To many expert observers, Jack Welch (who served as CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001) was the “Manager of the Century,”  as he was called by Fortune. According to 60 Minutes, the value of GE stock rose by 4,000!!!! percent during Welch’s tenure as CEO.

Since his retirement from GE, Welch has not been idle on the business front — far from it. He has been involved with business education, done speaking engagements, authored/co-authored books, served on corporate boards, and done a whole more.

Recently, Jack and Suzy Welch contributed an essay on “6 things that distinguish great companies from average ones” for Business Insider:

  1. “Great companies demonstrate a real commitment to continuous learning.”
  2. “Great companies are meritocracies.”
  3. “Great companies not only allow people to take risks but also celebrate those who do.”
  4. “Great companies understand that what is good for society is also good for business.”
  5. “Great companies keep their hiring standards tight.”
  6. “Great companies are profitable and growing.”

Click the image for an explanation of each of the above points.

Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images


6 Replies to “Jack Welch: What Makes Great Firms Great”

  1. Personally, I feel that companies that are actually great and successful are those that developed a working culture or environment that is unique and focus more on keeping the talented and capable employees rather than just profit. For example, Google provided a environment to cater the needs of its employees as much as possible, while Airbnb has the unique feature of producing a cozy environment for its employees. These companies realized that through keeping the talents in the company is much more important than just striving for profit as talents are hard to find and as long as these talents stay in the company, they will help assist in the overall growth and development of the company that brings back profits and better market recognition as return.

  2. I have to admit that those 6 things really make the company expand and survive. I think the 3rd one is pretty interesting because the great companies do not want to take their own company into risk, however, they still celebrate this behavior. Does this means risk is necessary?

  3. I am of the opinion that those 6 things are really penetrating, those not only to help people distinguish great companies from average ones, but also can guide companies how to survive and develop. A powerful company must have sustained growth in revenue and profit, revenue increased from ever fount new ideas and product innovation, profit growth comes from the improvement of labor productivity. In addition, I also believe that a great company must have great managers, they must love their employees, embrace their employees, and motivate their employees.

  4. Jack Welch made great points in his essay. “Great companies not only allow people to take risks but also celebrate those who do.” His third remark is a great quote and a great way of improving a firm.

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