General Motors: A Leadership Opportunity?!

Well after a well deserved break for the holidays Developing Leaders returns with a new angle on leadership and an opportunity for you to get into the game.

Let’s talk about business leadership. Recently I was asked my opinion of General Motors and what I would do about their current challenges. I read on MSN today that they are evaluating their brands, Hummer in particular. Good thing I would say perhaps three years too late though. About four years ago I started to notice a lot of these aluminum bodied symbols of high end SUV. I am not sure I can properly describe my opinion of the brand so I will say no more on that. Around that time though I approached an H2 owner in a parking lot and asked in a friendly way, “how many miles per gallon does one of those get?” His answer: 6. “SIX man I thought it got at least ten.”

As I said in light of recent developments in oil cost you can understand why GM might be looking at options for this brand of vehicle.

Did you know that it the late 90’s GM stock traded as high as 89$ per share? I am no expert on things financial and I have no idea if they split the stock or not but seeing today’s value at $10.72 really speaks volumes to the challenge they face.

What is this institution to do? How do they reclaim their leadership role in the world of automotive manufacturers? If you were the CEO what would you do? What steps would you take?

I would love to hear your opinion…

In the coming days I will post my opinion on what can be done in answer to this question. In the meantime what is your opinion.

Contemplate well


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Posted in Case Study, leadership
One comment on “General Motors: A Leadership Opportunity?!
  1. Stephen McPherson says:

    Ron, GM is in desperate need of an iconoclastic leader along the lines of Lee Iacocca. GM truly needs to be turned upside down and given a good shake. However, the American people could stand the same thing, and unfortunatley that’s not on the horizon either. Why do I say that? Well, the medical obligation of GM’s retirees in the US is bankrupting the company. What’s that got to do with the American people? Simple answer: universal health care. The US is the only western power with out it and it has a direct correlation on the current national economic woes and well as those of GM. Additionally, the outsourcing of American manufacturing jobs is directly attributable to a lack of universal health care.(We’ve benefitted for years in Canada from this.) This lack adds a huge burden to manufacturers and makes the outsourcing decision a lot easier. The American people need to understand that neither the health insurers, nor the doctors, nor the lawyers, nor the politician have the best interests of the American people at heart on the issue of universal health care. They all stand to lose too much money and power if universal health care were to become a reality in the US.

    As for GM, they need to consoldiate very quickly. Consolidate down to 2 or 3 brands – 1 to carry the name sake, a second as a luxury brand and maybe keep GMC as a truck brand. Personally, I’d keep Chev, Cadillac and GMC and ditch the rest. The hard part will be dumping the dealer franchises. Ford did this in Canada with Mercury several years ago. GM also needs to start blowing it’s own horn more. They have some real Honda beaters in their product line up but few are aware, especially in the press. The press seem to be happy to keep on giving Honda and Toyota a free ride. GM needs to up the ante.

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