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Gov. Scott plugs in GE's Welch for staff pep talk

As a business executive, one of Rick Scott's role models was General Electric CEO Jack Welch, known for his cost-cutting zeal and his philosophy of rewarding high-performing employees with handsome bonuses. Now as governor, Scott is still leaning on Welch for advice that can be applied to state government. "They are long-time friends," said Scott's communications director, Brian Burgess.

Welch quietly visited Tallahassee on Wednesday and -- after a rousing introduction by Scott -- delivered a pep talk to a crowd of senior managers in state government assembled in the Cabinet room in the state Capitol. The idea was for Welch's lessons in business to inspire state workers.

"The governor is a pure businessman. He's not a politician," Burgess said.

Burgess recalled that one of Welch's bits of wisdom was to always use candor: "Don't sugar-coat things for people," Burgess said. The spokesman said Scott admires Welch's philosophy of trying to get as much accomplished as possible. "He's trying to do a lot and he only has four or eight years," Burgess said. --- Steve Bousquet