Methods in Madness: Leadership, Corporate Culture and Jack Welch

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Cultivating a high performance corporate culture is often the dream of any business leader. Depending upon their leadership style, most business leaders align their corporate leadership strategy more to business revenue objectives than people orientation. Through the decades, this has led to quite a lot of complicated organizational models, many of which are based on business and revenue objectives of the organization and influenced heavily by the motivation of the leadership to grow larger and faster than focusing on the employees who actually make it happen.

What are the key concerns of leadership in this digital age? Some research into the lead
ership of the world’s largest corporation throw up the following interesting insights about the current areas of concern:

  1. Not enough focus on talent development
  2. Managing Regulation and compliance functions while remaining competitive:
  3. Implementation and Integration of Best Practices

Good leadership traits and skills in the CEO has largely been an antidote to these problems, as senior management and corporate leaders increasingly focus on breaking the traditional models of governance and tread new territories in adding value to every stakeholders’ time. The classic case being that of Jack Welch, the towering leader who turned around one of the world’s largest and most respected corporations and also wrote a bestselling book  about it, which is considered a bible by business and corporate leaders today.

A brief look at some of his incredible achievements speaks a lot about leadership vision in the twenty first century:

  • Jack Welch increased the market value of GE from 12 billion USD in 1981 to 280 billion USD in 1998.
  • He made around 600 acquisitions into new emerging markets
  • He brought about a sense of informality to the largely structured and bureaucratic work environment at GE, increasing the average employee productivity manifold.

These are lessons in corporate leadership that are as relevant today for a visionary and aspiring business leader, even as the corporate world undergoes a digital transformation. Clarity of thought, minimal bureaucracy at the leadership level and seamless communication in every aspect while maintaining a lean organization is a recipe for success in the brave new business leadership world.