Legendary CEO Jack Welch (search) used to say, if you set a deadline, mean it, meet it and, if you can, beat it.
He did that routinely at GE — sometimes to his own detriment. So convinced was Wall Street that the company's quarterly earnings would beat their expectations that they built in "beating expectations."
He set a tough standard. But he set it just the same. Because, he told me, if he didn't, no one else would.
I admire that.
Just like I admire the sudden transfer of sovereignty in Iraq, a full two days ahead of the reported deadline. Now, two days might not seem like a lot — just like beating an earnings estimate by a couple of pennies might not seem like a lot. But it's the impression it leaves.
The impression you get in Iraq is that, come hell or high water, the new government is going to thumb its nose in the face of blatant, evil, terror. No hood, or goon, or violent-prone sicko is going to disrupt the march of decency.
This new government might yet stumble and I can guarantee bloodshed sadly will continue. But the folks in charge say they're ready for the folks who are not. And two days readier than we gave them credit for.
I like that. Because I like goals and high expectations.
After all, if we don't set them high, I'm convinced we're doomed to perform low.
We're better than that. And clearly the folks taking charge in Iraq are trying to show they're better than that too.
Companies stumble and so do governments. But the ones who stumble more and shame more are the ones who don't gamble more and hope more and challenge more.
Some say they set themselves up for failure making such deadlines. I say they set themselves up for failure when they don't even try.
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