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Project Management Assignment Question
Option A – Project/Program Progress Report with Recommendations
Option B – Project/Program Case Study Analysis
Project Management Assignment Solution
(ICMR)In 1981, Jack Welch became the CEO of General Electric. He served as CEO and chairman for 20 years at GE. At this time, GE was entirely non-global and also not performing well. By 1990, Welch had completely redesigned GE into a much more efficient, dynamic and profitable organization. He aimed for the business to be successful and listed in top 2 among competitors. Anything below that was not acceptable to him. For this, he incorporated 'Three circle concepts'. His vision for GE was 'Core, High Technology, and Services'. He was of the view to 'fix, sell or close'. This helped motivate employees to be more effective and efficient. Jack Welch reduced the number of hierarchy from nine to four. These reported directly to him. This redesign started with radically restructuring the company in the first 5 years. The idea of 'Fix, Sell or Close' by Welch proved wonders. The company was able to analyze the 43 businesses under its umbrella. Basically, Welch wanted control over such a vast organization, which was not possible through the earlier set-up. (Mathisen, 2014) John Welch was a transformative leader. He used his innovative idea to completely transform the way management worked in the 20th century. He had a forceful yet down-to-earth style. He is one of the biggest icon and rebel of his century. He brought out a revolution by designing new strategies and entirely changing the processes in his company.
The project consisted of the following points:
1) Developing a cross-functional teamwork that could think and develop itself further
2) Envisioning a boundary-less firm
3) The fix, sell and close strategy where GE had to be number 1 or 2 in the business otherwise it had to either fix, sell or close the business. This involved the 3 circle concept, de-staffing, and real-time planning. The organization was reorganized into 13 businesses. They all reported to the central CEO team.
4) To create a working environment where everyone could speak out their thoughts. This led him to start an initiative 'Work-Out'. This also led to the birth of a related movement called 'Best practices'.
The human resource management, GE made rewards very flexible. The employee appraisal process was done for all employees that were at higher posts as well as lower posts. They made training and development a continuous process. (Kotelnikov)He also started company operations globally and doubled the revenue in just 5 years. GE adopted Six Sigma TQM program in all of its divisions, Welch forced GE to constantly reinvent or reengineer itself. During Welch's tenure, GE got recognition such as 'Most Admired Company in the World' by the Financial Times. Welch was a leader who promoted internal communication with the company. He focused on performance and production. Welch's leadership style led to a positive and important effect of GE's long-term success. Welch strengthened their valuable resources which improved effectiveness and efficiency.
Analysis of project
In April 1981, when Jack Welch entered at the CEO of GE, there was a recession in the US economy. The interest rates were very high in the US at that time. Many people were unemployed. In order to improve company's performance, Jack Welch challenged every employee of his company to be 'better than the best'. He aimed for the business to be successful and listed in top 2 among competitors. Anything below that was not acceptable to him. For this, he incorporated 'Three circle concepts'. His vision was to see GE as 'Core, High Technology, and Services'.He was of the view to 'fix, sell or close'.This helped motivate employees to be more effective and efficient. Jack Welch reduced the number of hierarchical from nine to four, which reported directly to him. He restructured the company by bringing change. He went about downsizing the organization and de-staffing many of the employees. In this way, he was able to increase the revenue of the company by 2 billion US $. In the late 1990's he shifted his focus to the organization's software. His main focus was on sustaining high productivity without cultural change. Later, he introduced the initiative of 'Work Out' in which employees were asked to share their inputs about the business which helped them to grow and increase employee employment. He later introduced 'Best Practices' which helps in increasing productivity. He also focused on going global for his company for which he did several mergers and acquisitions which further increased the revenues. So, after initial difficulties, Jack Welch understood the situation well and helped his company to grow.
There were 3 cycles of learning involved in the business improvement. In the first cycle, he aimed at removing all the nonperforming business in the company. The second cycle involved the 'Workouts' where he wanted to remove the activities that were not adding any value. This is done by efforts from the whole team. The third cycle was to implement Six Sigma within the company. This was done to improve the financial and operational efficiency of the company. These cycles are shown in the below appendix (Fig 1.1) using a Gantt chart
The CEO replaced almost all of the business head (12 out of the 14). This helped him get new ideas and a stronger commitment to the management team. He called this the 'varsity team'. He wanted to remove the old and persistent GE culture. He wanted more and more people who were strong and capable of bringing about change by taking lead. By the late 80's, he had completely restructured the organization. He was ready to build a more solid organization on this new foundation that he had created. He wanted to create an organization that worked with more speed. The processes of the organization should be speedy. All the employees should work with more self-confidence. They should be able to take charge and command as a leader of the business they worked it. (Santos)He incorporated the initiative called 'Work Out' and 'Best Practices'. This is incorporated to create a culture that he desired and make the management more open and aware of the organization. The 'Work-Out' initiative was created so that the employees could speak their minds and voice out their opinions. This helped them to find out new and creative ways in which the business could grow and adapt to changing the environment.
(Slater, 2004)The other initiative called 'Best Practices' helped nurture new ideas. This, in turn, increased productivity and helped the business. This also helped the managers' judge their business performance based on the right set of parameters. In the early 1990's Welch focused on the integrated diversity and to make GE a boundaryless company. GE started to invest heavily in new plants and facilities to make a stronger hold of the business internationally. This was a growth strategy adopted by GE. Yes, there is logic and rationale supporting each and every decision Welch took in order to achieve what the vision for. Realizing that bureaucratic models of organizational structure were prone to promoting sluggishness, Welch created the culture of a small company so that all employees felt engaged and everyone could voice out what they felt. By downsizing GE was able to eliminate 59290 salaried employees. This decision could be justified as the revenue of the company increased by 2 billion US$. Their operating profits also rose by 0.8 billion US$. Welch's vision was very well supported by the action he took onto his 2-decade long association with GE as one of the world's best CEOs.
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