Jack Welch’s longtime speechwriter is at least as obnoxious as his former boss—but together they have a lot to teach us
After Bill Lane keynoted our Speechwriters Conference a few years ago, I was thrilled. The former speechwriter to General Electric’s Jack Welch was smart, bold, thought-provoking and funny—pretty much everything an anxious conference organizer like me could ask for.
And so I politely dismissed the few attendees came up to me to suggest that Lane was a little on the macho side, or to complain that he swore a little too much for their taste. What did they want from me?
Well, I just finished the new book-length version of Lane’s act, Jacked Up, “The Inside Story of How Jack Welch Talked GE into Becoming the World’s Greatest Company.” And now I’m the one who has just learned a great deal from Lane and is still looking for someone to gripe about him to.
Loudly. Profanely. Mindlessly. The way Lane describes Neutron Jack screaming at him and lots of others during their two-decade association, from 1980 to 2001.
“You asshole!” Lane has Welch screeching at him the day the new annual report comes into the office. “You put the wrong picture in the back. I hate that fucking picture. … You fucked up.”