I just read my first Jack Welch book – Straight from the Gut. While his points are interesting and have become standard business practice: the vitality curve, etc., I was left with a different impression than the one that gets sold to the world; captain of industry – trend setter – business icon.
In the end, I could only think: Nice life Jack. I do not admire you.
1. He worked all the time. He often referred to his work schedule of in the office early, traveling often, going on marathon business reviews (as a regular part of the business – ending at 8 or 9PM and then going out for drinks).
2. He constantly talked about how his first wife did a great job of ‘raising the kids’. Good business man – absent father, it would appear. I wonder if they will grow up to be titans of business or ticked off youth who never want to be like their workaholic dad.
3. That great wife divorced him. As he put it, they had grown apart. I wonder why? Good for you Jack. You built a great company. You are famous and rich. You have a second wife who you are close too (He refers to the fact that she can talk business with him). But at what cost?
4. When he did have time to spend with the kids, what did he do? He went off to the club to golf every Saturday morning.
For me, no thanks. I often see executives who are leading companies or divisions and doing it at a break neck pace – traveling everywhere, doing all kinds of dinners with clients and long night business reviews and I honestly do not know if it is worth it. On the other side, I see people running companies and doing it in a completely different way (balanced), and I admire those business people.
To be successful in business WHILE being successfully at home is – in my mind – the ultimate accomplishment.
Sorry Jack – I read your book and in the end, you and I are on different pages.

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