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TitleJack Welch
Author
LanguageEnglish
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Total Pages385
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Document Text Contents
Page 2

Jack
Welch

with Suzy Welch

WIN

Page 192

YOUR COMPETITION

him a great salesman with customers, who shared his enthusiasm
for every new technological advance.

Lloyd and Brian were both a case of perfect fit—right for their
jobs, right for the business situation, right for the strategy. You
won’t always get that lucky, and strategy can get implemented
without an ideal match.

But you’re much better off with one.

BEST PRACTICES AND BEYOND

I’ve heard it said that best practices aren’t a sustainable competitive
advantage because they are so easy to copy. That’s nonsense.

It is true that, once a best practice is out there, everybody can
imitate it, but companies that win do two things: they imitate and
improve.

Admittedly, imitating is hard enough. I remember a software
company executive at one Q & A session lamenting, “My people
don’t copy very well. They just don’t want to—they like the way
they do it.”This reluctance to imitate is a common phenomenon.
Maybe it’s just human nature.

But to make your strategy succeed, you need to fix that mind-
set—and go a lot further.

In fact, the third step of strategy is all about finding best prac-
tices, adapting them, and continually improving them. When you do
that right, it’s nothing short of innovation. New product and
service ideas, new processes, and opportunities for growth start to
pop out everywhere and actually become the norm.

Along with getting the right people in place, best practices are
all part of implementing the hell out of your big aha, and to my
mind, it’s the most fun.

It’s fun because companies that make best practices a priority are
thriving, thirsting, learning organizations. They believe that every-

� 184 �

Page 193

STRATEGY

one should always be searching for a better way. These kinds of com-
panies are filled with energy and curiosity and a spirit of can-do.

Don’t tell me that’s not a competitive advantage!
Back in the old days—after World War II and before global

competition—most industrial companies, GE included, were
stuck in a not-invented-here (NIH) mind-set. The focus was on
their own inventors, with plaques and bonuses reserved for the
people who came up with and implemented original ideas.

Once the ’80s arrived, we had no choice but to radically
broaden the NIH mind-set, and we did so by celebrating people
who not only invented things, but found great ideas anywhere and
shared them with everyone in the company. We came to call this
behavior “boundarylessness.” This awkward word basically
described an obsession with finding a better way—or a better
idea—whether its source was a colleague, another GE business, or
another company across the street or on the other side of the globe.

The impact of boundaryless thinking on our strategy imple-
mentation was enormous. Here’s just one example:

GE was always trying to improve its working capital usage;
we were always using too much, and increasing our inventory turns
would help. But try as we might with all sorts of programs and
tweaks, we just couldn’t seem to get our annual turns above four.

In September 1994, Manny Kampouris was scheduled to speak
at a dinner for the top thirty leaders in our company. At the time,
Manny was the chairman and CEO of American Standard, the
global plumbing and air-conditioning supply company and one of
the largest customers of our motors business.

You couldn’t help but notice that Manny wore a lapel pin
emblazoned with the number “15” at its center. And soon
enough, we all knew why.

For most of his talk that night, Manny regaled us with stories of
how they had drastically improved inventory turns at American

— 185 —

Page 384

Copyright

WINNING. Copyright ' 2005 by Jack Welch, LLC. All rights
reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright
Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been
granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and
read the text of this e-book on-screen. No part of this text may be
reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse
engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage
and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether
electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented,
without the express written permission of PerfectBound�.

PerfectBound� and the PerfectBound� logo are trademarks of
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Adobe Acrobat eBook Reader March 2005 ISBN 0-06-079621-9

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Welch, Jack, 1935-
Winning / Jack Welch with Suzy Welch.�1st ed.

p. cm.
Includes index.

Page 385

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