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“Winning” by Jack Welch Essay

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Updated: Apr 1st, 2020

“Winning” is a book by Jack Welch, who was General Electric’s former chief executive officer (CEO). Welch is credited with transforming the giant corporation during his tenure as CEO. “Winning” is a book that Welch wrote four years after he had retired from his position at General Electric (GE) and he credits his wife as a contributor to the book’s authorship. In his book, Welch talks about his management experiences at GE.

The book also offers practical solutions for running an organization with its central theme being ‘how to win’. According to the author of “Wining”, the concept of winning is important to individuals and organizations because it enables them to achieve growth. The claims that are made in the book are supported by the fact that Jack Welch had a forty-year-old career at GE where he rose through the ranks to become the company’s chairman.

During his time at the top, Welch perfected an honest ‘be the best you can be’ style of management. “Winning” emphasizes on a management style that focuses on teamwork, profits, and people. The author of “Winning” says the book was conceptualized during his speaking tours where he had the chance of interacting with more than 250,000 people. This paper is a review of Jack Welch’s “Winning”.

Welch’s book is all about winning both in personal and corporate levels. The author emphasizes that it is possible to win in a fair manner by upholding ethics. In addition, the book emphasizes on the need to incorporate a company’s mission and values into its winning strategy.

Most of the wining principles that are outlined in Welch’s book are not strange to managers and other corporate leaders. Some of the key management principles that are outlined in Welch’s book include the value of differentiation and the benefits of candor. The author also reiterates that a company’s mission and values should not only be displayed in a wall but they should also be an integral part of the organization’s winning strategy.

Welch’s management strategy includes formulas for hiring, firing, leadership, personnel management, crisis management, and change management. The author’s management strategy also outlines the most effective ways of dealing with competition, streamlining a company’s budget, instituting growth, and handling mergers. The doctrine of Six Sigma is also addressed by the Welch in his book.

On matters of personal growth, the author discusses the importance of focusing on an individual career by “finding the right job, getting prompted, and achieving a work-life balance” (Welch, 2005). The most important aspect of “Winning” is the fact that the book focuses on the author’s career and his personal experiences. Nevertheless, the subject matter of the book is not presented in an objective manner. Several people agree that “Winning” is an accurate portrayal of Welch’s work at GE.

Another important lesson in “Winning” is how to manage people. According to Welch, it is important for an organization to grant its human resource department the necessary powers. The reasoning behind a powerful human resource department is that it acts as the core element in the company. The author also suggests that managers should use human resource systems that have been proven and tested. Using tested systems eliminates the margin of error in human resource.

The need to motivate workers and the concept of using money as a motivation tool is also outlined in “Winning”. In addition, the author notes that recognition and training are useful tools in the management of human resource. Another pillar of winning strategies is the ability to confront difficult issues that touch on human resource management. For instance, it is in a manager’s best interest to confront troublemakers and bigheaded individuals in a company.

One interesting aspect of managing people as discussed by Welch is the need to categorize workers in three categories. According to the author, the top workers in the company usually make up twenty percent, the middle group makes up seventy percent, and the bottom group makes up ten percent (Welch, 2005). Differentiating workers in this manner enables managers to keep track of the performances of all workers.

Welch’s book is important to any future manager. The book prepares individuals who are about to venture into the world of corporate management in a number of ways. The most useful idea in the book is the necessity for candor. The society has suppressed the need for candor in most aspects of life.

For instance, most people focus on the need to spare the feelings of other people at the expense of candor. Consequently, the ability to ‘tell it like it is’ is not a valued aspect in most situations. However, Welch observes that candor is a paramount quality in an organization because it creates trust and credibility in a manager.

The author also observes that the lack of candor in an organization is detrimental to an organization because it creates a very toxic environment in an organization. Both the individual and the corporation should embrace the culture of candor in order to achieve trust and transparency. Future managers need to consider candor as an asset and not a liability.

Before assuming leadership positions, it is important for future managers to evaluate leadership. According to Welch, a leader is several things but the most important aspect in a leader is the ability to comprehend the right questions and having the knowledge about where to look for answers.

In “Winning”, the author outlines a total of eight suggestions of the roles that leaders should play in an organization. All these rules are useful to an upcoming manager but some of them carry more weight. For example, the author suggests that leaders should “get into everyone’s skin exuding positive energy and optimism” (Welch, 2005). This rule might appear scary and vulgar to a future manager but is an accurate description of the corporate environment.

Another lesson for future managers according to “Winning” is the need to remain upbeat and maintain a positive attitude. Although this rule sounds simple and straightforward, it is quite hard to put it into practice. The business environment is tough and draining for individuals and it is hard to maintain a positive attitude in such an environment. Nevertheless, future mangers have to find ways of maintaining a positive attitude even in the draining environment of the corporate world.

“Winning” has been hailed as one of the most important management books ever published. Jack Welch borrows knowledge from his four decades of experience in the corporate world and delivers a compelling argument on how to win in the corporate environment. Welch’s book does not forward any complicated ideologies on management.

However, the author uses simple terms and arguments that can resonate with veteran, upcoming, and future managers. “Winning” is a book that can be useful to individuals who wish to hone their management skills irrespective of their level of expertise.


Welch, J. (2005). Winning. New York: Harper Collins.

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