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Scooped by Deb Nystrom, REVELN
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Corporate Culture Change: G.M.’s Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 100 - Auto Recalls Hits Record in 2014

Corporate Culture Change: G.M.’s Ignition Switch Death Toll Hits 100 - Auto Recalls Hits Record in 2014 | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"The ignition-switch crisis is cementing G.M.'s status as one of the deadliest automotive safety issues in American history."


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GM's...internal investigation showed that dozens of engineers, lawyers and investigators had known about ignition problems for years but failed to fix them.

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The GM ignition switch has gained notoriety because the defect was essentially hidden for a decade until G.M. began recalling 2.6 million affected cars last year.

       

...G.M. set up the compensation fund last year after its internal investigation showed that dozens of engineers, lawyers and investigators inside the company had known about ignition problems for years but failed to fix them.

         

Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chief executive, dismissed 15 employees as a result of the internal inquiry, overhauled the automaker’s vast engineering operations and changed its safety protocols.

   

From another New York Times article, "Over 62 million vehicles have been recalled in the United States [in 2014], the highest total ever."


Photo:  Kenneth Feinberg, an independent compensation expert hired by G.M., has made settlement offers to the families of people who died. Credit - Drew Angerer for The New York Times

   

Related posts by Deb on Learning and Failure:
     

    
    
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

A sad, instructive cautionary tale from G.M. updated with the newest information as of May 2015.  From another article from the New York Times in ongoing coverage,  “G.M.'s decision-making, structure, process and corporate culture stood in the way of safety.”  ~ D

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An Uncommonly Cohesive Conglomerate: The Story of UTC’s Success

An Uncommonly Cohesive Conglomerate:  The Story of UTC’s Success | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

How United Technologies Corporation—owner of Pratt & Whitney, Otis Elevator, and a wide range of other businesses—became one of the major corporate success stories of the past two decades.


The year was 1986. Matsushita’s recently completed Osaka headquarters had …the latest Otis elevators, which were repeatedly failing. …Matsushita and Otis had formed a joint venture …the Otis failure rates were damaging Matsushita’s reputation.


    

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..this shift ...would eventually turn UTC into the highest-performing Fortune 50 company (2000 - 2011) 

    
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In [a] conference room, Matsushita’s managers insisted on talking about root causes—a central concept in quality management, less familiar in the West. …the field engineers placed a hurried call to headquarters that reached George David…the Otis president [who] listened intently. During the next few months, he did something uncharacteristic for Otis—and s…for the rest of UTC and most manufacturing companies. David asked Ito and others at Matsushita for help.



Over the next two decades, David and Ito would become so close that he would eventually say Ito was like “a second father” to him.



The story of that phone call and its aftermath is retold regularly throughout UTC, as one of several incidents that marked the beginning of a fundamental shift in attitude and practice. ...this shift would affect virtually all of United Technologies Corporation’s managers, employees, corporate partners, suppliers, and customers.  It would eventually turn UTC into the highest-performing Fortune 50 company (in the years from 2000 to 2011) and one of the very few conglomerates to sustain a successful diversified enterprise (see Exhibit 1).

 

Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Getting to the root cause of quality problems, a classic Total Quality Management artifact of the 90s, is important to UTC's leadership success today.  What is your take-away from this case study?   ~  Deb

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Change leadership investment pays off in big income boost, case study

Change leadership investment pays off in big income boost, case study | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it

"Change success:  Putting leadership development at the heart of a major operations-improvement effort paid off in BIG boost in income for a global industrial company."


Once again, a smart leadership investment pays off during a major change implementation boosting income by about $1.5 billion a year.


Excerpts from the case example:


Too often senior executives overlook the “softer” skills their leaders will need to disseminate changes throughout the organization and make them stick. These skills include:

  • keeping managers and workers inspired when they feel overwhelmed, 
  • promoting collaboration across organizational boundaries, 
  • helping managers embrace change programs through dialogue, not dictation
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The senior team had to look beyond technical improvements and focus on helping the company’s leaders...
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In this case example, drives for improvement carried a stigma of incompetence, current performance was considered “good enough”, and conflict tended to be passive-aggressive.  There was also a pervasive fear of making mistakes—reinforced by the company’s strong culture of safety and of risk aversion.

The senior team had to look beyond technical improvements and focus on helping the company’s leaders to master the personal behavioral changes needed to support the operational ones.


The company mounted an intense, immersive, and individualized leadership program.  The results are still unfolding, but after three years the company estimates that the improvement program has already boosted annual pretax operating income by about $1.5 billion a year. Furthermore, executives see the new leadership behavior as crucial to that ongoing success.


Read the full story here.

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Avoiding Decision Failures: The NASA Challenger Explosion and Groupthink

When alternatives are overlooked because cohesion is favored over individuality, the results can be tragic and lasting.

The top decision-making team responsible for the Challenger launch was very familiar with each other. They had worked with each for many years prior to the mission.


Group cohesiveness in decision-making can be deceiving. Decisions are often made quickly and with high levels of consensus, but this doesn’t always correlate to the BEST choices. When alternatives are overlooked, because cohesion is favored over individuality, poor decisions can arise.


How can you avoid this?
Remember a quick decision doesn’t always mean a great decision. Carefully examine alternatives by bringing together diverse groups of people with varied backgrounds. It is important that the solution is the priority rather than pleasing, or being an appeasing group member. 

Precursors of Groupthink
1. Cohesive Group
2. Insulation from Experts
3. Leader Preferences


This post also highlights 8 symptoms of groupthink including:

  • Inherent Morality
  • Stereotyped Views of Others
  • Self Censorship
  • Mindguarding 
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

Following my last post, this is a  large part of a the risky, and at times the lonely business of challenging "strong leader preferences" that led to a tragic, well known outcome in the USA. ~ D

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Angie Tarasoff's curator insight, March 27, 2014 12:52 PM

This is a tremendous article that discusses decision traps when making decisions in groups.


The precursors and symptoms of groupthink  are polarities - how might you manage the situation when you notice these behaviours occuring?

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Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China

Signs of Changes Taking Hold in Electronics Factories in China | Change Leadership Watch | Scoop.it
After the hardships of workers in China’s electronics factories were exposed to a global audience, working conditions have changed.
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's insight:

After FoxConn & Apple made front page news and were parodied for their treatment of workers, there is now a shift globally in investment for staff.  The bottom line and social resposibility have gone global. ~ D

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