Jack Welch GE’s 4 E and one P curve

This blog had discussed Jack Welch’s  4E’s and one P in an earlier post; given the interest among blog readers here is some more clarification about the concept.

Jack Welch 4E’s and 1 P -StratoServe

To evaluate managers GE started a system of differentiating managers on performance but were hard pressed to identify the characteristics that differentiated managers on the “Vitality” curve which is essentially a “grading” curve or graph for managers. The word “vitality” is confusing because it refers more to being vital or essential to the organization rather than  being “vital” in the “having high energy” sense. In fact,”Energy” is one of the 4 E’s but let’s go over the 4 E’s of GE leadership briefly:

  1. Energy: High personal energy of the manager is important. Reminds me of a boss who used to watch the speed at which you walked  in the corridor! Sounds weird but someone who is mostly lethargic in walking up and down does give off a “low energy” vibe.
  2. Energize  others: Do you brighten up a co-worker’s mood? Or do co-workers feel down after interacting with you?
  3. Edge: Are you able to take tough decisions that are Yes/No without fear of being disliked?Welch found that many managers have two or even three of the above “E’s”and yet did not seem to click to be put in the top 20% of the curve. “Execution” was this missing  4th E which is this blog’s favorite managerial and leadership ability.
  4. Execution: Can you deliver ? Let us say that you are a supply chain manager who is responsible for engaging a few small high tech innovative suppliers for a new component development for a new product project. You asked one of your buyers to send out emails from the supplier data base and perhaps none of the suppliers responded. When you show up for the new product top team meeting you just say that suppliers are not responding. Well you are not “executing.”  

The “execution” focused manager would have figured out why suppliers were not responding ( perhaps small suppliers worried about volumes down the  road before investing), then would have have put out a “development” financial advance proposal and discussed, offline,how much the new product team was willing to spend in supporting a new supplier. High “ability to execute” is the manger who actually walks in with the prototype of the component into the next meeting, no excuses.

Such managers do not promise anything easily. Once they do, top management or the board knows that it  can “consider it done”! 

5.Passion: is the “P” in the 4 E’s and one P. A manager who is passionate about her/his job goals normally has some of the first 3 E’s and must focus a great deal on  executing.Passion is what holds the 4 E’s together for the top 20% performers.

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