During the 80s in the US, I had the pleasure of working with a truly inspiring leader, Jack Welch of GE. Jack was a big fan of XIO Thinking and cvs2bvs which he called, “The simplest idea in the world”.
When I was designing GE XIO, an enterprise solution on innovation thinking for GE over several years, I had a range of different discussions with the great business leader. In one discussion, as I often do, I raised Gallup’s controversial view on leaders and their reluctance for change. I was a little surprised when Jack enthusiastically agreed with this view which he called “the paradox of enterprise leadership”.
His paradox was as follows: on the one hand it is broadly agreed that an enterprise needs to change and to adapt in order to survive and grow but on the other hand individual leaders at any particular time are reluctant to change.
As evidence of this paradox Jack then revealed a startling admission. He confided that, “During my career at GE I had to hide on the way up all of the change and innovation skills I really needed to use when I became the boss”.
History records that Jack, as the leader of GE, went on to multiply his business by 4000%!!