Weekend Leadership Reading: 3/6/20

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Weekends are time when things slow down a little. Your weekend shouldn’t be two more regular workdays. That’s a sure road to burnout. Take time to refresh yourself. Take time for something different. Take time for some of that reading you can’t find time for during the week.

Here are choice articles on hot leadership topics culled from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms. This week there are articles about the life, career, and impact of Jack Welch.

From the New York Times: Jack Welch, G.E. Chief Who Became a Business Superstar, Dies at 84

“Jack Welch, who led General Electric through two decades of extraordinary corporate prosperity and became the most influential business manager of his generation, has died. He was 84.”

When Jack Welch retired, I wrote the following in an opinion piece. “Right now, he looks like a good bet for the CEO hall of fame. But it’s still early. You can’t really judge a CEO’s effectiveness on the day the CEO steps down. You have to wait five or ten years and see if there’s a real impact on competitive advantage and profitability.” Well, it’s been more like twenty years. Let’s see what folks have to say.

From Roland Berger: GE’s legendary CEO Jack Welch on people management in our Think:Act Magazine in 2013

“During his tenure at General Electric, the company’s value rose 4,000 percent. Former GE CEO Jack Welch, one of the most admired and controversial managers of his generation, spoke with Think:Act Magazine in 2013 about leadership and the American and European economies.”

From Steve Forbes: Jack Welch: Managerial Genius Who Made One Disastrous Mistake

“Jack Welch was an extraordinarily successful CEO, who in two decades made GE—a legacy company if ever there was one—the most valuable company on Earth, and then lived long enough to see it all fall apart. When Welch stepped down, GE was the envy of the business world and had a reputation for training superb managers and being a giant with the agility of a ballerina. By the time Welch died, the company had become a stunning symbol of gargantuan strategic mistakes and executive incompetence.”

From Helaine Olen: Jack Welch’s toxic legacy

“Jack Welch, who died Sunday, became chief executive of General Electric in 1981 — barely three months after Ronald Reagan took the oath of office. Like the former president, the former CEO is one of the people responsible for the way we live now. I do not mean that as a compliment in any way.”

From Joe Nocera: GE’s Jack Welch Inflicted Great Damage on Corporate America

“There are well-known people who are vilified during their careers only to seem heroic in retrospect. And then there are others who are lionized in their prime, and only later do we realize how harmful their actions truly were. So it is with Jack Welch, who died on Sunday at the age of 84. I know we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but his effect on American capitalism was too profound — and too destructive — to go unmentioned.”

From the Economist: Captain of industry – Jack Welch transformed American capitalism as boss of GE

“In good ways and bad”

Book Suggestions

In Their Time: The Greatest Business Leaders Of The Twentieth Century by Anthony J. Mayo and Nitin Nohria

Jack: Straight from the Gut by Jack Welch with John Byrne

Winning by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch

Winning: The Answers: Confronting 74 of the Toughest Questions in Business Today by Jack Welch and Suzy Welch

Note: Links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you follow the link and buy a book, I get a small commission.

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