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The GE Work-Out : How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy & Attacking Organizational Proble Hardcover – March 25, 2002

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The GE Work-Out : How to Implement GE's Revolutionary Method for Busting Bureaucracy & Attacking Organizational Proble + Rath & Strong's GE WorkOut for Six Sigma Pocket Guide + Simply Effective: How to Cut Through Complexity in Your Organization and Get Things Done
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (March 25, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071384162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071384162
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Many companies have adapted Jack Welch's now-famous strategies for running a business. Taking advantage of Welch's popularity (and expertise), this handbook lays out instructions for implementing GE's "Work-Out" method. Flexible in execution, the method calls for collecting large teams of employees for defining tough business decisions, then breaking into smaller teams to develop solutions. The small teams then meet with a manager in a "town meeting" to discuss their recommendations. The result is change that's brought about by employees themselves. Consultants Ulrich and Ashkenas, along with Kerr (a managing director of Goldman Sachs) were brought together by Welch to create the "Work-Out" method.

From the Back Cover

"Work-Out helped us to create a culture where everyone began playing a part, everyone's ideas began to count, and leaders led rather than controlled."­­Jack Welch, Jack: Straight from the Gut

Implement GE's legendary Work-Out technique for solving organizational problems fast­­and get fast, GE-like results­­in your organization

Bring together the employees and managers who understand a problem best ... Challenge them to develop creative solutions in a single day ... Immediately present and decide on those solutions in a public forum ... Empower people to carry them out within eight weeks ...

These are the basic tenets of GE's famous "Work-Out," the simple, powerful problem-solving technique Jack Welch used to revolutionize GE's bureaucratic culture and restore its standing as one of the world's most successful organizations. The GE Work-Out is a step-by-step guide to using Work-Out to quickly solve problems in your organization, break down obstacles to getting things done, and improve the way your organization works.

"The authors of this book helped us create Work-Out and incorporate it into the fabric of GE. Their book will help you adapt Work-Out to your organization­­with dramatic results."­­William J. Conaty, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, General Electric Company

"Every company, no matter its size, unknowingly builds an inventory of productivity-killing relics in its basement. Work-Out helps to clean them out and keep everyone focused on creatively meeting customer needs. If you want to keep your company fresh and vital, ask your managers to read this book­­and make Work-Out part of your firm's DNA."­­W. James McNerney, Jr, .Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, 3M

"I have seen the effectiveness of Work-Out in both business and government. When I was Governor of West Virginia, we found Work-Out to be invaluable to us in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our state government."­­Governor Gaston Caperton

President, The College Board

"Making fundamental change in organizations is almost impossible, but GE has succeeded. The GE Work-Out explains GE's secret weapon for fast, performance-improving change."­­Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor, Stanford Business School and coauthor, The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action

The GE Work-Out provides hands-on examples and case histories to help you implement GE's heralded Work-Out methodology in your organization. Written by GE employees and consultants who were key partners in the creation and rollout of GE's original Work-Out program­­and unique in that it addresses Work-Out from both perspectives­­this no-nonsense book will help you develop a realistic understanding of what Work-Out can and can't do, as well as the attitudes that must be in place throughout any organization before Work-Out can be successful.

Work-Out has helped GE employees at every level cut through bureaucracy to solve small and large organizational problems quickly. Written by consultants and GE executives who helped develop the original Work-Out problem-solving technique, this practical book provides detailed information on:

The underlying principles of Work-Out

Planning, conducting, and implementing a Work-Out

Customizing Work-Out for your organization

Using Work-Out to develop effective, visionary leaders

Worksheets, tools, and case studies.

Work-Out has been used with dramatic results not just at GE but in many other organizations, including 3M, Home Depot, Sears, and the State of West Virginia. Its genius lies in harnessing the intelligence of the workers closest to a problem. The GE Work-Out shows you how to adapt Work-Out to your organization, break down hierarchy and red tape, and create an empowered workforce confident enough to envision and implement change whenever and wherever it is needed.

