The amangement team at work, decided that in the interest of self improvement, we would start a book club. The GM, Bobbi, had done it at a previous workplace and found it to be a good way to get people on the same page. I personally always seem to have one more book that I'd like to read then I can read, and often find that months have passed since I've finished any books, so a little work related pressure was welcome.

Winning, by Jack Welch. Jack Welch was the CEO of GE for a very long time (81-01), and during some pretty successful years. I've never really heard much about him, likely because I was still working my way through university when he retired.

The book is basically addressed to management types and aims to impart Jack's experiences as a manager and the technique that he found worked well. Suffice to say that his experience was always with a company multiples times bigger than RevenueWire but hopefully the principles scale down.

So my three take aways from the book "Strategy is just a general direction, then you have to implement like hell" Having done a few strategy sessions now, I do feel the weight of this sentence. The plan, even a great plan, is just a plan. It is going to require dogged effort to bring the pieces of even the simplest plan into being.

"Candor" - This is the quality of having open and honest communication with your staff and partners that is completely devoid of sugar coating. This is one that I am trying to take to heart. A change to simply be as positively straight forward as humanly possible. Leave no room for mis-understandings. Being a straight shooter might mean delivering news people don't want to hear. But better to deliver bad news without uncertainty than to deliver ambiguous news and then later confirm people it (or worse, leave them hanging).

prairie-by-CanadaGood"Keep the hierarchy as flat as possible." Jack recommends every manager should have 10 direct reports (or more if they are good). After some discussion, it was clarified, that in bigger companies the managers just manage. They don't actually do any on-the-ground work themselves. That helped me understand. Lord knows with so many direct reports there really would be hardly any time left over for anything beyond simply managing the people. The thing that I did like about this idea was from the companies perspective it really does create enough resources (at least ten people) to be able to give the workers the time to simply work and (hopefully) not be subject to meeting after meeting doing metawork as the manager holds that responsibility. (Picture Credit to CanadaGood

The book had many other good nuggets, and plenty of anecdotes from Jack's time at GE, which were quite interesting. If you're interested in some fairly clearly written (and undoubtedly effective) guidelines for management, it's a good read. Particularly if you're part of a big organization.