by Scott Pickard
Sarah, very interesting article and your recommendations are well-intentioned and truthful, but, I give them a slim chance of making a dent in the sprawling, dense and calcified GM cultural fabric which has deeply embedded within it the familiar dysfunctional qualities of a massive bureaucratic organization. In this regard, human nature repeats itself with disappointing consistency. In very large corporations, universities, government units, and military, this is what we face and deal with every day.
It confirms to me that GM was probably not “too big to fail.” Failure could have been the disruptive event necessary to purge the dysfunction and clear a path for renewal — a “corporate reboot” if you will. Bankruptcy would have provided the platform and mandate for sweeping away all the dead wood, political toxicity, cronyism, greed, and staleness that builds up over time inside society’s largest institutions.
Had that happened, then “creating opportunities for collegiality to take root….encouraging questions that create context….. helping employees to feel safe by reshaping the work environment…,” might have been introduced into a clean, fear-free, accepting cultural landscape.
But, it didn’t happen, so best of luck to Mary Barra.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all-in for capitalism with its faults, but we all know the aggressive pursuit of profit in BIG BUSINESS (with power and greed lurking in the headquarters’ shadows) has its dark side.