On Saturday, November 7, the Jack Welch Management Institute celebrated over 300 graduates in its first-ever virtual commencement ceremony. Reflecting on the diversity of JWMI’s student body, our graduates and their families joined from 27 countries and shared numerous stories of professional and personal success.
Suzy Welch, JWMI co-founder and current Chairman of the Board of Quadio Media, sat down for an Experts of Practice interview during the ceremony. In a candid conversation, Suzy shared special memories of Jack Welch and her personal experiences leading through the pandemic. With so much experience shared throughout the interview, it was challenging to narrow down just three pieces of advice, but the following will put you on track in this ever-changing business world.
Make People Feel Seen
When you’re a leader or even just a manager of a team, you have to look at each person you interact with and imagine that they have a sign on them that says, “Make me feel seen. Make me feel special. Make me feel heard. Make me feel known.” Jack did that with every person he met. His style made the world a better place. It makes companies better. Don’t forget to do that. It’s hard, but if there’s a pause in the conversation, if you’d just ask a question of the person you’re with and get to know them better, it’s such a gift to spread.
As JWMI graduates, you have a special license to be a beacon of optimism, sincerity, and candor in the world. It’s difficult because the world tells you not to do those things. The world tells you not to be optimistic; it tells you not to be sincere, and it tells you to be a little cagey, not to be as candid. So go out there and shine that light. As a leader, be optimistic, be hopeful, and be sincere. You don’t have to be ironic even though the world is. Show your love for people with kind candor. That is what JWMI is all about.
As a leader, be optimistic, be hopeful, and be sincere.
The Power of Perseverance
There is one thing that Jack and I would say to our kids and our grandchildren all the time. Everything good in life is hard. Don’t let that scare you. If something feels hard, that’s because it’s worth it. Don’t fight that. When it’s hard, know that it’s part of the price you pay for getting something that’s really meaningful. What you’ve just done, graduating from JWMI, was hard because it was worth it.