Tuesday, 2 March 2010

It’s not about the numbers

I must be the last business person alive to read Jack Welch and the GE Way by Robert Slater. Not something I’m proud of, but at least I’m getting around to it now. It’s a better book than I expected.

A theme that comes up over and over again is Jack Welch’s insistence that business is not about the numbers. “Don’t focus on the numbers”, he is supposed to have said. “Numbers aren’t the vision; numbers are the product. I never talk about numbers.”


Yet it is equally clear that Jack Welch cared deeply about the numbers: cost control, market share and profitability. So what’s it all about?

Of course Welch was right – the financial numbers are the result of everything else you do. If you get the rest of business right – the right people, the right products being sold into the right markets, and the right focus on quality, the financial results will also be right. And GE’s numbers were right.

According to Slater, Welch focused on getting the right people into top positions, and on sharing good ideas between different businesses – both internally and externally. He was also a big fan of Six Sigma – the quality system with a big emphasis on measurement.

So Welch used numbers to inform him of what was going well and what needed attention. He focused on making sure things happened when and where they were needed.

Oddly enough, it’s just what the rest of us need; even though we are not running GE. Because no matter how loud we yell, or how hard we try, getting the numbers to improve without carrying out all the necessary stuff that goes before, isn’t going to cut it. We should put our focus on the things that build better products and services for customers, and the things that get them to market faster. Then the numbers will take care of themselves.

9 comments:

  1. Nyallpurposepaving.com offers Paving Contractor, Parking Lot Repairs, sealing, striping, Oil and Stone Driveways at Riverhead NY, Quogue NY, Hamptons NY, Southampton NY, Sag Harbor NY, Green point NY, Wading River NY, East Moriches NY, Center Moriches NY, Mannorville NY, Miller Place NY , Mt. Sinai NY,Greenport NY

    ReplyDelete
  2. Diskdatadestruction.net offers hard drive destruction, Paper shredding at Hauppauge NY, Suffolk County NY, Long Island NY, Ronkonkoma NY, Melville NY, Huntington NY, Garden City NY, Farmingdale NY, Westbury NY, Bohemia NY, Stony Brook NY,
    and Nassau County NY

    ReplyDelete
  3. geffnerkersch.com Divorce Attorney Nassau County NY, Prenuptial Agreements Nassau County NY. Call us now: (516) 268-9898

    ReplyDelete
  4. Atopcommercialpaving.com offers Commercial Paving, Asphalt Contractor, and Parking Lot Resurfacing at Queens NY, Nassau County, Bayside NY, Jamaica NY, Middle Village NY, Ozone Park NY, Howard Beach NY, Little Neck NY

    ReplyDelete
  5. Jettonsgrading.com offers Grading, Excavation and Paving Contractor, Land Clearing Services, Septic Systems, Retaining Walls and Driveways, Drainage Systems, Construction Site Clean-Up, Demolition Contractor at Walhalla SC, Seneca SC

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bedbugprocpc.com offers Bed Bug Exterminator, Bed Bug Inspections, Bed Bug Elimination, Bed Bug Inspection for Hotels and Residential and Commercial Bed Bug at Palo Alto CA, San Mateo CA, San Jose CA, Belmont CA, San francisco CA, Redwood City CA, Sunnyvale CA

    ReplyDelete
  7. reliablecommercialpaving.com offers Parking lot paving, walk way construction, Commercial paving, asphalt, Parking Lot Repairs, Parking Lot Striping, Commercial Blacktop, Parking Lot Repairs, Commercial Paving Contractor, Commercial Asphalt Contractor at New Jersey at Hanover NJ, East Orange NJ, Newark NJ, Morristown NJ, Summit NJ , Union NJ, Hackensack NJ, Patterson NJ

    ReplyDelete
  8. Complete-pest-control.com offers Pest Control, Exterminator, Rodent Control, Rodent Elimination, and Pest Elimination at Palo Alto CA, San Mateo CA, San Francisco CA, Redwood City CA, Sunnyvale CA, and Belmont CA

    ReplyDelete
  9. Davispestmanagement.com offers Pest Control, Exterminator, Bed Bug Removal, Inspections, Rodent, Pest Elimination, Commercial, Residential, Professional, Licensed Exterminator , Scorpion, Bee Hive, Hornet, Fire Ant Removal by Service Area, Las Vegas NV

    ReplyDelete