Now that I own 60% of GM, I would like to know how the automaker is going to become profitable and pay back the loan I gave them. Workforce.com reported that on June 1, in a videoconference for all employees, GM CEO Fritz Henderson talked about:
… the “new GM” that would emerge from bankruptcy with more competitive labor contracts, reduced operating costs, fewer plants and a leaner production capacity focused on small, fuel-efficient cars.
That’s all well and good, but unless GM transforms its culture, it won’t be long before the “new GM” begins to look like the “old GM” again. David Leonhardt, economics columnist for the New York Times, writes:
General Motors has been hemorrhaging customers for decades. For the last 30 years, it has been losing almost one percentage point of market share every year. It sold 45 percent of the new vehicles in this country in 1980, 35 percent in 1990, 28 percent in 2000 and 19 percent so far this year.
So why should I believe that GM will be able to achieve something going forward that it hasn't achieved over the past 30 years? In an interview with NPR’s Robert Segal, Henderson said, "We've made mistakes, there's no question we've made mistakes. We need to learn from those mistakes, and we will.” I would like to know how GM will learn from those mistakes, as well as future mistakes. Will employees tell their managers when mistakes are made? Will managers tell executives when mistakes are made? Will they all look for root causes without placing blame? Will they discuss the undiscussable? Will employees be rewarded for continuous improvement? Will organizational silos disappear between functional areas so that employees can share information and learn from each other? These are just some of the questions I would like to ask GM execs.