“Culture change is not simple to do,” GM CEO Fritz Henderson tells Bloomberg. “In the end, if you reinforce what you want in how you behave and how you act, the organization picks it up.” But Fritz isn’t merely turning GM around by example. “You’ve got to get your people involved,” he explains. “You’ve got to get your leadership involved, you have to be consistent, you have to be simple and have everyone understand what you’re trying to get accomplished.” And just what is Henderson trying to accomplish? Nothing less than a total change in perspective . . . in 50 employees.
Bloomberg breaks down Fritz’s plan to empower its “change agents” thusly:
The 50 to 60 participants in the change program first met last week, Henderson said. Their role is to reinforce with peers and subordinates the importance of Henderson’s “four pillars” of the new GM: speed, product and customer focus, accountability and risk taking.
Managers and executives were chosen for the role because they embody the behaviors sought from all employees, said Henderson, a 25-year GM veteran who previously served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer.
In short, GM is stigmatizing change by placing full responsibility on the shoulders of 50 hand-picked “change agents,” and empowering them to annoy and condescend to their co-workers. Oh, and there’s one more element to Fritz Henderson’s si se puede initiative . . .
GM has accelerated top-level decisions, with a nine-member executive team now meeting weekly instead of once a month, Henderson said. The group scrapped a planned Buick sport-utility vehicle on Aug. 14, eight days after the auto was unveiled to criticism from consumers, analysts and journalists.
Twitter-obsessed knee-jerkers and their “change agent” vanguard thrashing New GM into a deeper, harder frenzy absolutely sounds like a recipe for restoring GM’s lost focus. The fact that the social media-inspired Vuick-slaying did not elicit any reflection on GM’s larger CUV bloat problem proves it. Speeding up a twitchy, directionless organization yields more vigorous thrashing, as well as a genuine purpose and direction. Who can’t wait for GM’s planned IPO?