The GE Work-out: How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy and Attacking Organizational Problems-Fast!
by Dave Ulrich, Steve Kerr, Ron Ashenas
Work-Out is a simple, straightforward concept for cutting out bureaucracy and solving organizational problems - fast. It is a clear, well-organized book that makes it possible for any executive or manager to apply at least some elements of the work-out program in any organizational context.
The GE Work-Out idea is essentially a "branded process" for problem solving, culture building and agenda management. While there is clearly something special about GE management and leadership culture, many good companies have engaged similar processes for decades, and with powerful, sustaining business results. This book helps bring a commonsense "execution discipline" to the mainstream application of Work-Out.
The GE Work-Out is a step-by-step guide to using Work-Out to quickly solve problems in your organization, break down obstacles to getting things done, and improve the way your organization works.
Written by GE employees and consultants who were key partners in the creation and rollout of GE's original Work-Out program and unique in that it addresses Work-Out from both perspectives this book will help you develop a realistic understanding of what Work-Out can and can't do, as well as the attitudes that must be in place throughout any organization before Work-Out can be successful.
This practical book provides detailed information on:
- The underlying principles of Work-Out
- Planning, conducting, and implementing a Work-Out
- Customizing Work-Out for your organization
- Using Work-Out to develop effective, visionary leaders
- Worksheets, tools, and case studies.
The Work-Out framework defined by the authors is one that blends active dialogue about key performance issues with people in key roles, with thinking about goals and solutions in the context of an agenda for delivering business results.
In the Work-Out Process, essential elements are:
- Framing a Worthy Performance Issue or Problem
- Working Through the Issue and Response Options
- Building an Agenda for Issue Resolution and Action
- Making the Resolution Happen and Attaining Results
According to the authors, it is a blend of process facilitation, information, sponsorship, leadership, team structure, behavioral guidance and flexibility
There are several steps in the GE Work-Out Process. An outline of the GE Work-Out:
1. Work-Out Planning -
Focus on the subject matter, participants, and objectives.
2. Work-Out Meetings -
Developing, conducting the integrative meetings and dialogue that will address and resolve the issue.
Introduction and Background
Idea Generation and Management
Recommendations and Analysis
Presentations and Decisions
Conclusions and Assignment
3. Work-Out.. Results -
Action plans, deployment and plan accountability.
The authors emphasize the prospects for flexible planning, facilitation and application of the Work-Out Process.
The supposed benefits of the GE Work-Out are better decisions, speed in problem solving and business improvement, opportunities for developing and practicing leadership, and better integration.
These benefits are naturally related to what icon Jack Welch (and many, many others) refer to as "social architecture" for better business performance and strong leadership culture.
The outlines, models, questions and themes presented in this book are useful and insightful.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Dave Ulrich, internationally renowned consultant on human resources, is professor of business administration at the School of Business at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has been described by Business Week as one of the world's "top ten educators" in management and the top educator in human resources. Ulrich has published more than seventy articles and book chapters and currently serves on the editorial boards of four journals. He is a fellow at the National Academy of Human Resources. Ulrich also is the author of Human Resource Champions and co-author of the book, The Boundaryless Organization.
Steve Kerr is chief learning officer and a managing director of Goldman Sachs. Until March 2001, he was vice president of leadership development and chief learning officer for General Electric, with responsibility for Crotonville. Kerr has taught at Ohio State University, the University of Southern California and the University of Michigan. He is also the past president of the Academy of Management, the world's largest association of academicians in management, and has been the subject of interviews in such publications as Fortune, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Forbes ASAP. Kerr is co-author of The Boundaryless Organization.
Ron Ashenas, the managing partner of Stamford, CT consulting firm of Robert H. Schaffer & Associates, is the author of articles on change in The Harvard Business Review and other leading publications. He has lectured on the subject of results-driven change throughout the world and has consulted to numerous CEOs and executive groups. Ashenas has been a member of the New York Human Resource Planners board of directors and currently serves on the editorial board of Human Resource Management. He is the co-author of two other books, The Boundaryless Organization and The Boundaryless Organization Field Guide.
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