GE Work-Out

Creating the spirit of a start-up firm in a large and complex enterprise


GE Work-Out

Goals  ▪  Problems Addressed

5 Growth Dimensions

7 Steps  ▪  5 Sessions



Jack Welch advice business quotes

Involve everyone. Business is all about capturing intellect from every person. The way to engender enthusiasm it to allow employees far more freedom and far more responsibility.

Jack Welch



Lessons from Business Legends e-book PowerPoint slide deck for teachers  

Why Work-Out?

As Jack Welch began to recognize that employees were an important source of brainpower for new and creative ideas, he wanted to create an environment that pushes towards "a relentless, endless companywide search for a better way to do everything we do." The Work-Out program was a way to reduce bureaucracy and give every employee, from managers to factory workers, an opportunity to influence and improve GE's day-to-day operations.



Jack Welch advice business quotes

The idea flow from the human spirit is absolutely unlimited. All you have to do is tap into that well.

Jack Welch




Choosing the Name

The program lacked the name at the start. Because Welch had talked about "working out" the nonsense of GE, and dealing with problems that had to be "worked out", the name Work-Out was chosen.


Behave Like a Small Company

Encouragement of Lateral Thinking at GE Work-Out



Jack Welch advice business quotes

One of the ways we'll know that Work-Out has been successful is that my style of leadership
will no longer be tolerated in this company.

Jack Welch




Ultimately, the goal of the Work-Out program was to "clean up" GE, to make workers more productive and processes simpler and more clear-cut.

Work-Out was also designed to reduce, and ultimately eliminate all of the waste hours and energy that large organizations typically expend in performing day-to-day operations.




Key Benefits

Reduces bureaucracy

Empowers people

Continuously reinvents ever-more effective ways of doing business

Four Major Goals

Build Trust

Empower Employees

Eliminate Unnecessary Work

Create a New Paradigm for GE




The Work-Out Concept

At its core, Work-Out is a very simple concept based on the premise that those closest to the work know it best. When the ideas of those people, irrespective of their functions and job titles, are solicited and turned immediately into action, an unstoppable wave of creativity, energy, and productivity is unleashed throughout the organization.




At GE, Work-Out "Town Meetings" gave the corporation access to an unlimited resource of imagination and energy of its talented employees.


5 Targeted Dimensions of Growth




In Welch's words, Work-Out is meant to help people stop "wrestling with the boundaries, the absurdities that grow in large organizations. We're all familiar with those absurdities: too many approvals, duplication, pomposity, waste."

The Work-Out in essence turned the company upside down and changed the way people behaved at the company. Workers were empowered to tell the bosses what to do.




Two Defining Aspects

① Employees have to be able to make suggestions to their bosses face-to-face.

② Employees have to be able to get a response on the spot, if possible.


2 Categories of Problems Addressed

7 Implementation Steps

5 Sessions



Jack Welch advice business quotes

Change before you have to.

Jack Welch




Making Change Really Happen

In most organizations, change efforts come and go and rarely make a difference. But at GE, one of the largest companies in the world, one particular change process helped spark a complete transformation Work-Out. With Work-Out as part of its DNA, GE has become one of the most innovative, profitable, and admired companies on earth.


See Change as an Opportunity

Work-Out Success Stories

3 Ss of Winning in Business

GE Leadership Effectiveness Survey







Your growth boosters


Teaching by Example