In today's speed-of-light global environment, endless committees and "It's how we've always done it" cop-outs are nothing less than a full-scale surrender, one that will both disappoint your customers and energize your competitors. The GE Work-Out will show you how to involve every member of your organization in solving the small but essential problems that are keeping you from becoming a world-class organization. Filled with worksheets, tools, case studies, and more, it is the first book to provide true, unvarnished directives for understanding GE's battle-proven Work-Out, then adapting it for­­and embedding it in­­your organization.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Six Sigma Black Belt and Manager on December 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I completely agree with the reader who said that this book could have been written much more effectively. It is nearly 400 pages and should have been no more than 25 to 50. Most issues or thoughts in this book while being solid are explained in far far too painful of detail with a great deal of redundancy. This made reading the book extremely wasteful of my time.
Perhaps the authors should have a "Work Out" on improvement of their materials.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Peter Leerskov on January 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
'Work-Out' is the famous organizational process that General Electric, the greatest industrial firm in the world, used to bust bureaucracy - fast.

At its core, Work-Out is a simple, straightforward concept for cutting out bureaucracy and solving organizational problems - fast. Large groups of employees and managers - from different levels and functions of the organization - come together to address issues that they identify or that senior management has raised as concerns. In small teams, people challenge prevailing assumptions about "the way we've always done things" and come up with recommendations for dramatic improvements in organizational processes. The Work-Out teams present their recommendations to a senior manager in a "town meeting", where the manager engages the entire group in a dialogue about the recommendations and then makes yes-or-no decisions on the spot. Recommendations for changing the organization are assigned to "owners" who have volunteered to carry them out and follow through to get results. That's Work-Out in a nutshell.

Work-Out can be applied to almost any type of problem. It was first used at GE to harvest the low-hanging fruit of OVERGROWN BUREAUCRACY by getting unnecessary and unproductive work out of the organizational system - e.g. reduce meetings, reports, and approval levels. They asked what procedures didn't make sense? Where were they wasting time? What activities seemed to add little value? Some of the bureaucratic procedures were expense reimbursements, making travel arrangements, obtaining office supplies, updating personnel data, taking education courses, upgrading software, and more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amir Aharon on March 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Unlike other books on Six Sigma that focus on variation reduction, statistics and other tools, this book is full of practical examples of techniques and implementation tips. The focal point of the book is on the process of generating the turnaround in a large conglomerate such as GE. In this case the aspects of organizational behavior constitute THE critical success factor (rather than statistical/other tools). Workout has undoubtedly been fundamental for generating the cultural transformation in GE. This book is addressing these organizational behavior aspects in a pragmatic manner presenting a detailed road-map from planning all the way through implementation.
Most examples deal with administration/bureaucracy and I would have expected to read more on operational aspects such as value chain improvement in a Production/Logistics environment.
This book is a must for top managers that search for a generic methodology to translate their vision into reality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kristin J. Arnold on January 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The idea of Work-Out started in 1989 as a way to push cultural change throughout General Electric. Neutron Jack had just streamlined the workforce, but the work processes had not been redesigned well enough to acknowledge the difference. So Jack (and a bunch of consultants) developed the Work-Out to literally "work" the bureaucracy, rework duplication of effort and other waste out of the process. The whole point of holding a Work-Out event is to maximize the number of high quality ideas for change and to carve out a doable list of actions that will deliver fast results on the improvement opportunity.

So what makes a Work-Out unique? First, the people who do the work define the issues and develop recommendations. Then, leadership makes the decision "on the spot" so all involved with making the recommendations know the status. Every recommendation has an implementation owner and a champion (a business manager who has the clout to make the approved recommendation a reality). Finally, every approved recommendation has the highest level of commitment to action (in other words, leadership gets in front of the action versus "behind" or supporting the recommendation). That means all obstacles are removed for swift action. It's all about easy fixes and quick successes in an enironment ripe for reducing waste - not long, complex science projects!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on May 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
There's no denying the effectiveness of the Work-Out system at General Electric (GE). This book is a straightforward and comprehensive introduction to what Work-Oout means and how it helped GE achieve such astonishing results under Jack Welch, who introduced it. This clear, well-organized book makes it possible for any executive or manager to apply at least some elements of the work-out program in any organizational context. We do caution you, however, that the Work-Out program as portrayed here demands a great deal of commitment and moral fortitude from leaders. Empowerment may be effective, but it is rarely comfortable for the powers that be. Just ask "Neutron Jack."
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