In the midst of all those corporate scandals, Jack Welch would ask those two questions to people at every speaking engagement. As he writes in a new afterword of the just-released paperback edition of our book, Jack: Straight From The Gut, “In almost every session, someone would mention that the scandals made them feel dirty about working in business, and they felt embarrassed when they had to tell people they worked in ‘Corporate America.’
“I would then ask people to raise their hands if they believed they worked for a bad company, or worked with dishonest people. Time after time, no one did. Instead, they raised their hands to say that they worked for good, trustworthy companies, and that their colleagues were honest and hard-working. It was awful to see so many innocent people being hurt by bad behavior that was — when you get right down to it — carried out by a small group of people at a small number of companies.”
The former chairman and CEO of General Electric says that for most of 2002, “it seemed to the public as if all of business was filled with bad people…I never believed that. I think that the long-running boom economy brought out terrible excesses, and dishonest acts were perpetuated by handfuls of people.
“But based on my forty years of experience, I believe most business people — just like most people in general — are good. They know right from wrong, and try to do right. They work hard and hope for a fair deal in life. There have always been crooks and cheats, and there always will be, but in general, laws, rules, and standards, and most important, good corporate cultures keep them in check.”
Does Jack miss the big job at GE? “No way!” he says. “Today, I share my life with Suzy Wetlaufer, whose beauty, brilliance, and goodness make every day perfect for me. I have truly found my soulmate. Home is in Boston with Suzy’s four terrific kids. We travel a lot, swim in the ocean every chance we get, cheer at Little League games, and go to Boston’s fun restaurants with good friends.”