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tv   After Words  CSPAN  December 27, 2013 8:55pm-9:56pm EST

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professor should be teaching in universities. they shouldn't be planting crops. that was pretty much his verdict on the cultural revolution. a lot of the china scholars at the time still bought into maoism and these ideas. this is one of the reasons why it was so hard for them to understand the reforms going on in china. if you go back to the accounts of the time, a lot of the established china scholars didn't quite get the story. they didn't understand what they were seeing. a lot of them were still wedded to these old images now as china and in some cases they were quite bewildered. >> host: it's an argument for on the ground journalism and observation. one of the people you relied on was a smart raiders diplomat who went out there and beat the pavement as if you were a journalist and in fact interviewed people and wrote down what he saw.
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>> roger garside who i am happy to say still alive. an absolutely magnificent book that has stood the test of time. some journalists wrote that looks at the time but i would say his is the one that's hard to be precisely because as you say he went out and he was on the ground and he got the story. he saw things very pragmatically without an ideological lens. he caught a lot of things that other of service miss. >> host: that's interesting so ideology is or can be the enemy of history. >> guest: very much so. i am struck when i look back at this period again by how the very ideological people didn't understand what they were seeing. i had a good conversation with conan on makia whom you might remember as the man who wrote a fantastic book about the evils of the saddam hussein regime in iraq and he was a very convinced leftist. he is a trotskyite. he describes that his wife is
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iranian and they were both trotskyists. he described to me how completely bewildering the iranian revolution was to them. if you believed in theories of class struggle and tater ship of the proletarian that weren't so much vogue at the time he just doesn't understand it. it was completely nonsensical. so they tried to write articles in their trotskyite journals explaining why the masses were temporarily being seduced by ayatollah khamenei. in the end he said they were completely flummoxed. he basically said this was the end of the lot of communist and socialist believers in the middle east because it just ceased to be a viable alternative. people didn't want it. >> host: i think that's an important note for us and on. we are almost out of time but not entirely. i want to bring out this question we were debating before which is what is not in the book one of the most significant
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things were talking about. there's a great other book for someone in the rise of the personal computer which happened in 1979 time period battisti technology is playing a role even backstage in the hands of this new order? >> guest: absolutely. the rise of telecommunications is important. ayatollah khamenei was in exile for much of the iranian revolution be communicated through the state-of-the-art telephone switching system that have been installed by the americans for the shah. you could call anyone in iran at a moments notice and it was hugely important for the iranian revolution. with the help of satellites of course which the cost to come down. i think you can see a lot of different levels in which the technology was influencing all of this. pcs were not yet there but i think they are very much a part of this moment. the technological aspect really deserves to be gone into war
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deeply than i was able to. >> host: tell me if you were to do a follow-up to the book, would you jump right in with 1980 or where's your next moment? decicco 1979 to 1989? is that going to be the next part? >> guest: that's a great question. i think i'm going to go to something totally different. >> host: absolutely. in terms of the response you have gotten so far what have you made up what the critics had to say? >> guest: i'm very happy with it. i feel like a lot of people got the book. when you write a book like this you are sitting alone in your little room and wondering in my just a nutcase or are people going to understand some of the points i'm trying to make here? so far i've been very gratified by the response. i think a lot of people have understood exactly what i is trying to say. of course i am making an argument to a certain degree but if you just want to read the story and examine the lives of
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these incredible characters and the stories they are going through i think that's quite enough. you don't necessarily have to buy my larger argument about ideology and counterrevolution snow that. you can enjoy it as a historical narrative, i hope. i tried to write a book that would have different levels, something for everyone. >> host: congratulations christian on the book and thank you again for this very interesting conversation. good luck with the book tour. >> guest: thanks very much. ..
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in order to talk to the authors seriously. it's tremendously revealing when an author had the book read, these day. they don't get many people who have read their book and know what they're talking about with page notes. it's rewarding to them. i get a deal of satisfaction when an author says to me, the highest climate -- compliment. that's the best interview i've had on the book tour. i love the interview on "things that matter." takes my day. i like ray owe three hours is an abiewbs of time. and i can do so many different thing. the more with radio talk host sunday night at 8:00 p.m. on c-span's q & a.
