Lessons from Talent is Overrated: Welch’s 4 E’s

I’ve been reading a great book called Talent is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. I’ve learned a lot of great lessons and many of the stories are some I’ve found to be inspiring to me online and in the real world. Hopefully you’ll feel the same way.

Former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch, had a set of criteria he would use when looking at prospective employees to promote into the upper levels of management. It’s called the 4 E’s! Let’s see if we can take them and apply them to players looking to break into the demanding responsibilities of raid leadership. These are all general (and well rounded) traits that Welch would key in on.


Self-motivated and driven. These are players who aren’t tired (or don’t give off that impression). They want to do something. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first hour of raiding, or the 4th or 12th hour. Their level of energy remains high, focused, and committed. They’re always eager to get going and try something new when strategies don’t work.

Ability to energize

Having someone who can not only motivate themselves but the others around them is a huge benefit. These are players who don’t need a spark to get the raid going. They are the spark that helps to ignite other players. It’s this up tempo attitude that separates okay raid leaders from great ones. This is a trait that doesn’t have to be limited to leaders either. It could very well be anyone.


(It means decisiveness, but a word was needed that started with the letter e)

Whether you are right or wrong isn’t as important as making the decision in a timely manner. Ideally you want to be right (or have positive results) more often than not. I personally cannot stand indecisiveness. That’s why I’m not a big fan of “co-gm” or democratic guilds. I don’t like standing around waiting 10 minutes for a raid leader to decide Abom wing or Military wing. Loot’s a different matter entirely. But for other raid-to-raid decisions on progression content like who’s tanking what, which boss to do, what strat to try, who sheeps what, and all that, it’s better to just pick a name and get it done. This becomes especially true in make or wipe situations when picking which Druid should battle res, for example.


This is also known as the follow through. Can you deliver? That’s all there is to it. The ability to execute is a broad look at all the players involved. Sure you’ve topped the healing charts. Every incoming add is CC’d or destroyed. Your tank miraculously survives 3 seconds past an enrage timer. But the raid boss or encounter must be beaten for all of that to matter. You can say all the right things. You can do all the right things. Yet at the end of the day, you’re going to be evaluated by your guild on the coordination and objectives achieved.

5 thoughts on “Lessons from Talent is Overrated: Welch’s 4 E’s”

  1. Our guild used to have a person like this. He managed to motivate people, was always there, and delivered results.

    He left the guild..

    I think one E was forgotten.

    The capability to share your feelings and understand another’s emotion and feelings. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes,” or in some way experience what the other person is feeling.

  2. @shyraia – how come he left? He leave the game or just the guild?
    Empathy is dangerous in a leadership position. I agree understanding is important but empathy implies agreement with the emotions.

    If I were to add an E it would be Erudite
    “great knowledge; learned or scholarly” and the ability to explain the why as well as the what.

  3. Well yeah, no need to feel the feelings, or even agree with them. But you do have to understand them, and take them into account.

    As a raidleader you need to know what motivates your players, how far you can take them, but also when it really is time for a break before they burn down.

    How can you speak to each player separately, how can you tell them that they need to do just that little bit better, how can you tell them that tonight you don’t have a spot for them, and all this without breaking their will to raid…only by knowing your team.

    You don’t have to feel their feelings, but you do have to know and understand them.

    And he left because he didn’t understand people’s feelings. He pushed his own will through, and then was surprised when he selfishly went off to do his own thing that people were not so happy with him. I think the official note was “I have a real life group of friends I want to raid with.”

    Shyraias last blog post..10 things on my WoW Wish List

  4. Funny how those “Real life friends” always tend to be in the most progressed guild on the server eh?

    I think you hit the difficulties of a guild officer on the head though. From a raid leader standpoint it can help if it’s a seperate person from the GM. Then people can take percieved “unfairness” to someone above the raid leader.

  5. Empathy is a critical leadership skill in the modern workplace and one that I feel translates well to the online leadership role. The ability to understand from where a team-member is coming is required for consensus building. Without consensus, transformational change in an organization is short-lived. Without understanding the other side’s perspective, you can never arrive on a mutually-agreed-upon resolution to a problem or issue. In WoW-speak: I’ve found players adopt suggestions more readily if I listen well and understand their feelings (read: resistances) about my suggested changes.

    Empathy is often confused for sympathy, which I see as a propensity to agree with feelings instead of stopping at understanding feelings. I see junior managers struggle _all the time_ because they either take empathy too far or not at all. I think Shy’s hit the nail on the head here and appreciated the comments. I believe so strongly in the importance of empathy that I broke my lurker status on the site.


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