I suppose there’s a certain liberation that goes along with retirement. Secure in the knowledge that one can say what one wants without repercussions, one is free to wax poetic on anything and everything.
And, Bill Lane does just that in ‘Jacked up,’ his behind-the-scenes’ look at Jack Welch’s GE. Lane’s take is a true page-turner. What makes it interesting to me, though, is the way it intersperses communications strategies between often hilarious tales of Jack’s manic swearing, bashing and overall boorishness.
To his credit, Lane’s not afraid to take on controversial subjects that might have cost him his job in days past. For example, he provides the following ‘presentation’ observation and advice to minorities:
– Black males: ‘…your audience will be sincerely rooting for you, hoping that you are not up there because of some affirmative action boost, and out of your league.’ And ‘…the lurking, unspoken, awful question is about competence.’
– Asians: ‘Asian males need to stand up, look serious and forcefully establish the importance of what they are about to say.’ Lane quotes one Asian as saying, ‘…we are stereotyped as bright, brainy, brilliant…but also as bad leaders.’
– Women: ‘…women, most women, are not thought of by men as REAL leaders…their ability to lead largely male organizations that are still faintly pattered on World War II military organizations is in question.’
Lane says blacks, Asians and women need to out think, outflank and out hustle their white male counterparts to succeed in today’s corporate environment. I’m sure there’s some truth in what he says. But, I wish he’d said while he still had some ‘skin’ in the game.