In November of 2000, The Wall Street Journal asked me to write
an opinion piece on Jack Welch’s choice of a successor. The essay,
entitled Welch’s Successor is likely to Succeed, included the following
proclamation: “Welch has done more to advance the body of
knowledge than any of his contemporaries. He created a new business
lexicon.” This statement planted the seed for this book...that
the very words, terms, and phrases used most often by Jack
Welch, 250 in all, could become the basis for a management book.
Of course, I have more than a passing interest in Jack Welch.
Having spent a decade studying all things Welch and after editing
four books on GE’s CEO and the learning culture he had nurtured,
I had begun, imperceptibly at first, to inculcate Welch’s
tenets into the everyday fabric of my work life.
At McGraw-Hill, the books on Jack Welch that I had acquired and
edited had become something of a phenomenon. Each one outsold
the one that preceded it, and sales were not confined to
North America. Hundreds of thousands of copies were sold and
distributed throughout the world, and not only in English, but in
close to a dozen languages. Thanks to Welch’s sweeping globalization
initiative, GE had a strong presence in all 32 countries in
which McGraw-Hill had an office.