CHAPTER   4

Lead change

Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.1

—JAMES A. BALDWIN

ASK ANY BUSINESSPERSON to name a superstar CEO, and Jack Welch’s name is likely to be one of the first mentioned. He became the chairman and CEO of General Electric in 1981 and held that position for two decades. During his tenure, GE’s sales increased fourfold, and its market capitalization increased from $13 billion to several hundred billion!2 Those are two of the reasons why, in 1999, Fortune magazine named him “Manager of the Century.”3

Getting his leaders to change by facing reality was one of the hallmarks of Welch’s early years as CEO. He did that by telling and ...

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