Jack Welch on bouncing back from career disaster

AUTHOR Q&A: Everyone is going to have a career disaster at some point but you can bounce back, say Jack and Suzy Welch.

by Adam Gale
Last Updated: 20 Apr 2016


To be honest, we did not want to write another book. Winning was very successful and still is. But we could not ignore the fact that the world had changed since Winning. It's much faster, more digital, more global - in a word, business has become harder.

You say that business is 'full of whacks' - how do you bounce back after taking a hit?

Everyone is going to have a career disaster or work at a company that gets nailed at some point. The first step is to own your whack. Accept responsibility for it, come clean, lose the shame and then change everything from how you plan the future to how you go about worrying.

What's the biggest lesson that can't be learned in a classroom?

Good people are the whole thing. Hiring them, motivating them, letting them know where they stand, giving their work meaning and purpose.

Why do careers stall?

You may not be good enough at your current job to progress. Sometimes you have to face that and fix the problem.

How do you find your 'area of destiny'?

Your best career lies at the intersection of what you're uniquely good at and what you love to do.

You're not known for being timid at letting staff go. What's the best way to do it?

Let people know how they are doing at all times and if it's not working out, give them up to six months to find another job.

You're 79 now - any plans to retire to the golf course?

We're both golfers, but why would anyone ever stop?

The Real Life MBA , HarperCollins Thorsons, £20 (hardback)

Jack Welch was chairman and CEO of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. He co-wrote The Real Life MBA with his wife Suzy Welch, a former editor of the Harvard Business Review.

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