Daily Podcast: "There is Nothing so Useless as Doing Efficiently That Which Should Not Be Done at All"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
daily podcast there is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not

The debate over Toyota's Tundra over-eagerness (and subsequent production juggling) got me thinking of the above quote from management guru Peter Drucker. And that reminded me… Whenever someone ridicules TTAC's GM Death Watch for cresting a particular episodic number, I ask them to imagine the count if I'd started writing when GM began its decline. For proper mind boggling, cast your mind back to 1946. After spending two years inside GM, management Drucker published " Concept of the Corporation." Although Drucker's tome praised GM's infrastructure, the author suggested that the automaker should decentralize power to autonomous business units. GM Chairman Alfred P. Sloan's inability to grasp the implications of Drucker's recommendations marked the beginning of the end for what was once the world's most profitable business. It took more than half a century for GM's fundamental cultural weaknesses to drag it into today's ignominy. And the slouch towards Bethlehem was not inevitable. Or was it? "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." This GM's CEOs have not done for many, many years. And that's the truth.

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  • Nemphre Nemphre on Jul 13, 2008

    "Those GM10 cars are awful" And yet Motortrend named the Grand Prix their Car of the Year for '88.

  • John Horner John Horner on Jul 13, 2008

    If you want to read a predecessor of the Death Watch series, check out this 1992 piece from Fortune magazine. (p.s. It is way more than 800 words :) ) http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1992/11/16/77137/index.htm

  • GS650G GS650G on Jul 14, 2008

    Motortrend also named the Renault Alliance a COTY as well as the 74 mustang.

  • Nikita Nikita on Jul 14, 2008

    The real decline started in 1962, the year GM's market share peaked, and VW sold its millionth car in the US. A dizzy array of overlapping models of all sizes of cars from every division except maybe Cadillac and GMC followed. An example I remember is that a fully-optioned Caprice in the late 1960's retailed for more than a base Cadillac.