Thursday, December 12, 2013

Jack Welch and the Gymnastics of Self-Justification

The following post is a comment on the link below which will take you to an article by Jack and Suzy Welch:

This article reminds me of the process reengineering aftermath when the authors tried to rewrite history on “shooting the wounded,” getting rid of people etc. The authors wrote article after article saying they were misunderstood. Regardless “Process Reengineering” became a synonym for getting rid of people. The ability for self-justification is a human trait that we all possess; intelligent people are even more adapt at this core competency. Welch is obviously practicing in this article.

 Still, the fundamentals are still wrong. Deming’s equation comes to mind:

·         X=Individual

·         Y=System

·         X + [XY] = 8

As Deming would note, “One equation and two unknowns, unsolvable.” In many organizations the system in not under suspicion.  Management merely sets Y = 0 and then attributes the results to X. 

Leadership should be up close and personal. If this is the case, then it will be obvious who is contributing and who is not. We have witnessed several people who have been let go in organizations over the years. Typically, it is obvious to everyone that the person does not fit. Tragically, even though this is apparent to everyone, the separation process goes on way too long for the health and morale of the organization. It is usually very difficult for leaders to admit that they have hired someone who does not fit. Meanwhile the organization suffers, relationships with customers are damaged and the firm still faces the evitable change that must take place.

Deming used to identify “substitutes for leadership.” Yank and Rank was certainly a poor substitute.