The Fritz Is Online

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
the fritz is online

GM’s Fritz Henderson is trying on a paler shade of transparency over at ye olde Fastlane blog. With results that defy this blogger’s adjective collection. When asked whether the “new GM” should continue to employ the thousand authors of GM’s failure, Henderson replied with self-serving equivocation. “If I was starting a new company, which we are in fact, I would start with a blend of people that have been involved in winning businesses and outstanding people that learn from their failures. At least for me personally, I have been involved in both.” Well, isn’t that convenient? OK, Henderson, “what do you think is the most important change that needs to be made in GM’s corporate culture?” Modesty prevents even us from posting Henderson’s reply before the jump.

we need to make some important changes in our culture. at least for me, we must drive home the following concepts and behaviours every day:

1. product and customers should dominate our activities and day to day lives.

2. speed. this is not sense of urgency, it is speed.

3. risk taking: we have great people. we need to allow them to take risks and coach them accordingly.

4. accountability: results count, period. consistent with a culture that encourages smart risk taking, with speed and delegation to act, we must all feel and live with a sense of accountability.

Speed not urgency? The teeth-gnashing jokes practically write themselves. Especially when your punctuation recalls that of a last-minute sophomore essay written towards the end of a savage Adderall binge. And besides the first point (which is as obvious as business culture statements come), what is Henderson trying to say? Faster, riskier, and once more with feeling? It sounds like it’s time for someone to get some sleep.

“we must spend time on products, customers and building our brands. it has been my experience that managing problems and restructuring consumes time, actually oversubscribes time, so we must get these actions behind us so we can focus on the future.”

Yes, oversubscribes. You know, like punctuation. No time.

“I had a small amount of shares from the old GM. What has happened to them?” Henderson replies: “unfortunately, the value of gm shares is expected to be zero.” Dude, Fritz… they are zero. There’s no “expected” about it.

This goes on at some length. Henderson admits that the Volt “will not be an inexpensive vehicle in its first generation, but it will be extremely affordable relative to a tesla.” You know, like the Coda. Also, nobody wants to buy Pontiac.

But the big question in all this never gets asked. Or at least never gets moderated into the discussion. So here it is: If GM’s future is so important that Henderson doesn’t have time for “managing problems and restructuring” or punctuation, how does he have time to spout truisms, non-news and non-answers to the webchaterati? Riddle me that. Now, where did I put those black beauties?

Join the conversation
2 of 20 comments
  • Martin B Martin B on Jun 06, 2009
    accountability: results count, period. consistent with a culture that encourages smart risk taking, with speed and delegation to act, we must all feel and live with a sense of accountability. "Smart" risk taking? Live with accountability? This sounds to me like you can only do something risky if success is guaranteed -- i.e. DON'T TAKE ANY RISKS.

  • Potemkin Potemkin on Jun 06, 2009

    "I would also recommend that each level of management review the next level above. " I worked for GM for 35 years and can tell you the quickest route to oblivion for your career path is to criticize your superiors. GM management does not tolerate comments from their underlings. Again, the only route to success for The General is a purge at the top and an outsider to run the place. Another Allan Mullally who would kick ass and take names.

  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 (  Bronze or  Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the  Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
  • Scott "It may not be the ideal hauler to take the clan cross-country to Wally World considering range anxiety "Range Anxiety is a chosen term that conceals as much as it discloses. You don't care about range that much if you can recharge quickly and current BV's (battery vehicles) can't, no matter how good the chargers are. From what I've been reading it is likely that within 5 years there will be batteries in cars, most likely Tesla's, that can charge fast enough with no harm to the batteries to satisfy all of us with no need to increase range beyond a real world 300-ish miles.And that's when I buy one.
  • Charles I had one and loved it . Seated 7 people . Easy to park , great van
  • Jay Mason Your outdoor space will get better every year with a pergola. A horizontal, pole-supported framework for climbing plants is called a pergola. It creates a closed off area. pergola builder denton texas by Denton Custom Decks provide cover for outdoor gatherings. They would be more than happy to assist you with the pergola's framework.
  • Alan I would think Ford would beef up the drive line considering the torque increase, horse power isn't a factor here. I looked at a Harrop supercharger for my vehicle. Harrop offered two stages of performance. The first was a paltry 100hp to the wheels (12 000AUD)and the second was 250hp to the wheels ($20 000 (engine didn't rev harder so torque was significantly increased)). The Stage One had no drive line changes, but the Stage Two had drive line modifications. My vehicle weighs roughly the same as a full size pickup and the 400'ish hp I have is sufficient, I had little use for another 100 let alone 250hp. I couldn't see much difference in the actual supercharger setup other than a ratio change for the drive of the supercharger, so that extra $8 000 went into the drive line.