Opinion

Jack and Suzy Welch

Mitt Romney: S#*! authentic people say

Jack and Suzy Welch
Mar 9, 2012 13:02 UTC

If one word sums up the analysis that has followed Super Tuesday, it’s got to be “Huh?”

Or taken out of shorthand: “Why is it that Mitt Romney — a candidate with mountains of credentials, a boatload of cash and six years of planning — loses where he should win and only squeaks by where he should clobber, all while Rick Santorum, a long shot if there ever was one, goes around capturing hearts and votes?”

“Huh?” indeed.

Not that there aren’t plenty of answers to this question. Quite the opposite. Everyone in the pundit-sphere, it appears, agrees in one form or another that Romney’s problem is about connecting with people.

He just doesn’t seem, as the nattering goes, very authentic.

And the nattering is onto something. True, authenticity alone doesn’t make you a leader, but you sure can’t be a leader for very long without it. The reason’s simple. Authenticity makes people like you, trust you — and follow you.

Surely Mitt Romney, who’s been running organizations for decades, knows that in his bones. And in fact, people who know him well often speak of how Romney has always been a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. Smart, candid, self-deprecating and, well, just sort of hilariously square.

Jeremy Lin: Lessons from the Lin-sanity

Jack and Suzy Welch
Feb 24, 2012 13:00 UTC

Can you stand to read one more thing about the lin-credible, lin-tense, lin-probable Jeremy Lin without going totally lin-sane?

Yes, we’re going there.

Not just because we’re crazy about Lin’s on-court heroics for the New York Knicks (although we are) or his off-court humility (which we also love.)

But because when you manage to put aside all hootin’-and-hollerin’ about Jeremy Lin, his nation-gripping story just so happens to offer an important lesson for business leaders.

Facebook: The IPO hangover that could change it forever

Jack and Suzy Welch
Feb 10, 2012 13:00 UTC

Coming up any day now, there’s going to be one helluva party at Facebook. Champagne, confetti, speechifying, really loud music — you name the hoopla. And why not? Companies don’t go public for a gazillion dollars very often.

So party on, Facebook.

Just beware the day after. Actually, beware the year after and the year after that.

Because once Facebook has its massive new liquidity infusion, the company stands to get nailed by something that can hurt a lot more, and last a lot longer, than a hangover: a changed culture. That is, a culture of diminished urgency, of game-over-we-won, of not-invented-here conceit.

Mitt Romney’s Kodak moment

Jack and Suzy Welch
Feb 3, 2012 13:00 UTC

If there’s one concept we preach that everyone seems to agree on it’s the following: You have to face reality the way it is, not the way you want it to be.

True, right?

So why is it that so many organizations do the exact opposite? Why do they think technology will evolve at a manageable pace or that a competitor’s products will never be able to capture the hearts of their customers? Why do they say things like, “Prices will hold because costs are as rock-bottom as they’ll ever be,” or buy into notions like, “We can’t go any faster and maintain our quality”?

Such questions are rhetorical, of course. People don’t face reality the way it is because, well, because they’re people. Change – especially change that will require upending “how things are done around here” – can make us cranky, dismissive, mocking or all of the above.

Ron Paul and the pink slip that could decide the election

Jack and Suzy Welch
Jan 26, 2012 18:06 UTC

Have you ever woken up in the morning knowing you have to let someone go and just felt sick to your stomach? It’s the worst part of work, isn’t it? Even when it’s absolutely necessary — the money isn’t there or the employee hasn’t been contributing for ages — the emotional pain and mess of sending someone home is every good leader’s bête noire.

To make matters worse, letting someone go is, without doubt the moment when every leader is the most likely to screw up. Really screw up. Because when you fire a person the wrong way — that is, without generosity and respect — you can be sure of two things.

You’ve hurt someone unnecessarily.

And you’ve set up your organization for a future relationship from hell. After all, terminated employees don’t just fade away. They usually reappear, and pretty rapidly, as customers, suppliers, distributors, or in the worst-case scenario, competitors with an ax to grind.

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