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Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will Paperback – January 20, 1994

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 459 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPB; 1 edition (January 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0887306705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887306709
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,581,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Jack Welch is undoubtedly one of the most talked about chief executives in America. Three months apart, two books have appeared about Welch and his mandate to restructure GE in the 1980s. Unlike Robert Slater's The New GE: How Jack Welch Revived an American Institution ( LJ 10/1/92), authors Tichy, a professor and GE consultant, and Sherman, a Fortune reporter, offer a deeper analysis of Welch's leadership practices and philosophies. The authors use the first person singular to signify an insider's (Tichy's) view, which is confusing at first. Furthermore, the addition of the "Handbook for Revolutionaries" (material developed at GE's executive education center in Crotonville, New York) makes Tichy appear to be a Welch convert, and the bias is sometimes too obvious. The repetition of ideas makes reading laborious. However, the authors do a substantial job in presenting the research, which included over 100 hours of interviews with Welch. Recommended for all business libraries.
- Rebecca A. Smith, Harvard Business Sch. Lib.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Fascinating reading. There is at least as much to be learned here as from reading Peter Drucker, John Kenneth Galbraith, or Michael Porter." -- -- Boston Globe

"IBM. GM. Blow after blow is absorbed by America's recent bellwether firms. At times, only GE seems to be counterpunching--and attacking. Control Your Destiny is an exciting rendition of the Welch revolution. Read it carefully." -- -- Tom Peters, author of Liberation Management

"The first scholarly attempt to pin down the secrets of GE's success. A helpful, clear account...with interesting case studies." -- -- Financial Times

Customer Reviews

This book is well written, for BUSINESS-MINDED readers.
Dianna Johnston
Noel Tichy knows Jack Welch as well if not better than most management consultants.
J. Eich
I highly recommend this business classic to all revolutionaries of the new century.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Turgay BUGDACIGIL on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
'Control Destiny or Someone Else Will' is deeply insightful and comprehensive examination of GE's transformation. It contains detailed, valuable lessons for all those interested in Jack Welch and his GE, as revolutionaries.
Noel M.Tichy and Stratford Sherman write, "The old way, exemplified by Henry Ford's production line, calls for top managers to analyze the work that needs to be done, then devise rules even an idiot can follow. Managers, divorced from the actual work, become bureaucrats, while their frustrated subordinates tighten the bolts...The new way-GE's way-breaks the intellectual framework that defines the limits of traditional management...Instead of seeking better ways to control workers, Welch says he aims to liberate them. As he explains, that goal is based on self-interest: The old organization was built on control, but the world has changed. The world is moving at such a pace that control has become a limitation. It slows you down. You've got to balance freedom with some control, but you've got to have more freedom than you ever dreamed of" (pp.19-20).
At this point, after outlining basic characteristics of old and new ways, Noel M.Tichy describes the difference between them in terms of sports:
1. Old Way-Machine Age: Hierarchical, control-focused, and bureaucratic. He notes, "The old GE resembled a football team: Each player had carefully prescribed roles, yielding a carefully orchestrated pattern. The coach called all the plays. Even the strategic-planning guidebook that governed GE policy were like the playbooks in football."
2. New Way-Information Age: Networks, flexibility, knowledge, and creation.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
If it ain't broke,don't fix it.....that seems to be the culture in many organisations. Left to themselves, people will ignore warnings of danger and scorn opportunities to change early and with minimum of pain. This book relates how the cultural phenomenon was changed in General Electric (GE), one of America's largest and highly successful blue-chip corporation. This transformation or change revolution was brought about by the never-ending energy of its CEO, Jack Welch. The book successfully highlights some of Welch's thoughts and key considerations as he went about revolutionising GE. The book contains some valuable lessons for all managers who are attempting to drive change in their respective organisations.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "nmonta" on December 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
I came into this book assuming a book on the history of Jack Welch's early years with GE. It ended up being much more and I was pleasantly surprised at the overall educational value of the book.
The book is broken down into three "acts" which recount the years of Jack Welch - when and how he was made the CEO with GE, the early years of layoffs, the early resistance to his ideas, reorganization of GE, the need for globalization, and eventual acceptance of his ideas as he empowered GE's employees. Welch's ideas of empowering the employee encompassed such things as "boundarylessness", strong values, leadership, simplicity, and productivity. As the book progresses, the reader is provided with the real world GE examples that qualified Jack's ideas and their results. Nor does the book hold back from describing Jack's missteps and describes the lessons learned.
Overall the book was a good read. The examples read as stories that both entertain and educate. Welch's ideas, as presented in Control Your Destiny, are probably now considered common sense business practices. The ideas seem simple today, yet were revolutionary for that time as you'll read.
The end of the book provides a manual that can be used to carry out a similar revolution with your business and employees. I didn't really work my way through it - it seemed more appropriate for larger organizations.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Scott Proctor VINE VOICE on July 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book encapsulates how Jack Welch has changed the modus operandi of a modern U.S. corporation. His principles of number-one-or-number-two, integrated diversity, boundarylessness, and speed, simplicity, and self-confidence have become a part of everyday life at General Electric. The basis of these principles -- what drives these principles -- is Welch's view of a strong business, which "...must consistently grow both revenues and profits: increasing revenues through a constant stream of new ideas and product innovations and increasing profits through unceasing improvements in productivity."
Although Welch's view of a successful business may not be new, the techniques and operating procedures employed to attain these characteristics are vastly different than previous practices at GE. This is another way of saying that the modus operandi, or method of operating, at GE has been changed by Jack Welch. This change is summed up nicely by a statement in the book: "This is the story of how General Electric got through the wall, from one man exhorting his subordinates to a team of hundreds of thousands of people working together."
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jayant K. Sinha on January 14, 2001
Format: Paperback
Jack Welch, the revolutioanry CEO of GE shows his business acumen in mastering change. A must-read for today's business managers ... a practical guide to business transformation amidst modern competition and changing business processes. Articulately crafted by the duo Tichy and Shermon, the philosophy of Jack Welch reminds me of Deming's Cycle (Plan, Do, Check and Act). The GE case study will find similarities in the modern industrial scenario - where managing change is the most challenging job. The approach of Welch towards modern management is based on both pragmatism and gut-feeling. He tried to explore a semblance of harmony amidst chaos, often pushing his executives to express themselves freely without contraints, and transformed threats into opportunities, thus bringing the GE juggernaut from the brink of collapse to remarkable recovery.
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