As a former GM employee, I reacted (at a gut level) to a few things in the video. The main thing was her admonition that, basically, quality is everybody’s job and that everybody needs to put the customer first.
If I still worked there, I’d find that offensive. When I was an entry-level Industrial Engineer at GM, my default was to put employee safety and customer quality first. That wasn’t always well received, to say the least. I shared one of those stories in the article and I might share more here.
As Dr. Deming taught, quality begins in the boardroom. If Barra thinks she has to remind the employees to put the customer first, maybe she and the board should look in the mirror and think about their role. It’s hard for individuals to do quality work when the culture (management’s responsibility) gets in the way.
You can read my article here. Feel free to comment here (for a Lean audience) or on LinkedIn (for a more general business audience), depending on what you’d like to say.
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