I wouldn't have guessed that I'd finish out the year 2007 by giving a talk at an event headlined by Jack Welch, but that's what happened last week when I was a panelist at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, talking to thousands of women who came to hear about career choices, entrepreneurship, and all kinds of other goodies.
Welch was one of the keynote speakers, and while I overheard quite a bit of grumbling from attendees about the fact that a man was giving the keynote address at a women's conference, I personally couldn't care less if he were a man, a woman, or an alien sex. A chance to hear what's on Jack Welch's mind? Sign me up. Here are some of the highlights.
What makes a great leader?
Energy — Leaders are people who love to "go, go, go." They possess boundless energy and get up every day ready to attack the job at hand.
Energizers — Leaders know how to spark/motivate others to perform. They outline a vision and are able to direct other people to carry it out. Energizers know how to get people excited, and they are able to give credit when due and accept responsibility for mistakes.
Edge - Those with edge are competitive types. They know how to make the really difficult decisions, such as hiring, firing and promoting, never allowing the degree of difficulty to stand in their way.
Execute - The key to the entire model. Without measurable results, the other E's are of little use. Executers recognize that activity and productivity are not the same, and they are capable of converting energy and edge into action and results.
Passion — You've got to have passion in your work. If it's not making you wake up happy every day, don't do it.
Networking is Secondary
"Networking is nice, but the key is to OVERDELIVER and make your boss smarter. Show your boss you have what it takes." "Delivering the goods" is huge. Go the extra mile if you want to move up. Do not look for other reasons or ways to get promoted — DELIVER.
"Work life Balance? Who made up that term? There's no such thing! There are work-life CHOICES." Then he told a story of how he pretty much never saw his kids when they were growing up because he made the choice to run GE.
How to Recruit Talent — Things to Look For
1. Authenticity — Are they real?
2. Resilience — Not "if" they get back up on horse, but "how well."
3. See Around the Corner — What's next? Keep your superstars.
Closing tips from Jack
1. Boredom is deadly. Get pushed by your mentors and peers to the next level.
2. Never be satisfied — keep reaching and stretching.
3. See yourself where you want to be. Jack says: "I see myself as 6 foot tall, with hair."