Opinion

Jack and Suzy Welch

Picking the right one to run with Romney

Jack and Suzy Welch
Jul 3, 2012 14:09 UTC

Several months ago, we met a CEO who had one main complaint about his job. It wasn’t foreign competition or fickle consumers. No, it was loneliness. “I make every decision by myself,” he moaned.

“That’s nuts!” was our immediate reply. “You can’t run the place that way!”

Every leader needs a team, and every leader benefits enormously from having a wingman, a partner who can be counted on to counsel, goad, provoke, listen, and on and on. It’s true in business, and it’s true in politics. A great person in the No. 2 spot can make the person at No. 1 decidedly stronger, smarter and more effective.

So, Mitt Romney, don’t blow the VP thing.

Fortunately, that would be pretty hard at this point. The current short list of contenders easily passes muster in terms of intellectual heft and leadership experience: Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia. There’s not an iffy option in the bunch.

So how should Romney choose among them? To answer that question, we’ve put together a scorecard that rates each candidate against six criteria we consider essential in a vice-president.

Mr. Biden, here’s the truth about private equity

Jack and Suzy Welch
May 30, 2012 17:41 UTC

Time was you worked in private equity and people just sort of shrugged when you mentioned it. You were in finance sort of; you invested in companies, you made deals. Whatever.

Now, you’re in private equity, and well, hello. You’re a heroic job creator – or no, wait, you take pleasure in firing people. You’re a savvy executive who knows how to grow the economy – or get outta here, you’re a vulture capitalist with leadership skills, as Vice-President Joe Biden recently put it, that are no better than a plumber’s.

Hello, indeed, and with all due respect to the vice-president, and certainly with no offense intended toward plumbers, we have a question.

Romney vs. Obama: Leadership and the enemies list

Jack and Suzy Welch
Apr 11, 2012 16:52 UTC

Remember that incompetent boss you used to have? He was a good guy and all, but he just couldn’t make decisions or prioritize. Perhaps worst of all, he tried to make everyone happy, resulting in almost everyone being angry or confused or both. And remember how long it took management to move him out – and how aggravating that was?

Of course, at the time, you sort of understood why the Bigs had promoted the guy in the first place, and why they held out hope for so long. He’d been a superstar salesman. Best the company had seen in ages. But in the end, it turned out that all the things that made him great as an individual performer made him lousy as a people manager.

It happens all the time at work. A brilliant engineer promoted to run R&D. A gifted reporter elevated to editor. A cutting-edge scientist made head of the lab. First cheers. Then, after a bit, confusion about organizational direction, mixed signals about values, hurt feelings left and right and, eventually, chaos.

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.

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.

  •