In 2001, General Motors hired Bob Lutz out of retirement with a mandate to save the company by making great cars again. He launched a war against penny pinching, office politics, turf wars, and risk avoidance. After declaring bankruptcy during the recession of 2008, GM is back on track thanks to its embrace of Lutz's philosophy.
When Lutz got into the auto business in the early sixties, CEOs knew that if you captured the public's imagination with great cars, 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, and Chevrolet.
But then GM's leadership began to put their faith in analysis, 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. Decline followed.
Lutz's commonsense lessons (with a generous helping of fascinating anecdotes) will inspire readers at any company facing the bean counter analysis-paralysis menace.
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by Mark Twain
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by Lawrence Kudlow, Brian Domitrovic
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by Lawrence Block
"Norman Dietz's wise-guy delivery works well with this memoir/exposŽ by one of the most productive and confident innovators the auto industry has ever known. Bob Lutz, whose 49 years in the industry were marked by remarkable product initiatives, tells how he repeatedly battled the myopic profit obsession that destroyed U.S. car quality and squandered customer loyalty in the last century. He says the principal forces in the decline of U.S. carmakers included negative media bias, intransigent unions, and headstrong corporate leadership that underemphasized quality and marginalized creative people. Dietz has a knack for making technical anecdotes sound accessible. He also moderates the author's bravado well enough to keep it from overpowering the narrative, which is full of important lessons for American business leaders. T.W. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine"
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