Jack Welch Led Gossip Sessions

With typical candor and color, Jack Welch said, “We always had one hell-of-ah gossip session after every meeting.” (ELP, 2011, NYC)

At least two things happened at meetings Jack Welch attended. First, the agenda happened. Second, and more importantly, an H.R. meeting happened during and after.

During meetings Jack and his team looked through the conversation and paid attention to the people in the room.

After meetings, they sat around “gossiping” about the participants of the previous meeting – the meeting after the meeting.

I’ve heard of the meeting before the meeting to organize and plan outcomes. But I’d never heard of the meeting after the meeting; at least not like the one Jack described.

Gossip sessions questions:

  1. Did this one blow smoke?
  2. Did that one exceed expectations?
  3. Who are the consistent performers
  4. Who are the excuse makers?
  5. Who spoke with candor and acted with courage?
  6. Who offered creative ideas?
  7. Who contributed most?
  8. Which ones led and which ones followed?

Two Central Concerns:

  1. Are the right people doing the right job? Think Jim Collins’ bus illustration. Get the wrong people off the bus and get the right people on the bus.
  2. How are you supporting the people who drive performance?

Welch’s Number 1 Rule of Leadership:

“Rule 1. Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter (meetings) as an opportunity to evaluate, coach, and build self-confidence.” Jack Welch

Meetings provide opportunities to evaluate your team – to see through the agenda and focus on the people.

Successful leaders make second things first:

First, create a compelling picture of the future; that’s vision. Second, focus less on where you are going (vision) and more on the people who take you there; that’s performance.

What distracts leaders from focusing on the people?

What do leaders who are focused on people do?