Jack Welch was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric (GE) from 1981 to 2001. During Welch’s twenty-year tenure, GE grew into one of the largest and most admired companies in the world. Jack Welch is widely recognized as one of the greatest business leaders of our time. In 1999, Fortune magazine named him the ‘Manager of the Century.’
In an interview with Spencer Stuart executive headhunters Thomas Neff and James Citrin for the book “Lessons from the Top”, Jack Welch regrets not taking action quickly during his tenure at General Electric.
I think the biggest mistake I made is a fundamental one. I went too slow in everything I did. … If I had done in two years what took five, we would have been ahead of the curve even more.
You rarely do things too fast. If you think about your life and the decisions you’ve made, you can’t come up with too many where you said, “I wish I took another year to do it.” But you can sure come up with a list where you say, “I wish I had done a bunch of things six months earlier.”
Call for Action
Procrastinators sabotage themselves. However, procrastination is a learned behavior and therefore can be unlearned.
In all spheres of life, competition has transitioned from “big-eat-small” to “fast-eat-slow.” Good ideas are relatively easy to come up with. However, quick and efficient execution is primary to the success of these ideas. When a hundred people probably have the same idea, execution in a fast timeframe is just about the only thing that matters.
Are you holding back on your ideas? Do the tasks look daunting? Do you lack confidence? Are you uncertain of the direction or afraid of failure? How can you overcome these hesitations? Develop a set of ideas to reach your goals, prioritize them, and commence working on your ideas right away. Why delay?
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