Skip to main content

Jack Welch quotes

Jack Welch

Jack Welch quotes

Quotes by and about Jack Welch

(Continued from his main entry on the site.)

Welch: "I think winning is great. Not good - great. ... Now, it goes without saying that you have to win the right way - cleanly and by the rules. That's a given."

Welch: "My main goal with this book is to help the people with ambition in their eyes and passion running through their veins, wherever they are in an organization."

Welch: "People are everything when it comes to winning, and so this book is a lot about people - in some cases, the mistakes they've made, but more often, their successes. But mostly this book is about ideas and the power of putting them into action."

Welch: "[This book gives] you guidelines to follow, rules to consider, assumptions to adopt, and mistakes to avoid."

Welch: "Don't overbrain things to the point of inaction."

Welch: "Business is a game, and winning that game is a total blast!"

Welch: "Act in a boundaryless fashion - always search for and apply the best ideas regardless of their source. ... Be intolerant of bureaucracy. ... See change for the growth opportunity it brings."

Welch: "People in business talk a lot about mission and values, but too often the result is more hot air than real action. No one wants it that way, but the loftiness and the imprecision inherent in both terms always seem to make it end up like that."

Welch: "Clarity around values and behavior is not much good unless it is backed up. To make values really mean something, companies have to reward the people who exhibit them and 'punish' those who don't."

Welch: "I have always been a huge proponent of candor. ... Too many people - too often - instinctively don't express themselves with frankness. They don't communicate straightforwardly or put forth ideas looking to stimulate real debate. ... Instead they withhold comments or criticism. They keep their mouths shut in order to make people feel better or to avoid conflict, and they sugarcoat bad news in order to maintain appearances."

Welch: "Candor just unnerves people. ... When you tell it like it is, you can so easily create a mess - anger, pain, confusion, sadness, resentment. To make matters worse, you then feel compelled to clean up that mess, which can be awful and awkward and time-consuming. So you justify your lack of candor on the grounds that it prevents sadness or pain in another person, that not saying anything or telling a little white lie is the kind, decent thing to do. But in fact ... classic philosophers like Immanuel Kant give powerful arguments for the view that not being candid is actually about self-interest - making your own life easier. ... Kant had another point, too. He said that people are often strongly tempted not to be candid because they don't look at the big picture. They worry that when they speak their minds and the news isn't good, they stand a strong chance of alienating other people. But what they don't see is that lack of candor is the ultimate form of alienation. ... They actually destroy trust, and in that way, they ultimately erode society."

Welch: "The more polite or bureaucratic or formal [an] organization, the more ... candor will scare and upset people."

Welch: "It just felt natural to [me] to speak openly, argue and debate, and get things done fast."

Welch: "From the day I joined GE to the day I was named CEO, twenty years later, my bosses cautioned me about my candor. I was labeled abrasive and consistently warned that my candor would soon get in the way of my career."