Jack Welch’s HR Practices
The late CEO of General Electric (1981-2001) is not a resource most startup Founders think of naturally.
Isn’t GE the corporate behemoth par excellence, a textbook example of the inertia, complexity, and internal politics that startups should keep clear of?
Despite its size, the GE of Welch, and to some degree of his successor, Jeff Immelt, has a lot to offer to Founders experiencing fast growth.
After all, GE was the first large company to embrace the Lean Startup philosophy and methodology, even inspiring Eric Ries’s second book, “The Startup Way.”
As we discuss what value VCs can add to the startups they invest in, Jack Welch’s “Bottom 10% Rule” cannot be ignored.
Any company, regardless of its size, thrives only because the people who work there execute a well-thought strategy. You don’t need to have only “A” Players, but you always need to have the optimal mix of skills.
It’s even more true for startups, especially when they are still small. One bad hire can set back your execution plan by months, and burn through your precious cash pile.
Watch the interview with Gary Vaynerchuck and his wife Suzy Welch, then read the additional material to understand how Welch’s HR practice can help you influence the Founders you work with.
What did you think of these principles? How much of it applies to the startup environment, in your view? Why, or why not?
💬 Let us know in the Comments section below.
👀 Sources and Additional Material
- A short “work obituary” of Welch that faithfully conveys the entirety of his Bottom 10% approach (Havard Business Review)
- A contrarian view, because we like to give you both sides of an argument as often as we can (Creative Artisan)
- “Let’s hear it for B Players“, a transformative article that was circulated by Welch’s successor Jeff Immelt to all of GE’s leadership in 2003 (Harvard Business Review)
- If you want to know more about Welch, one of the most influential business figures of the 20th Century (New York Times)
- How GE Applies Lean Startup (Harvard Business Review)
- An interview between Eric Ries and Beth Comstock, who led the Learn Startup initiative at GE