How a Cocky, Obsessive CEO of GE Can Make You a World-Class Blogger

To say Jack Welch is cocky is a gross understatement. Legend has it that some twelve years after he joined GE, Welch announced at his annual performance review his plan to become CEO.

And that was in fact just what the brazen, young engineer did. In 1981, Welch stepped into the roll of GE’s youngest Chairman and CEO ever.

During the first five years of his tenure, Welch cemented his reputation and eliminated employees ruthlessly, earning the title “Neutron Jack”–the people vanished but the buildings remained. From 1980 to 1985, he cut 112,000 jobs.

What was his hang up? Welch was obsessed with dismantling nine-layers of bureaucracy, cutting inventories, shutting down factories, reducing payrolls and cutting lackluster product lines.

He had a ferocious desire for efficiency. And profit.

Introducing the Most Successful Manager of the 20th Century

Some criticize Welch as mean-spirited and petty. Brutal. Apathetic. Others claim he’s quick to judge. Says he used limited information to size people up. And write them off.

But one thing can be said about him: he was successful.

During his 20 plus year tenure, GE’s market capitalization rose from $13 billion to $400 billion. Revenues grew from $27 billion to $127 billion. And earnings grew tenfold.

In 2000, Fortune magazine said Jack Welch was “Manager of the Year.”

The Key to Jack Welch’s Success

What was the key to his success? Certainly more than one factor contributed to his success. But if I was to name one singular and solitary reason for his dominance I’d say it’d have to be his philosophy to cut any businesses that GE couldn’t be #1 or #2 in.

This concept was a simple way to make quick, sound judgments. And to remain focused, lean, fast and competitive.

Ideas, projects or business that couldn’t meet this criteria were thrown on the trash heap. Welch was obsessed with keeping GE trim and in fighting shape. Fat nor sloth were welcome.

How can this idea help you in blogging? Easy. Figure out what market you can enter where you are guaranteed to be #1 or #2.

Why This Is So Important

You have to think about this deeply before you tackle a project like a blog. Otherwise you are doomed to fail. You are doomed to fail for three reasons: lack of audience, lack of discipline or lack of motivation.

Almost everyone you know–including yourself–has failed at blogging. When I say fail I mean they have everyone has at least one languishing or dead blog in their history.

If you don’t, I think statistically you will in the next five years.

Part of the reason behind the failure rate behind failed blogs is because know one is listening. Or you’re not very good. Or you simply don’t care.

When you use Welch’s principle this is what it does: it gets you to focus. And it has one other unintended affect. It demands discipline.

Watch blog launches by successful bloggers and you’ll get the sense that not only did they take Welch’s principle in to consideration–but they in fact live or die by it.

I believe that Greg Swann did this when he launched Bloodhound Blog. And the truth probably holds for Real Estate Tomato Blog. These bloggers launched blogs they were fairly confident they could dominate as #1 or #2.

The same is true for Future of Real Estaet Marketing. Before Inman and Joel Burslem launched his blog there was…well, no one. Lots of tech blogs. Political blogs. Cultural blogs. Some social media blogs. Blogs on real estate marketing. But no blogs dedicated to the impact technology is making on real estate–it was the first.

What If I Can’t Always Be the First?

Real Estate Zebra, well, not the case. Even in May 2006 Daniel Rothemal had a monstrous mountain of competition already on the playing field.

But he defined himself pretty narrowly. You can see this in his zebra manifesto. And no doubt he’s worked pretty hard.

Domination demands positioning yourself to win. And hard work.

So. Wanna start a blog? Or resurrect a languishing one? Or overhaul the lackluster yawn-fest you are working so hard on now?

Then decide what you can write about and dominate the #1 or #2 spot. This may mean launching into a field completely new for you. So do your research.

Regardless, you’ll have to study your market. And then plan.

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Greg Swann

> I believe that Greg Swann did this when he launched BloodhoundBlog.

Thanks for this, but we were the first-mover. We work hard to be what we are, but it’s easier to be the category-killer when you create the category. We’re about to do it again, though. We were the first mover on SMM training events for real estate professionals, but we’re about to eclipse everyone who has tried to do marketing training for Realtors and lenders. If we’re right, we’ll be a brand new category with one instance.

In fact… You should drop me a note. We’re going to have four keynote slots in Phoenix. Say so if you’d like to compete for one of them. I love what you do here, and you home with some raving fans.

Gary Elwood

Thanks for the clarity, Greg. Not how it sounded, but I intended to say you were the first mover. And the category killing marketing training–outstanding. I’m excited. Love to hear more.


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