9 Lessons in Leadership from a former “not-a-car-guy”.
from USA Today 8/05/13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
CEO’s Background. Daniel Akerson, EE & Finance by training, Naval officer by decree, Executive by design – and – since 2010, General Motors CEO almost by default. Akerson, 64, spent years atop Tele-communications & Technical companies, as well as running a big Private Investment fund, and he believes those are the places he absorbed the Leadership lessons he’s taken to GM.
A good Captain of the ship. Akerson took the top job at GM three years ago, and on his watch, the once-wrecked automaker has bloomed. Outsiders aren’t sure how much of that is Akerson’s direct doing and how much is a combination of a recovering economy, an array of good products, designed before he got there & launched while he’s been chief. He was greeted in Detroit by the gossip. “He’s not a car guy,” was the derisive verdict. In fact, “Who is this guy,” was the louder chant. Fortunate, then, that leadership skills are portable.
Good Leadership Skills can carry you from one Management to corporate Executive jobs. Leadership lesson are fully transferable. Akerson is an outstanding example of someone who took his knowledge & leadership skills with him wherever he went. It seems so. With the unknown “not-a-car- guy” driving, GM has begun to field impressive products and has a remarkable group of top executives.
Bloom & Boom replaces Gloom. GM is now reporting record profits. “So, here we are four years out of Bankruptcy and we’ve made $25 billion. I think that’s more than the company’s ever made in a four-year period,” Akerson said. “He’s had plenty of time to exercise his management and leadership skills — and earn an Honor Roll of a report card: said USA Today reporter. “I think he gets a near straight-A assessment. There have been a few missteps, like the (mediocre sales of Chevrolet’s) Malibu & the initial sales numbers from the Volt, but even these issues have been quickly addressed, something the old GM never bothered with,” says Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, auto researcher. Under Akerson, the Malibu’s getting a new interior, quickly, because that’s seen as its weak point, and the extended-range Volt electric car has gotten price cuts to spur sales.
Change in Attitude has lead to a change in Altitude. Those examples of “promptly addressing problems” amount to a “change in attitude” at GM. Akerson is “a strong believer in management by walking around”. [aka the HP way] Everywhere he’s been you see pictures of him with employees. He’s a reminder that management is a contact sport,” Author says.
[ Not all of GM’s CEO success is his doing, 9 Lessons in Leadership: 1) Make goals clear, 2) Focused Leadership, 3) “Good enough” just isn’t, 4) Question the Status Quo and 5 more in Premium Content ]