If you asked a panel of business experts to put together a list of the greatest corporate leaders over the past 200 years, the inclusion of Jack Welch on that list would be assured. When Welch became the youngest CEO/Chairman in General Electric Company history in 1981, G.E.’s market value was $18B. By the time Welch retired in 2001, the value of G.E. has risen over 4,000 percent, and he had built what is arguably the most successful industrial corporation in history! Fortune magazine named him “Manager of the Century”. Since his retirement, Mr. Welch has focused on developing leaders through his world-class Jack Welch Management Institute. Welch’s ideas on leadership are considered by many to be controversial. However, just suppose you could “party” AND become a great leader in the process—what could be controversial about that? Let’s consider Jack Welch’s “PARTY” leadership philosophy. Welch has made use of an easily remembered acronym to serve as a means of describing the principals of people management that served him so well in his G.E. career. To wit: P = Personal Touch What is your own method of creating a personal “touch”, or building rapport with others? How do you best connect with others and make others feel comfortable to bring forth their best ideas and effort? What do you say or do to best create a personal connection with others? What style works the best for you – in person, writing hand written notes, electronically, etc.? A – Articulate a Vision This one sounds easy – just articulate a vision. However, in actual practice it is not always easy to do. For example, can you answer such questions as: What is your vision for an ideal life? Many people have difficulty articulating this type of vision statement. Or, what is it that you most want to do or become in the next 5 years and over the course of your lifetime? Or, what is your plan for building your company or department over the next 5 years? What would you like the company to look like, and what would you like it to “stand for” at the end of that time? Describing and communicating (verbally or in writing) the answers to questions such as these in a clear, appealing, and vivid way is not always as easy as you might think! However, by working towards being able to articulate your vision, you will benefit personally and professionally, and very important, allow other people to understand and adopt that vision as their own. R – Reward Performance What is your personal means of showing people that you appreciate and acknowledge their performance? How do you best give genuine and specific feedback to others when they have done something well? How can you use non-traditional or alternative rewards (i.e. non-cash) to personally recognize and reward others when they perform well? T – Trust Here is another one that sounds easy – attaining trust from others. Again, this is not as easy as it sounds. The most effective means of gaining the trust of others is for you to earn their trust based on your actions—and not based on words alone. For example, what are your doing to ensure that you follow through on your commitments? Are you becoming known as someone who does what they say they are going to do? Who in your life would say that you are trustworthy? What have you done to earn the trust of this person? Y – Youthful Energy What is your personal approach to providing or infusing energy into others? Is it being upbeat, providing new ideas or thoughts, setting an example of hard work through your own? What do you do personally to increase the energy of others in your group or team? Identifying and practicing what you do in each of these 5 areas (“PARTY”) will help you to significantly increase your leadership skills and to more effectively influence others to achieve success in their own careers. Yes, it may seem funny, but this is one form of “partying” that can positively impact both you and those whom you lead.
By Gary J. Smith [Gary J. Smith is a professor at Rushmore University]