In the last 24 hours, we’ve learned that Fritz Henderson is out as CEO of General Motors after a tenure of only 8 months. He’s an insider who has been with GM his entire career. His family preceded him at GM. Hardly a guy you’d consider an agent of change.
Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that Fritz saw nothing wrong with the GM culture. Really? As Alan Weiss often says, Fritz sounds like someone “breathing his own exhaust.”
Now GM is looking for a new CEO, a search many are claiming could take up to a year. And, while GM waits for a new CEO, the status quo will pretty much prevail. There will be more cost-cutting, trimming and no new strategic direction. If they are unable to make a deal to sell the Saab brand, it is likely they will dump that business, perhaps as early as the end of the year.
One idea GM probably is not considering is adopting the mass customization business paradigm. Mass customization could be a game-changing strategy that could transform the automotive industry if it is properly implemented.
Think about it: build cars to order rather than to stock, personalize vehicles to meet customer preferences, do something that no one else is doing.
Is this a compelling idea? Absolutely.
The first, bold automotive industry CEO to adopt mass customization (not customization) is going to win big for the company, customers, and (if those constituencies are winning) for the shareholders.
GM: Think product and process innovation. Get your mojo back. Call me.
Dave Gardner, Mass Customization Expert