13 July 2009 by Kye Harris (link to Kye’s updated blog to follow soon)
In 1954, General Motors was one of the world’s largest corporations with an equally large market share of 54%. Their CEO famously quipped, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.”
Forty years later, in 1994, GM’s market share had dipped to 33% helped by an increase in foreign competition (particularly from the Japanese) and a growing perception of poor product style and quality. Today, after emerging from a brief 40-day bankruptcy, GM’s share of the market waivers around 20%. A precipitous fall, to say the least, and a true wake-up call for companies that feel they can ignore change and remain viable and responsive.
Bob Lutz, an automotive legend with stints at GM, Ford, and BMW, returned to GM and currently oversees all creative elements including products and the customer relationship. Lutz says GM “chaffed” under the old organizational structure and the “lack of speed” re: decision making. GM’s current President & CEO, Fritz Henderson, claimed that “business as usual is over”. Each of these issues, poor organizational structure, bad decision review processes, and the corporate culture that enabled them both, are at the heart of Change Management and on which change leaders and practitioners continue to highlight and counsel clients.
What transformational change issues, i.e., organizational and team structure, executive and leadership alignment, stakeholder and user engagement, business process and day-to-day work flow, solution deployment, corporate learning and development, and capability and knowledge transfer, will be at the core of the next corporate down fall? To what change resistance are you a witness and what steps are you taking today to ensure your company survives the current (and future) economic down-turn?