NOT Vlasic After Bankruptcy GM Struggles

NOT Vlasic After Bankruptcy GM Struggles - Vlasic After...

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Vlasic, After Bankruptcy, G.M Struggles, NYT, Dec. 2009. “After Bankruptcy, G.M. Struggles to Shed a Legendary Bureaucracy.” By Bill Vlasic DETROIT — In the old General Motors , employees were evaluated according to a “performance measurement process” that could fill a three-ring binder. In Terry Woychowski’s case, for example, his job as director of G.M.’s vehicle engineers was spelled out in exhaustive detail, and evaluated every three months. But in his new job as vice president — a promotion he was given 20 days after G.M. emerged from bankruptcy — his performance review will be boiled down to a single page, something he had never seen in his 29 years with the company. Mr. Woychowski said he felt the grip of G.M.’s legendary bureaucracy start to loosen, something he never imagined possible. Now, such reviews are being scaled down and simplified across the company. “We measured ourselves ten ways from Sunday,” he said. “But as soon as everything is important, nothing is important.” For all its financial troubles and shortcomings as an automaker, no aspect of G.M. has confounded its critics as much as its hidebound, command-and-control corporate culture. When G.M. collapsed last year and turned to the government for an emergency bailout, its century-old way of conducting business was laid bare, with all its flaws in plain sight. Decisions were made, if at all, at a glacial pace, bogged down by endless committees, reports and reviews that astonished members of President Obama ’s auto task force. “Everyone knew Detroit’s reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures,” Steven Rattner , head of the task force, wrote recently in Fortune magazine. “Even by that low standard, I was shocked by the stunningly poor management that we found.” G.M. will present its first postbankruptcy scorecard on Monday, when the company reports third- quarter earnings and its cash reserves. The company said on Nov. 3 that its financial health had “improved significantly” in recent months. Even as it labors to change its culture, G.M. must convince consumers that it is building better cars. One sign of its challenge: Fewer than a dozen of the company’s models were recommended in a recent Consumer Reports survey.
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But instead of playing down the survey, as G.M. might have in the past, its chief executive, Fritz Henderson , ordered it sent to every employee in the company. “Have we made some missteps? Yes,” said Susan Docherty, who last month was promoted to
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NOT Vlasic After Bankruptcy GM Struggles - Vlasic After...

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