“As leaders, our decisions affect not just ourselves but everybody in our universe,” says Suzy Welch, author of the best-seller 10-10-10: A Life Transforming Idea. “When you step up to be a leader, you are stepping up to have an impact on people’s lives and it can be positive or negative.” When we fail to make a decision with a positive impact, she says, “it’s not for lack of wanting to make the right decisions, it’s the lack of technique in how to make decisions.”
Welch will speak at a leadership conference on Feb. 2 at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton. Sponsored by Fox Communities Credit Union, her talk will keynote “BLEND – Building Leadership, Encouraging New Direction,” a conference for business and community leaders and professionals striving to build their leadership skills.
Welch was practicing what she preaches about life, career and balance when she took a call from Insight in the sunny backyard of her Florida home on the day of the first snowstorm of this season in Northeast Wisconsin. Her husband, former chairman of GE and co-author with Suzy of the international best-seller, Winning, was recuperating from an infection that kept him in the hospital for 104 days this fall, and Suzy was overseeing his recuperation. “First, I’ve got to get my husband better,” she said, adding that he was doing fine.
Her book, 10-10-10, describes the technique she developed for making decisions in work, life and parenting. She shares the story of how she came up with it (following a fiasco of a business trip to Hawaii with her young kids in tow) and how countless others have applied it in decisions big and small. The idea? Consider each decision and the impact it will make in your life and for others in the context of the next 10 minutes, the next 10 months and the next 10 years.
“Time magazine called it contagious. It works,” she says. “Leadership, just like life, is a series of decisions and we often perceive that we don’t have a lot of agency in our decisions – that there are factors out of our control. But my experience is we have a lot more control over our decisions than we believe.”
Suzy, the mother of four children ages 14 to 20, met Jack when she prepared an interview with him for the Harvard Business Review (the story did not run and she resigned as editor); they married in 2004. Together they wrote “The Welch Way,” a weekly column on business and career challenges which appeared in BusinessWeek magazine from 2005-2009 and was published in 45 newspapers worldwide by The New York Times Syndicate. Suzy is also a columnist for O – The Oprah Magazine.
In January, the Welches will launch the Jack Welch Management Institute, a fully-accredited, online master’s of business program through Chancellor University.
“We’re really psyched about this,” Suzy says of their online MBA program. “Neither of us have ever been entrepreneurs before. We’ve invested our own money in it – and it’s exciting.”