“Neutron” Jack – No More

I read the news item about Jack Welch’s passing away last night, just three minutes after it got posted on Times of India news app… I felt sad even though I had never met the man and I had nothing to do with GE. I had never met the man, but I knew all about his work-life like any executive around the world. “The greatest CEO” is how he is remembered for having grown GE’s market value from $12 billion to $410 billion. Phew !!

I have a very different connection to him .. in 2010 I embarked on a journey called the “destiny series” within my business unit in Aon Hewitt. The first year the program was named “Control Your Destiny”. While my coach and guru Venki was instrumental in guiding me and the team through that process, the inspiration for the name and many key elements of the program came from the book “Control your destiny, or someone else will”, written by Noel Tichy on how Jack Welch had brought about the changes in GE’s culture.

We had spectacular results in our business unit over the three years and the three year three part intervention left a huge positive impact on all of us. There are two things that I will remember Jack Welch for – one, his “vitality” curve or the performance-potential curve which has now become a permanent feature in many organisations, though I have reservations about how it is used. Two, the word “candour” resonates with me. The corporate world needs busloads of candour in feedback, in highlighting problems, and in simply being genuine.

For someone who never met the great man to be so influenced by his work, speaks volumes !

RIP Jack … wherever you are am sure neutrons and protons and many other sub-atomic particles are colliding and there is a huge energy cloud around that space. Thanks for the candour.

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