Around the turn of the last century, I heard Jack Welch recount how he had visited a clothing store on New York’s Fifth Avenue to buy a sweater. A sales manager approached the then boss of General Electric, said he was a fan, and in an embarrassed whisper, sought his advice. Was it essential to get rid of the worst-performing 10 per cent of his staff every year, even though his own team consisted of just three people? “Of course,” Mr Welch replied breezily.
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