Legendary General Electric CEO Jack Welch has taken to LinkedIn to offer a few words of wisdom to those office dwellers looking to get ahead. In short, there are two things that every worker should do to snag that promotion: over deliver, and make your boss smarter.
Welch worked his way up at GE (GE), eventually becoming the company’s eighth chairman and CEO in 1981. He even snagged Fortune’s “Manager of the Century” title in 2000. His career advice has been well-honed over his nearly 55 years of experience in the corporate world — and it has been chronicled in a book he co-wrote with his wife Suzy Welch.
To prove his point, Welch recalled an example from early in his career that paid off in a big promotion.
One time, when I was a young process engineer on a new plastic, running a small 10×10 chemical pilot plant, my boss said to me, “Oh, the boss from New York is coming up. We want to show him the pipes you put in place in the new pilot plant you’ve got.”
When the New York boss came up to see us, I gave him the requisite update on the plastic and my little project. But I also painted him a bigger picture of how the plastic we had fit into the entire plastics industry and where the industry was headed.
Now, I had only been there a year and I was not a genius by any means. But I had done a hell of a lot of research to show how our product fit into the larger scheme of things. It was enough to give a clear view of what he was investing in, where we were in it, and how our plastic compared to our top three competitors — what our strengths were, compared to what their strengths were.
A year later that same boss remembered Welch, granting him a big promotion. That’s the key to success, according to Welch: “Over-deliver on the numbers and behaviors, but also gunning for the bigger perspective.”