A NEW GM: FAST, FOCUSED AND DECISIVE
General Motors plus réactive, précise et résolue que jamais
A la fin des années 1990, General Motors contrôlait une quinzaine de marques. Le constructeur automobile américain basé à Détroit était le plus grand fabricant automobile au monde. Dans les années 2000, suite à un surendettement incontrôlable, c’est la chute et GM ne doit son salut qu’à un prêt d’urgence de l’état. Aujourd’hui, le groupe se porte mieux grâce à la stratégie de son sa PDG Mary Barra. Découvrez ses méthodes.
DETROIT — Mary Barra has been chairman and CEO of General Motors for only 3 1/2 years, but the company she leads today is vastly different from the one she inherited: more decisive, focused, responsive and responsible.
2. Barra and a team that combines GM lifers and carefully selected newcomers are creating a company that’s more sensitive to its customers and more focused on profit than ever before. 3. “We’ve never seen anybody run GM like this. She’s breaking all the rules,” KBB.com executive analyst Rebecca Lindland said.
4. Phrases such as “customer first” and “good stewards of our owners’ money,” are touchstones of the culture growing within GM.
5. “GM used to be all about sales volume and market share,” Autotrader senior analyst Michelle Krebs said. “Now, if they don’t see a path to profitability and leadership, they get out. The goal is to sell fewer vehicles and make more money. It’s a new GM.”
6. Among the defining moments of Barra’s tenure: ––The company accepted responsibility, apologized and essentially wrote a blank check when a GM employee allegedly concealed faulty ignition switches that led to accidents and multiple deaths. ––It has aggressively pursued radical new technologies and developing businesses, including ridesharing, autonomous vehicles and mass-market electric cars. ––It has shut down money-losing operations in Russia, Australia, India and South Africa.
––It has sold its European operations to Peugeot SA, essentially exiting a huge, but unprofitable, market. ––It has put data from customers at the heart of its product development and manufacturing decisions.
7. Common themes among those decisions include a refusal to let problems fester and an understanding that bright ideas and catchy slogans are meaningless unless GM has the focus and finances to deliver on them.
When Barra joined GM in 1985, a female chair and CEO of GM was almost inconceivable.
SORTING THINGS OUT
8. “The easiest time to solve a problem is when it’s small,” Barra said in an interview. “We talk to everybody about that: Raise issues (early) so you can get the help to solve them.”
9. Barra was a highly regarded but littleknown career engineer — GM’s global product development chief — when she was thrust into the global spotlight as the first female CEO of an automaker.
10. “My mom and dad raised me and my brother to believe we could do anything we set our minds to,” she said. “They were raised in the Depression, and they so believed in the American Dream.
11. When Barra joined GM in 1985, a female chair and CEO of GM was almost inconceivable. GM and all automakers were an old-economy boys club, very unlike the high-tech companies the 21st century demands. “I didn’t necessarily go ‘I’m a woman in the working world,’” she said. “I was a person in the working world.
12. “I do sit here today because there were people 20 years ago who gave me career opportunities and gave me constructive feedback and allowed me to grow and took risks on me with the jobs they put me in.” Paying that forward, she’s an avid supporter of New York-based Girls Who Code, a nonprofit group encouraging middle and high school girls to learn computer science. Barra helped introduce the program to metropolitan Detroit schools and has visited some of their meetings.
GETTING STARTED AGAIN
13. GM global product development and purchasing boss Mark Reuss worked alongside Barra for decades. They watched GM management kick problems down the road and make one money-losing decision after another. When the government-overseen bankruptcy gave GM a fresh start after the 2007-09 recession, the two fast-rising executives promised themselves they would not repeat those mistakes.
14. “GM came out of bankruptcy with a clean slate, none of the baggage that had crippled them,” Maryann Keller, principal analyst at Maryann Keller & Associates, said. “The only liability was cultural issues that allowed them to pretend the bankruptcy had been because of the credit crisis, not management’s own bad decisions.”
15. Bolstered by GM president Dan Ammann’s financial analysis, Barra set a new course, abandoning some longtime businesses that made little money, strengthening those positioned to grow and committing GM to new areas including autonomous vehicles, car-sharing and alternative energy.
16. “One of the most important things leaders do is deploy capital,” Barra said. “You’ve got to set strategy and deploy capital. We have been systematically going through the business, region by region and segment by segment, asking, ‘Do we have a path to profitability, and is this the best place for us to allocate this capital?’ ”
17. That analysis led GM to shed money-losing operations around the world, despite the fact that those decisions put regaining the company’s longtime status as the world’s largest automaker out of reach. For decades, GM defined itself largely by the fact that it was the world’s largest automaker. Ending production in Europe took GM out of a three-way race with Toyota and Volkswagen for No. 1.
18. Barra’s comfortable with that: “Biggest doesn’t mean best. We don’t win until our customers say we win. They need to decide to buy our products.”