July 23, 2009

Doing or Driving?

"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion."

Jack Welch

The higher up you are in management the truer this is, or should be (if you are a senior manager, doing more than driving, you have a completely different problem.)

But it is also true for mid/lower management as well.

As a manager, how much do you do versus manage?


  1. Statements like this one from Welch typically only come after retirement.

    Sometimes you just have to get in there, roll up your sleeves and get things done.

    Wait for someone else to do it for you and you'll be waiting a long time.

  2. Part of me wants to strongly disagree with Anonymous but I understand where s(he)'s coming from. It is hard to get good people capable of executing on someone else's vision.

    And I know, I'm in Executive Search

  3. It may be hard to do but is or is not talent recognition all or at least part of the primary responsibility of a manager?

  4. Recognizing talent is the most important aspect of management and the fact that it is hard to do doesn't change things.

    Forgive my momentary lapse.

  5. i think it's helpful to understand the context when welch makes this statement about vision. GE was and is well-recognized for it's deep bench and talent development process. so in that sense, welch was fortunate in that as the ceo, he could communicate the high-level vision and then have the luxury of letting his key managers (many of whom ultimately wanted his job) to execute on the vision.

    i also think by the way that "vision" doesn't have to be some grandiose and flowery statement or concept. it can be much more practical and simple - some might argue, this is preferred than having some apple pie statements that don'e translate well into execution. i think the important point is that whether you're a ceo or a front-line manager, the people working for you have to understand what you and the company are trying to achieve so that you can maximize your chances of success.