Letter to the Editor


 

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Letter to the Editor

Monday, June 01, 2009
 
Dear Brad,

I enjoyed your editorial on General Motors (May 2009) discussing its storied history, and I understand your thinking that “it is easier to gain on, and eventually pass the leader then it is to continue to extend or even maintain the lead.” But, I don’t think it has to be so. In my opinion, the reason most leaders fail to stay in front is simply that the will to “prevail” has diminished. This can be attributed to a change of culture or philosophy, or some other influence that puts the organization “second in thought” to some other concern.

For many years I believed that having someone in any position that isn’t “passionate” about their work is the biggest mistake we can make in having them join our organizations. A case in point: the styling studios of GM (as you noted) were very well known and regarded for their excellent designs, but a lot of that was due to Harley Earl. His “passion” for elegantly styled cars set a standard that set GM apart from all of its competition. GM allowed this area to deteriorate over the ensuing years after Mr. Earl’s departure and recognized only lately what a mistake it was assuming the consumers would buy anything they put forth. GM regained some of its former glamour when Bob Lutz was hired back to take control of “styling” and building “gotta have” cars. The Cadillac CTS, Pontiac Solstice and Chevy Camaro are just a few of the concepts he pushed for in his position and that is what “passion” will do.

Many years back when I was engaged in sprint-car racing there was an owner who had a message emblazoned on his wing that read, “Swallow the leader!” That message will ring true forever; everyone wants to “swallow the leader” but the leader who maintains the integrity and passion for what they do will continually thwart those efforts!

Bernie Rosselli

Stewart EFI

 


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