Book Review: WINNING;Jack Welch

October 05, 2021

                                NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 2015



      “If you don't have a competitive advantage, don't compete.”  


GENRE Management Guide (Non Fiction)

AUTHOR Jack Welch and Suzy Welch




 Jack Welch was the chairperson and chief executive officer of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. Under him , company dramatically increased the market value  from $14 billion to $410 billion. Jack Welch holds the reputation as one of the top CEOs of all times. Fortune dubbed him "Manager of the Century" in 1999. On retirement, GE awarded him a severance estimated at $415 million, the largest ever at the time. Welch died on March 1, 2020, at the age of 84. He also started an institute named Jack Welch Management Institute in 2009 which is a non-profit online education.



The book, Winning, is a management guide on how to run a billion-dollar company diversified across the globe, to conduct leadership and build an excellent career. The author discusses and solves the problem people face in balancing personal and professional life. The book is for those who are tired of theoretical management concepts and wants genuine professional advice.

Winning is subdivided into four sections:

  • The Base of Everything.
  • Your Company.
  • The Competitors.
  • Your Career. 

The first part discuses what drives the managerial decisions. The base of everything is the value that company is expected to produce. This is further derived by the philosophy of leaders. To exemplify, the author discusses the mission of GE from 1981 to 1995: "to be the competitive company in the world. Either be number one or two, else leave the market."

To strengthen this, the author dives into the deeper prospects of organization, where leaders responsibility is to transfer the values at strategical and tactical front. The message of the board of directors must reach the bottom pyramid of organization. To do this, selection of right people is imperative. Therefore, staff selection process becomes pivotal. Jack Welch further amplifies on some methods, such as "The nine test" and "The 4-E and 1-P model".
Jack Welch, throughout his career, considered employees as the greatest assets to  organization and their management is as important as customers. Being a multinational corporation, GE always remained vigilant to celebrate the cultural diversities. The management structure and decisions designed suiting the demography. 

General Electric was one of the earliest companies to successfully establish six sigma philosophy for quality management. It created the required competitive advantage against other players. The author remained a firm believer of six sigma till the end of his career.

The final part covers the advice to professionals on how to choose the right career. When taking a job, analyze  the company as a whole including your team, tasks, salary and career plan. He says, "in order to win, people must earn the merit."


Did you study management in your academics? If you have, you must be aware about Philip Kotler, Peter Drucker, Robert Cialdini and W. Edwards Deming. Jack Welch's Winning is also on the similar lines. But there is a catch . There is a huge difference between him and the rest. Unlike others, who were management consultants or academic professors, Jack Welch knowledge is derived by running a company, a billion dollar multinational company. You see what I mean? These teachings aren't philosophical but empirical. 
Even though, we might be aware about management tools pertaining to marketing, human resources or operations. He words holds the ground as it was successfully implemented under his leadership. Creating mathematical models and running simulation is one thing and making it operational is another thing. 
This is why I must recommend this book to everyone.
To witness an enterprise from macro level is a whole different perspective. Those who are in other domains will also get to learn a lot as the tools and teachings are time tested to be applied in any form of organization.







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