Jack Welch’s 4E’s of Leadership

Jack Welch's 4E's of Leadership

“Before you assess people for a job, they have to pass three screens. The first is integrity. People with integrity tell the truth and keep their word. The second is intelligence. The candidate must have strong intellectual curiosity with a breadth of knowledge. The third is maturity. The candidate must have the ability to handle stress and setbacks and enjoy success with equal parts joy and humility. I then apply the 4E’s (and 1P) to hiring, which I have found consistently effective, year after year, across businesses and borders.” – Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO, GE

Great people are a company’s only durable competitive advantage. While strategy and products can be copied, great people cannot. Under Jack Welch, GE focused its core competency on developing great people; great people make great things happen. When evaluating people, Welch used the 4E’s, the essential characteristics of high performance leaders. Welch defines a leader as someone who has Energy; someone who can articulate a vision and inspire others to perform (Energizer); someone who can make difficult decisions (Edge); and someone who can deliver (Execute).

  1. Energy – Great leaders have energy. They are positive energy carriers (attitude and vigor) and embrace change. Question: Do you walk through the office with purpose and speed or are you lethargic (low energy)?
  2. Energizer – Great leaders are energizers. They energize people with a compelling vision and spark them to carry it out and perform. Question: Do co-workers feel up or down after interacting with you?
  3. Edge – Great leaders have edge. They are competitive and willing to make difficult decisions (yes or no, but never maybe). Question: Can you make difficult decisions  without the fear of being disliked?
  4. Execute – Great leaders execute. They take action to deliver results and get things done. Question: Do you consistently deliver results and get the right things done to move the business forward?
  5. Passion – In addition to the 4E’s, great leaders have passion. They believe in and care deeply about the business, people and winning. Question: Is winning with people important to you?

Energy, Energizer and Passion are inborn traits. Edge and Execute can be learned and developed.

All contents copyright © 2014, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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