Jack Welch has a helpful column in the Nov 17 issue of Businessweek called “Three Reasons Obama Won.” (The link is to the podcast — the column itself does not appear to exist online. In case anyone is wondering, this does indeed mean that I still read some actual physical periodicals!)
Here are two of the most helpful points.
The Importance of Clear Vision
First, we see the importance of clear vision. “Start with the grandad of leadership principles: a clear, consistent vision. If you want to galvanize followers, you simply cannot recast your message. Nor can you confuse or scare people. McCain’s health-care policy, for example, had real merit. But his presentation of it was always confoundingly complex.”
The Importance of Solid Execution
Second, we see the importance of solid execution. “Execution isn’t the only thing a leader needs to get right, but without it little else matters.” “From the outset, [Obama’s] advisers were best in class, and his players were always prepared, agile, and where they needed to be.”
The Twist: Solid Execution is Not About Simply Doing the Same Old “Milk Run” Better
Diving down further into the concept of execution, there is a very important lesson: Execution is not simply about doing the same old things better, but doing new things and reinventing the game:
So often companies think they’ve nailed execution by doing the same old ‘milk run’ better and better. But winning execution means doing the milk run perfectly — and finding new customers and opening new markets along the way. You can’t just beat your rivals by the old rules; to grow, you have to invent a new game and beat them at that, too.