He used cvs2bvs at GE to help him change the culture of a 100-year-old manufacturer to the most valuable company (at the time he left it) in the history of the world!
I was invited to GE soon after he became chairman and CEO. In the 1980s I spent several years, at his request, installing the cvs2bvs brain software at GE. He wrote to me saying, “I would love to have a management team that really understood the cvs2bvs equation. It’s the ‘value-added’ role in the management process”.
In his book about his time at GE called, Jack (Warner Books 2001), he wrote, “It would make each of us wake up with the goal of “Finding a Better Way Every Day”. It was a phrase that became a slogan, put up on the walls of GE factories and offices around the world”.
Jack also used cvs2bvs in crisis management situations and on one very serious occasion involving a crisis between GE and President Reagan’s Defense Secretary, Caspar Weinberger, Jack asked me to meet with him privately, in Manhattan, to apply cvs2bvs to finding a solution.
He also told me that it helped him design new concepts like ‘Boundarylessness’ and ‘Work-Out’. He wrote, “Suddenly, “Finding a Better Way Every Day” wasn’t just a slogan. It was the essence of boundaryless behaviour, and it defined our expectations”.
As my Dad used to say, “Nobody’s perfect!” and Jack had his share of setbacks but he was a genuine strategic thinker and one of the most accomplished business leaders of his time.
Jack was famous for the little hand-written notes he would send to people. He sent me several and the one I prized the most was, “Michael, you are a friend of our company”.
Hand-written notes are a very personal and powerful communication. I have known several leaders who use handwritten notes with great effect.
I first was taught to use ‘The Leader’s Note’ in the Army and I saw recently where the Duchess of Cornwall (who is Royal Colonel of the 4th Battalion The Rifles) sent handwritten notes to all the soldiers in her regiment who were wounded in Iraq.
Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Sanders, commander of 4 Rifles, said,
“She bled with us throughout the tour. She wrote by hand to all the wounded and the families of those killed. She gave each of the wounded presents – whisky or hampers. We feel incredibly lucky to have her as our Royal Colonel. At a time when people in England did not really know what we were going through, she did.”
PTO: Write a Leader’s Note!
On a postcard, engraved writing paper or special paper for the purpose (not email), write a short personal note of encouragement (around 10 to 100 words) to someone who sees you as their leader or mentor.
Post that you have completed this PTO within the next 24 hours saying who, when, where etc: