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A collection of "fix GM" columns

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Jerry Flint, It Takes Many Arrows to Kill an Elephant – Forbes.com

My dad sent me this a while back and laziness kept it off the blog. It's even more relevant this week.

Flint's column begins:

Companies don't downsize themselves to success. Downsizing is an admission that things are bad and that they aren't going to be what they used to be. What's happening now with General Motors and Ford Motor may be necessary, but it doesn't guarantee turnarounds.

The WSJ also has a thought-provoking column today ($$ subscription required, sorry) about the idea of employee ownership for GM. The idea is to buy concessions from the UAW by basically giving them GMAC and a large stake in GM. Something has to be done to get the union on the same agenda as GM, rather than having such an acrimonious relationship. This has been tried in the airline industry, with United Airlines, but critics point out that United workers never had a true management share, something they would recommend for the UAW. Let the UAW share the struggle of running the company, not just being a critic, I say.

If you wonder why the UAW is so combative with GM, this WSJ column talks about Walter Reuther and some UAW history. Reuther instilled the idea that you should be loyal to the UAW, not your employer. I remember, when I worked at GM, that there were many Dodge Ram pickups in the parking lot. The UAW encouraged their “brothers and sisters” to “buy UAW” rather than “buying GM”. That always frustrated me, as a salaried worker, who DID care about buying GM.

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is an anthology titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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