Business Advice from Jack Welch: Balance Near-Term & Long-Term

Tom Rogers is the founder of CNBC. In a recent conversation on the On The Tape podcast, Tom shared a potent business lesson he picked up from Jack Welch, Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001.

Any idiot could run a company for the near-term. If all you were worried about is next quarter’s results, it’s not a hard thing for a manager to do. And any idiot could look at long-term strategy and say, all that matters is that horizon 3 years out, I’m running the company for that. He said what a GE manager ought to be, is somebody who is running the business for the near-term and the long-term and getting that balance right is everything.

It’s kind of a simple and to some extent an obvious thought, but if you wake up every morning thinking about the long-term and the near-term, not sacrificing one for the other, both are important. How do you meld any decision so that you are maximizing for that outcome? It does train your thinking in a way that creates a certain approach to everything you do in business.

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