As General Motors works through complicated and weighty labor issues, CEO Mary Barra has asked her employees to "assume goodness."
It certainly seems fair to not assume ill intent. But in the interest of Occam's razor, I'm more likely to assume a logical pursuit of survival. Is that the same goodness? For shareholders, perhaps, it's a decent start.
GM's decision to offer buyouts to most of its salaried employees in the U.S. sent shock waves through the industry, and especially the company. Some argued that its shifting position — from the assurance that no layoffs would be needed to the buyout offers that were underlined with a warning that involuntary cuts may need to follow — was a kind of betrayal.
Worse, even: It might signal a sudden and dramatic worsening of GM's fortunes.
I don't want to doubt the sincerity of Barra and her senior leadership team, but it sure feels like a move that is intended primarily for sending a signal or two to the agitated members of the UAW and Unifor who may be looking for big raises and expanded benefits in addition to massive investments toward the electric vehicle transition.