If you’re wondering what it takes to transform a small construction company into a multinational corporation there’s no better story than that of Jack Welch. Commonly referred to as the greatest leader of his era, Welch was an influential executive and CEO of General Electric for 20 years starting in 1981. Here are some essential nuggets of hiring and leadership wisdom from Jack Welch that can inspire construction managers of today.

An Evolving Workplace

Welch’s leadership style has been scrutinized lately for being too hardheaded leaving many people wondering whether his approach can still be as effective today. The workplace has undergone many significant changes since his generation. Welch managed during a time when competition was valued over collaboration.

Some Things Don’t Change

In his time, there were little to no labor shortages, it was an employer’s market, and remote work opportunities were rare. Many forms of technology we take for granted today were basically non-factors back then. So, even though all of his principles may not be as helpful today, there are still plenty of time-tested business practices that can help you to grow your company and revenue. Here are a few.

1. Make careful hiring and firing decisions.

Executives spend most of their time managing people. Expert construction recruiters have a high success rate when it comes to hiring, but it’s not realistic to assume that construction leaders will get all of their hiring decisions right the first time. Even Jack Welch estimated that he only made great hiring selections four out of five times. He argued that hiring is a crucial skill that leaders from all industries should improve upon. And it’s just as important to know when to let under-performers go.

2. Communicate with candor.

Jack Welch suggested that lacking candor prevents you from realizing your full potential. Communicating in a direct manner is an essential quality of good construction leadership because it promotes strong working relationships at all levels.

3. Embrace lifelong curiosity.

Just because you’re a construction executive, or even a CEO, doesn’t mean that you should stop asking questions and learning. Jack Welch, along with many of the greatest business minds of the world, all shared insatiable curiosities throughout their lifetimes. Failing to remain curious will result in outdated skill sets.

4. Don’t kick people when they are down.

Everyone makes mistakes. Jack Welch learned early on in his career that mistakes were also great opportunities for growth instead of punishment. He encouraged leaders to challenge their employees by helping them understand why they made the mistakes and what should have been done differently.

According to Welch, hiring decisions are the most difficult to reverse. Construction recruiters can help you to find the right people for the right roles to drive your firm’s success. Then, stay eager to learn new things, speak with candor, and never kick people when they are already down.


How can we help you?

Searching for an opportunity in the construction industry? Contact The Birmingham Group’s team of seasoned commercial construction recruiters today to discuss your career path or browse our open positions.

Are you a hiring authority needed construction talent? Submit a search request today.