When Bob Lutz got into the
auto business in the early 1960s, CEOs knew that if you captured the public’s
imagination with innovative car design and top-quality craftsmanship, the money
would follow. The “car guys” held sway, and GM dominated with bold, creative
leadership and iconic brands like Cadillac, Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, GMC,
But then GM’s leadership
began to put its faith in numbers and spreadsheets. Determined to eliminate the
“waste” and “personality worship” of the bygone creative leaders, management
got too smart for its own good. With the bean counters firmly in charge, carmakers,
and much of American industry, lost their single-minded focus on product
excellence and their competitive advantage. Decline soon followed.
In 2001, General Motors hired
Lutz out of retirement with a mandate to save the company by making great cars
again. As vice chairman, he launched a war against the penny-pinching number
crunchers who ran the company by the bottom line and reinstated a focus on
creativity, design, and cars and trucks that would satisfy GM’s customers.
Lutz’s commonsense lessons,
combined with a generous helping of fascinating anecdotes, will inspire listeners
in any industry. Download and start listening now!