September 09 2014

Leadership Lessons from Jack Welch: Build the Right Team

Natalie Crede, Senior Vice President of People & Leadership Development


Recently, Safelite President & CEO Tom Feeney introduced a new series on our blog, “The Five Steps to Winning We Learned from Jack Welch” and our first lesson on the importance of constantly changing.

Today, I want to share our second leadership lesson from this greatly admired entrepreneur that aligns closely with helping build a high-performing, engaged culture.

2. Success is dependent on building the right team – hiring the right people, promoting those who excel and getting rid of the dead weight.

Once a company’s vision and strategies are defined, you must identify and obtain the skills and behaviors needed to make the vision a reality. To do that, we outlined a series of Core Competencies, or behaviors deemed important at our company. These competencies apply to all associates at every level in our business and serve as the foundation for our people programs such as hiring, promoting, managing performance and recognition:

Live Our Values: Do what is right. Winning means nothing unless how we get there is fair, collaborative, rooted in our values and contributes to the greater good.

Think People First: Having great people is the ultimate competitive advantage. We hire, develop and retain extraordinary talent and teams.

Have Passion for Creating Customer Delight: The word “customer” means external customers as well as internal customers. Those in positions that do not directly interact with external customers consistently prioritize service and support to those in customer-facing positions. We act with the customer in mind and go above and beyond to anticipate and fulfill customers’ desires and deliver a memorable experience every time.

Understand the Business: And know your role in it. We demonstrate and further develop the skills required by our positions and align our efforts, individually and cross-functionally, with our wider vision, strategy and plans for the long term. .

Be Innovative: Think differently for better business results. We seek and are open to new ideas from unexpected sources and productively use collaboration and constructive conflict to challenge the status quo.

Drive for Extraordinary Results: Show personal desire, energy and focus to succeed against high standards, whether the task at hand is large or small.

Establishing core competencies promotes culture shaping and places emphasis not only on results, but HOW results are achieved.

Setting these expectations can also lead to making tough decisions. One of the things Jack candidly said was that you have to get rid of Mort. Mort is the guy that everyone in the organization knows isn’t a good fit. He is unsuccessful and unable to motivate. While it’s never enjoyable to turn an employee, you have to realize you are doing both your company and the ineffective worker a favor – they’ll be freed to pursue a job that’s more rewarding to them. It will also help improve engagement of the team as a whole as their culture won’t be stymied by low performer. To me, this idea of being truthful, even when it’s tough, is another example of the Caring cornerstone within our People Powered philosophy.

Outlining the behavior you expect is critical in creating an enabled workforce that delivers a memorable customer experience that can set you apart from the rest.

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