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Jack Welch on the Democratic Candidates

Joe Lieberman lacks energy and may have little edge. Howard Dean seems to have trouble handling stress. Wesley Clark may lack breadth of knowledge and passion. John Kerry has plenty of integrity and intelligence, but could likely flunk out in terms of inspiring others.

Joe Lieberman lacks energy and may have little edge. Howard Dean seems to have trouble handling stress. Wesley Clark may lack breadth of knowledge and passion. John Kerry has plenty of integrity and intelligence, but could likely flunk out in terms of inspiring others.

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That’s the assessment of noneother than Jack Welch, who evaluates those candidates in an intriguing op-ed piece in today’s The Wall Street Journal. Jack concedes he’s a Bush supporter and that he’s making these judgments “at the risk of talking out of school.” But he doesn’t shy away from making these keen observations.

Frankly, more fascinating than his assessments on people he doesn’t intend to vote for is the underlying logic for grading the candidates. Jack, for example, writes of his process for evaluating leadership potential. It was a framework he employed for more than 30 years at General Electric Co. and one he described in our collaboration together, “Jack: Straight from the Gut.”

“Basically,” he writes in the Journal, “my process assesses four essential traits of leadership. One, successful leaders have tons of positive energy. They can go go go; they love action and relish change.

“Two, they have the ability to energize others–they love people and can inspire them to move mountains when they have to.

“Three, they have edge, the courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions–no maybes.

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“And finally, they can execute. They get the job done.”

“If a candidate for a leadership role has the four E’s (energy, energize, edge, and execute), then you look for a final trait–passion. By that I mean a heartfelt, deep and authentic excitement about life and work. People with passion care–really care in their bones–about neighbors, employees, colleagues, and friends winning. They love to learn and grow themselves, and they get a kick when the people around them do the same.”

From your own experience with leaders you’ve worked for and with, what of you think of this process to assess who has the right stuff and who doesn’t?

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