GE Work-Out

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Accelerating Decision-Making and Effective Execution

“Within two years, we conducted over 20 [GE Work-Out] sessions, giving double-digit % savings from every event . . .”
. . . read more

Have you ever had the urge to simply cut through the “business-as-usual” way of doing things, make a decision and get it done?

If you have, then you understand the spirit of Work-Out.

GE Work-Out:  What It Is

Developed at General Electric during the “Jack Welch era,” Work-Out is a hybrid problem-confrontation/change-acceleration process that calls a “time out” from typical bureaucratic practices and behaviors and substitutes continuous focus, efficient decision-making and accelerated implementation.

The GE Work-OutGE Work-Out change acceleration process provides a comprehensive framework within which to overcome barriers of rank, function, geography, bureaucracy and culture to foster what GE originally called “boundaryless behavior.”

By effectively and efficiently aligning people across organizational boundaries, Work-Out not only lowers resistance to change, but also mobilizes commitment and support for high-priority business-improvement activity.  Properly executed, the Work-Out change acceleration process can create the kind of momentum and efficient implementation that improves business results . . . now.

GE Work-Out Implementation:  How It Works

GE Work-Out Components

Unlike conventional methods of teaming, whereby problem-solving or “task” teams meet for short periods over several weeks or even months, the heart of General Electric Work-Out is its efficient, focused, multiple-day work sessions.  These are carefully designed and closely facilitated by one or more of our GE Work-Out-experienced Senior Associates.

In these high-performance work sessions, teams composed of internal “experts” who are closest to the challenge – as well as representatives of customers, suppliers or other business partners, where appropriate – thoroughly analyze a critical business issue and develop recommendations for improvement.

Before the Work-Out session can be adjourned, relevant executive decision-makers must enter the forum and render judgment on all team recommendations clearly, publicly and “on the spot.”  This kind of accelerated decision-making, along with unambiguous, public leadership endorsement, serves as a solid foundation for Work-Out teams as they launch into Work-Out’s accelerated implementation phase.

During implementation, teams will reconvene with executive decision-makers to check progress at 30, 60 and, finally, 90 days, by which time most if not all of their work must be completed.  This short-cycle implementation timetable creates focus and a sense of urgency, accelerating the achievement of the teams’ “stretch” targets and improvements.

Conducted individually or as a strategically orchestrated and complementary series of initiatives, Work-Out can be a powerful force for getting results – fast – and for helping any company, regardless of size, act and feel like a smaller, nimbler and more resilient enterprise.

GE Work-Out Implementation:  How It’s Done

Gagnon Associates consultants helped GE launch Work-Out initially during the early 1990’s and are some of the most experienced practitioners available.

We can guide you successfully through the Work-Out Phases pictured below so that your business can achieve the kind of results for which Work-Out is so well-known.

GE Work-Out Phases

GE Work-Out Training: Building Client Self-Sufficiency

One of our valued clients has said the following about us:

“. . . the major difference between Gagnon Associates and other consultants I’ve worked with: you wanted us to learn the process. You retained no secrets to assure future employment. You measure your success by the independence of your client.” . . . ... Read the full Testimonial »


This kind of testimonial is extremely gratifying to us, of course, and nowhere is it truer than of our approach to GE Work-Out. Beginning at General Electric during the Jack Welch era and continuing right up to the present, our GE Work-Out training sessions have ranged from large workshops, accommodating scores of individuals over several years to individual, one-time sessions for as few as eight trainees. In all cases, the objective of our GE Work-Out training sessions is always the same: building our clients’ self-sufficiency in the GE Work-Out methodology.

The following graphic illustrates how we transfer GE Work-Out skills from our experienced Associates to individuals within our client organizations.   Building our clients’ capabilities in this way allows them to continue to generate improved business results on their own long after their engagement with us is over.

GE Workout Training Steps

Representative GE Work-Out Training Designs

Overviews of representative GE Work-Out training sessions are pictured below.  The first illustrates an approach to GE Work-Out taining for “Lead Consultant/Facilitators,” that is, individuals who seek the skills to enable them to “design” or scope and stage a Work-Out engagement “from scratch.”  The second depicts a representative GE Work-Out training design for “Team Consultant/Facilitators,” that is, individuals who will facilitate the Conduct phase of a single team in a multiple-team Work-Out that has previously been designed by a “Lead Consultant/Facilitator.”

GE Workout Training Lead Agenda

GE Workout Training Team Agenda

Of course, client situations can vary greatly and some tailoring to individual client needs is always advisable. Consequently, these outlines should be viewed as representative examples only.

For concrete descriptions of actual Work-Out engagmenents as well as personal endorsements from some of our valued clients, please review the testimonials and case studies that follow:

“I personally used the [GE Work-Out] Process, as delivered by Gagnon Associates, from 1995 to 1997 in the Asia Pacific Region.  We used the Process in Asia Pacific to bring greater transparency to our supplier relationships and to support a seamless working method within our Supply Chain.

“Within two years, we conducted over 20 sessions, giving double-digit % savings from every event.” ... Read the full Testimonial »

“Since this was a process that directly involved employees in helping us find better ways to do the work they are closest to every day, Gagnon Associates worked with and through cross-functional, problem-solving teams of LCU people. As a result, this process broke down silos within the company, and improved teamwork and collaboration across the credit union. Just as importantly, perhaps, it has brought understanding among our people of how changes they make can impact other areas of the credit union and, based on this, how important it is to share information/policy/process changes across functions. In short, it has made us a more aware and better-functioning team as an organization.” ... Read the full Testimonial »

Case Study: Work-Out At General Electric, Where It All Began . . .

THE COMPANY: At the time Work-Out began: A global, diversified technology and services company that manufactured such products as aircraft engines and plastics and offered such varied services as power generation, financial services, medical imaging and television programming. One of America’s oldest companies, considered a leader in business ... Read the full Case Study »

Case Study: Work-Out, Productivity Improvement

THE COMPANY: A 700MM+ worldwide maker of large-scale mining machinery and equipment.
THE PROBLEM: Caught between low demand growth for original equipment and emerging new competition, the Company struggles with legacy issues of high costs and underutilization while lagging industry counterparts on key measures such as profitability, inventory turns, quality, etc. New CEO ... Read the full Case Study »

Case Study: Work-Out, New Product Development

THE COMPANY: A formerly high-flying, enviably profitable surgical products division of a major health care company. Makers of state-of-the-art, reusable and disposable devices for the rapidly-growing, least-invasive surgery market.
THE PROBLEM: Declining profits due to increased costs associated with a lack of discipline and lack of customer focus in screening new product ideas, ... Read the full Case Study »