Tom Peters on Getting Bigger & Slower
It’s no surprise that Tom Peters would have this take. He always asks, “what happens when you combine two big slow stupid elephants? it’s usually a bigger, slower, dumber elephant” (I paraphrasing, but that’s his intent).
“E.g., if one were to combine three enormous, oversize, clunky, uninspiring car companies (oh, say, GM, Nissan, Renault) why would one imagine that the result would be a ‘seriously cool, fast-moving enterprise’ capable of beating Toyota or Honda?
Hyper-big = Non-innovative. Period. (Just give Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer truth serum.) The global auto industry has spent gajillions on R&D (eg GM = #1 R&D spender in U.S.A. over the last 25 yearsâ€”no bull) and not given us a fundamental breakthrough in 75 yearsâ€”unless you count automatic windows.”
Unless getting bigger can improve GM’s speed to market, the cost savings and “corporate synergies” of a partnership probably won’t live up to the hype, I would suspect.
Why do companies sometimes spend more time thinking about merging, partnering, acquring, divesting, etc. than working on improving their core processes? Do the GM people not realize that they haven’t caught up to Toyota in time-to-market? GM has gotten faster, but so has Toyota. Does anyone have the data on that handy?