who’s right? Herb Kelleher or Jack Welch?

Is it a matter of preference?

I doubt it. Given choice most people will embrace Herb Kelleher, bring him home to momma and put on the kettle for tea and arm themselves with garland loads of garlic in the face of Jack Welch as if he was some vampire who’s here to suck their lives away in just a matter of time.

Personally, I am for Jack Welch.

The most successful high performing, highly engaged environment I have been in adopts the Jack Welch approach. It’s frankly simpler – with things being so transparent, there is no question of favouritism and everyone basically knows where they stack against one another.

Honestly, why do people retch at the very idea of force ranking? The very fact that measures exist in this world – the very fact that statistics is invented – suggests the necessity of relativity and comparison. And have we not been forced ranked since we stepped out of our mother’s womb? And officially the day we attended institutionalized learning?

Some are in the halfway house when it comes to Jack Welch – the ‘yeah, forced ranking is ok, but not the fact that you drop the 10% at the bottom‘. Very well. But what do we do with the freeloaders? And why bother going through the arduous exercise of ranking/ measuring in the first place? Surely, twirling one’s thumb while having ice tea by the beach is far more appealing in the spectrum of ‘pointless activities’. And how do we systematically and deliberately improve the entire system if we measure, rank and then … do nothing?

Having moved on to various cultures and human capital practices, I am still a firm believer of the Jack Welch approach.

For the live of me, I can see how any high performer who are typically transactional by nature, not expects a clear trade of value exchange with little room for error and tolerance for mediocrity. With the exponential return on investment, it is unlikely a high performer would want to share the gains, even if s/he does not break in cartwheels whenever a mediocre counterpart (be it attitudinal or aptitude) fails and receives the ‘stick’.

And that’s my unpopular and unfavorable response recently to a bunch of … of well, all so forgiving and let’s be one big happy family with just enough to go around organization! Good luck and have fun lounging … there’s obviously horses for courses!

Which one are you?

Psst… the Jack Welch approach in my personal experience is also preferred to ‘shock the systen’ of any lagging organization …

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