Thinking about Immelt reminded me of my very own GE CEO story. My dad worked at G.E. for a number of years, and was a Jack Welch admirer. In the summer of 1994, my dad’s birthday was approaching. When I was in school, he had given me a copy of Welch’s “Six Commandments“ – a list of his rules for running G.E. – from a 1989 Fortune story about Welch. These rules are:
- Face reality as it is, not as it was or as it should be.
- Be candid with everyone.
- Don’t manage, lead.
- Change before you have to.
- If you don’t have a competitive edge, don’t compete.
- Control your own destiny, or someone else will.
No kidding – three days later, a book signed by the man himself showed up in my office. My dad was thrilled – following Welch’s lead, dad sent a hand-written thank you note - and that was it. Or so I thought. Welch actually wrote back – wishing dad luck with his business, and again wishing him a happy birthday.
Class act, all around. Good to see Immelt appears to be carrying the torch.