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Farooq Butt @fmbutt
, 10 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
I remember when every manager in large companies scrambled to figure out how they could be more like Jack Welch and thus succeed wildly…
Welch was almost canonized as being the most strategic visionary ever. The most prestigious business schools lauded him and his approach to running GE.…
Companies rushed to emulate Welch. Some, like Tyco tried to become GE. Others like Motorola tried to save themselves by importing GE managers. Both these approaches ended in tears and wailing.

Meanwhile..the business schools and press continued to shower praise on Jack.
The only real exceptions to GE-worship (God bless em) were Silicon Valley companies. To my knowledge, no real techco in the Valley succumbed to GEism with the possible exception of hugecos like HP. It was always refreshing in those days to come to Cupertino and hear "Jack, who?"
It's interesting to note that the Silcon Valley cos focused on real innovation ended up running circles around GE. As software starting eating the world, GE was utterly defenseless. No software engineer worth anything wanted to work at GE. GE repelled engineering talent.
For a while, a cold house can be warmed nicely by burning the couch and kitchen table but eventually you end up with a cold house, no furniture and a huge mess.

That's GE today.

Their famed "strategy" turned out to simply be: burning the furniture.…
Welchian GE spawned off several toxic ideas but one of the very worst was "rank and yank" which takes a collaborative culture and turns it into warring tribes. This pretty much destroyed the deep engineering culture at Motorola:…
Enabled by shareholders, business schools and consultants, GE culture was like a destructive forest fire that raged in certain sectors of American business. Companies that had created immense value but were momentarily in trouble with their stock price fell victim to GEism.
GEism was so powerful that even people associated with Welch were lauded as heroes. Their tenures at other companies were...less than magnificent:

Home Depot:…

There's a lot more, perhaps even a book on the many wrong things about GE and GEism. Ultimately, GE was a Greek tragedy about hubris.

GE thought they'd figured it all out.

Many experts agreed with them.

They were badly wrong.

Like Icarus so long ago, they fell.

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