To Welch, there is a big difference between pushing employees too hard and letting them set high goals for themselves that require extra imagination, brains, and skill to achieve :
Stretch means that we all try for huge gains while having no idea how to get there: but our people figure out ways to get there. I was in Japan in the fall and I saw Toshiba’s new VCR. They had a stretch goal : produce it with half the parts, in half the time, at half the cost. They sent a team away to design the new model and ended up reducing the number of parts by 60% and producing it in one year instead of the usual two.
Welch focuses on 3 concepts that give GE enormous energy :
“Speed, simplicity and self confidence. We have been characterized over the years as the best managed company, the financial wizard or other labels. If we are to be the clear winners we must be in the ’90s we will need to become the fastest, simplest and most self confident company on Earth.”