t get questions in business, you must develop a wider perspective
    • In his first job, as a project manager in a little plastics operation, Welch was tasked with presenting his project for a new plastic to his boss’ boss
    • Welch didn’t talk about his project alone, but rather in context with the industry as a whole, including the direction of his company’s competitors over the ensuing five-year period
    • “I didn’t just give him my project report…I gave him perspective and made him look smarter…he now knew more about the industry than he ever knew”
  • Secondly, you must maintain a positive attitude
    • No one wants a black cloud hanging over them all day…it’s a career killer
  • Lastly, temper your ambition…be ambitious, but not so much so that it’s plastered on your forehead like a neon sign
    • Do it privately…have all the ambition in the world, but don’t rub it in everyone’s nose