I am still learning. If you remember correctly, I re-did a cabin porch hardwood floor. Several years ago, I rented a drum sander to do that job. One of my lessons was not to rent something that weighed more than me. The porch again needed touching up. So, this time, I rented an orbital sander. Handling this sander was much easier on this old body, and did the job that was needed.
Another lesson learned; I now have re-finished two benches for the folks at Senior Resources. Working with wood is both an art and a science. Both benches look wonderful, now. I would definitely look at another project in the spring.
Business reading: I noticed a 2022 book by David Gelles titled “The Man Who Broke Capitalism.” The book details much of a controversial leader by the name of Jack Welch. He was the CEO of General Electric.
My faith in small business is confirmed with this book. The first part of the book is on Welch himself, and the chronology of his leadership had me interested.
Please understand that I grew up in a city (Erie, Pennsylvania) with a strong GE connection. My father worked for GE twice. I had several relatives who also worked there. I toured the facility several times. The facility was orderly and organized.
Welch’s business model, at one time, was revered. Now, those principles are strongly questioned. Welch believed in three approaches to business, 1. downsizing, 2. deal-making, and 3. finances. In rather earthy terms, Welch was a bully. The deal-making and downsizing walked hand in hand. Interesting enough, the GE profits and stock prices were positively reflected in Welch’s actions. When the deal-making and downsizing had been exhausted, Welch developed financial programs to keep the stock process high, and profits continually rising.
There were several areas of emphasis where I have concern with Welch, and with time rightfully siding with me.
- Emphasis on short term — You can’t do this with a small business.
- Lack of research and development — A critical component for improving customer service.
- New product introductions — Improving customer service.
- Good corporate citizenship — Making life better for stakeholders.
- Engaging employees — Valuable in making the above successful.
- Profit sharing — Removes greed.
- Ethical operations — Just do it justice.
Gelles introduces a company called Unilever as one that would serve as a model for the future. A quotation from page 106 means much to me. “You can’t cut to get to prosperity.” One of Welch’s approaches was to rank employees with the intention to eliminate the bottom 5%. An age discrimination suit was found to have merit, and cost GE significantly. Much can be Learned from what not to do. The above items seem like common sense to me.
With this October edition, how about a happy birthday to me? This month, I am now progressing into my seventh decade. No wonder I have gray hair. Next May, I will attend my 50th college reunion. See you in January!