What can you learn from the GM Firings? The culture of mediocrity~

Have you been keeping up on the “firings” of certain ‘key” personel by GM over design flaws and the deaths that happened because of this ‘negligence’?

If you read the materials coming out and all of the peripheral documentation it appears that GM and loads of employees knew about the flaws and potential outcomes for as long as eleven years. Yes, I said, eleven years. That makes the fifteen people fired merely pawns in the game of profit vs safety. It makes those fifteen the sacrificial lambs that are supposed to appease the government investigation and the quench the publics desire for results.

But what has really happened at GM? Why, if it takes eleven years to come to light, are we supposed to believe in anything GM again? Is GM really concerned with our safety? Should I risk my family on anything GM?

But let’s get past the issues of safety and products. Let’s get beyond brand loyalty and history.

What I really want to know is, will next years cars be any safer? Will I listen to the rhetoric of Cogressional hearings and ‘finding’ the culprits who are responsible for these aggregious errors that were ignored for almost eleven years? Will I eever really feel like GM has understood not only what happened but why it happened?

If you listen to GM leadership, they have instituted new committes, appointed new heads of new departments meant to address the issues that led to these errors and printed new posters to post all over the place to show the employees that there is a new atmosphere for addressing issues without repercussions.

And now I ask, will this fix their problem? Will this really address the issues that have kept people silent, babbling in frustration but secretive about the failure and potential catastrophic results these issues had on the familes who were killed?

And the answer is probably not. For what is troubling GM troubles a lot of companies both big and small and that is the culture we create in our companies. The culture we have created in our society. The  culture of look the other way, don’t get involved, don’t make waves, because all it will bring you is trouble and grief.

Look at your own organization and ask yourself, can people come to me with major issues about attitudes? Yes, peoples attitudes. For it is within your employees that your company exists. It is within the minds of your employees where your company culture resides. It is within the hearts and spirits of your employees where we find whether we can communicate with safety or fear. Can we bring up new ideas? Can we show criticism of existing things without fear or repercussions? Can your employees openly affect areas that are important?

And the important question is…  how do you know what they are feeling? When was the last time you openly solicited input from all employees and truly addressed these issues with the employees? Discussed them openly and responded to them.

I recently was involved with an organization where the CEO had an open blog where anyone could post a question. Everyone saw the question and everyone saw the response ny the CEO to each and every question. It was a great concept and it worked amazingly well. He sometimes even responded to the stupidly absurd questions that some people asked. And the results were amazing. Because everyone felt safe because it was so public.

Now I ask again, what can you learn from the GM firings?

 

Steve Sapato is a management trainer and coach and travels the country training up and coming managers and staff on how to be more effective in their dealings with people and employees. You can reach Steve at QLman49@gmail.com where the Q stands for Question and the L stands for Listen. Question everyone and everything and listen to the answers. If the answers make a lot of sense with no serious flaws maybe you should consider changing your opinion instead of trying to change theirs.

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