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Issue of November 2004 

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The Welchian formulae

Title: Get Better or Get Beaten
Author: Jack Welch
Publisher: Tata McGraw Hill
Pages: 194 Price: Rs. 195/-

There are many books on General Electric's Jack Welch and his leadership principles out there. When examined closely, these are more of Six Sigma than anything else. The second edition of Robert Slater's Get Better or Get Beaten will help show that there's more to Welch than just Six Sigma.

While Six Sigma is a major contribution of Welch, the reality is that this is just a miniscule part of his philosophy. When he took control of the company in 1981, GE was resisting the inevitable change required to overcome the new market conditions. Welch discovered that to survive it is necessary for GE's companies to become the market leader in order to survive. This led to a corporate reorganization that saw GE getting out of loss making businesses and trimming down in terms of manpower.

While this did cause a lot of bad press for Welch at that time, he was proved right some years down the line. This was the time when GE emerged as a corporate heavyweight in the global arena. Robert Slater has presented 29 leadership secrets culled from Welch's experiences to illustrate how a leader can evolve his teams and the organization to get the best out of it.

Written in simple language, the book details ways to deal with change, improve productivity and initiatives to sustain growth. This is a good book to get a gist of the Welch school of thought without getting entangled in unwanted jargon.

- Anil Patrick R

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