Great leaders have a thirst for knowledge and constantly are looking at ways to move their learning on, constantly reinventing themselves. Management professor Nancy P. Rothbard, from University of Pennsylvania agrees that Welch’s ability to reinvent himself and the company was pivotal to his success. “He pursued not just one major initiative while he headed the company, but a whole host of initiatives, and he focused attention on each of them.”
Welch was an avid reader of the financial and management press and journals. He makes it very clear that it is a leader’s role to be up to date. While truly great leaders are probably born, not made, many good qualities can be embedded in one’s makeup. Welch has gained an insight into leadership that very few alive today can match. This came about through his many roles, the courses he attended, the exposure to Peter Drucker’s thinking (Welch said “The world knows he was the greatest management thinker of the last century,”) and the management training he personally delivered.
Welch is a beacon of practical learning, as he said in one interview, “When you are in the cut and thrust of running a business you will be basing your decisions on your experiences and gut feel, the models you learnt at business school will have no relevance.”
Please read “Winning” by Jack and Suzy Welch.
You may wish also to read an extract from my Winning Leadership Whitepaper, this paper can be purchased from my website.