To the Editor:
The March 8 editorial struck a chord ("GM should start moving metal, not managers").
The beef with GM CEO Ed Whitacre is that he's impatient. Sure, he's impatient. He's got world-class product and is (not so gently) being urged by his shareholders to exploit that leverage now.
On the same page, Keith Crain talks about the "new normal" in terms of changes in the manufacturing and retail businesses as well as a stumbling SAAR ("Lots of optimism but not a lot of results").
How about this as the "new normal"? Everybody has world-class product and world-class competitors.
The challenge is to respond by distinguishing the product, the brand and yourself in not-so-normal terms. Looking at it another way, you can't buy a bad car in today's market, but you can (unfortunately) still buy a bad experience.
Is it possible, then, that the challenge of the "new normal" is less about building world-class product (when everybody else is world-class, too) and more about defining and executing a unique value proposition the same way time after time?
What's your unique value statement, and can you say with confidence that your organization executes faithfully on it time after time? If GM were doing it, maybe Whitacre wouldn't be so impatient.
Couldn't we all afford to focus more on creating our own "new normal," executing reliably and persuasively on a value statement that defines what makes each of our businesses best, for instance?
Bottom line: Don't be so quick to criticize Whitacre for taking charge. It looks like he's simply defining GM's "new normal."