The reason GE was so successful under Jack Welch's leadership is because he gets employee engagement. I've been a big fan of his ever since reading his book "Winning". If you haven't read it, do so asap.
Well last night he was on Hannity on Fox News talking about this new "stimulus" (pork) package that was passed (by zero Rep) yesterday. And again I was reminded why I think this man is so smart. He gets it. Read the following transcript from a part of the interview:
WELCH: My complaint is about the way they've invested in companies. They're investors in the automotive industry, in the banks, over $100 million in AIG, and they're not acting like investors. They're acting like prosecutors. So what they've done is taken my money, your money, thrown it into these companies, and now they're saying you can't merge, you can't give bonuses, you can't do this, you can't go to the Super Bowl.
You can't do these things.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this because.
WELCH: They've got to be out rallying these employees.
HANNITY: You ran one of the biggest best companies in America. You had to make profits for you shareholders. You ought to be successful. Government has bankrupted Social Security, Medicare. They're going into huge debt here, they've destroyed our educational system.
Why should I have any faith the government can solve this economic problem? Why?
WELCH: Yes, but Sean, let's take this -- what I'm talking about. We spent the money, your money and my money. Now I don't want to just leave it there. It'd be like buying a house, and then because you didn't like your neighbors burning the house, not painting it, not doing anything with it.
Sean, we've got to take the AIG's and the banks and Detroit, and we've got to support -- if you don't like the CEOs, throw them out. If you don't like the -- throw him out. But you want to take care of the employees, bill those companies, and we get our money back.
I highlighted my favorite parts of the interview. Employee Engagement. Welch knows that the way for a company to be profitiable and to succeed is to support and reward the employees. He knows that if we invested in the employees, the high performers, we would all get our investment back from these businesses.
He talks a great deal about what he terms 'diversification' in his book Winning. And it makes such perfect sense to me. You reward the hard workers, the high performers, with bonuses, perks, etc. You give them training opportunities and development opportunities. Those high performers in return will work harder, be more engaged, pass up on an opportunity to leave to a competitor...
So when I saw Jack on Hannity last night, I was thrilled to see that once again he pushes for engaging employees - he understands that you can't just throw money at a company and expect it to turn around. It's about the employees - "take care of the employees". You take care of and engage employees, you get better customer service and better results overall.