I saw Jack Welch speak at a conference the other day, and he had a lot to say about content management.

OK, not really.

But he did have a lot to say about success, and about how to effect change in an organization. It was a manufacturing audience, so he touched on quality initiatives like Six Sigma, and he made the point that you should always put good people in charge of such initiatives. “Don’t pick the guy who is a year from retirement and shows it,” he said. “People can tell who the turkeys are.”

This reminded me of a recent discussion I moderated on implementing new technology. The question came up about success factors in implementing new systems, and one theme emerged again and again–new initiatives need champions. The conventional wisdom has become that technology projects need executive champions, but we ended up agreeing that projects need champions in the trenches too. I think of my own experiences with successful projects, where there were always stubborn, determined developers and content owners who bulled through technical glitches, patched software, and system crashes. No major project unfolds without setbacks. You need to have a certain doggedness. And if I could have asked Welch such a question (400 or so people were fighting for the microphone), I would imagine he would say doggedness is a good quality as well.