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up next on booktv "after words." this program is about an hour. >> host: it's great to be with you this afternoon. i hope you doing well. >> guest: thank you, debby. i am. i hope you too. >> host: i am. well, i enjoyed reading the book in the last week. i have clearly have known you a long time. i knew a number of the people you wrote about. i wondered why did you write the book now? >> guest: well, it's clearly something i couldn't have written while i was still actively employed by general motors, because some people, either within general motors or other companies might have taken offense.
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it was a book i wanted to write because i have worked for a number of very interesting personalities, and i felt that at sometimes skewed personalities. people with deal of ability on one side but serious flaws on the other. and i figured that the broad public rarely, if ever, gets an inside look at the overall behavior of some of these famous executives they have read about. >> host: what is your definition of leadership? especially in business. what would you -- what do you look for in a good leader? >> guest: well, indefinitely the most important prerequisite is an absolute sense of integrity. it that isn't there. everything else is built on a house of cards. you also look for a haft degree of self-confidence. there has to be some egg go. you can't have a retiring, shy
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person who likes to defer to other people. that's not possible. it has to be somebody with some command presence. a leader also has to, obviously, have a decent person skills but must have the ability to communicate. because the leader can't say, do this and don't ask why. just do it because i say so. that's not a very effectively form of leadership. a much better form of leadership is to use the power of verbal or written communications to pave the vision that everybody wants to follow. once you've got all the troops mobilized and wanting to go in the same direction as you do, then it becomes pretty easy. >> host: well, i read this book a cup of times preparing to talk about this today with you, and i honestly was trying to figure out who did you think was the most effective leader? can you have a favorite leader? i had a difficult time, because
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you did give the plus and the minuses. ultimately i sort of used the scoring that you did at the end of the book. who was -- who do you think the most effective leader was you worked with in the auto industry? >> guest: well, the most effective leader i worked for in the auto industry, i have to say, for all its worth for all the flaws, profanity, for all the down sides to him was, without question, lee. >> host: why? did you learn things from him? >> guest: well, you know, i learned a lot of good things. i hopefully didn't learn too many bad things, but lee was passionate about the company. passionate about saving this inner passion, this inner drive, of course, another hallmark of good leader. they have to be enthusiastic about the task they are embarked on and have to be able to convey that enthusiasm.
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lee was a brilliant communicator, and he also, on good dais and he was sometimes often -- on good days he could listen to a very, very complex multifaceted business problem and listen to everybody talk. after 30 minute he would say wait, a minute, shutup. i think i have it figured out. he would lay out an impeccable step-by-step plans. there was other days when seemingly obvious problems seemed to escape him, and he was also -- at times, and this is -- at times he was i would say overrerly driven by a sense of, go and people needed to defer to him. he needed red carpets rolled out for him. figuratively speaking, of course.
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and he was often somewhat shy man. specialsly in the company of others that he didn't know. but overall, you know, take the weaknesses and the positives, he was a highly effective, highly visible leader who could really a lit troops not only in-house but get the dealers behind him and you saw the brilliant job he did with the u.s. -- with congress during the dais of the chrysler lone guarantee. that was, believe me that was a stuff sell. >> host: i agree with you. he was respected. i was trying to figure out, also, you least respected. who in your career or life that you wrote about that you least respect and why? >> guest: well, certainly art hawk kins, whom i never worked for direct lip. -- directly. he was the chairman and ceo -- at the time world's largest
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producer of batteries. i succeeded him as ceo of the company. i mean, i just uncovered the biggest possible can of worms. he was in violation of many state and federal laws. found guilty of racketeering, i mean, there was not only a lack of integrity but also a huge ego, self-dealing. this man never should have been in a position of responsibility in any large organization, but again, he possessed some of the traits that good leaders have, which was the enormous degree of self-confidence, the command presence. he looked like a leader, he sounded like a leader, he used the vocabulary of leadership. and people were persuaded by him. they did follow him. they were fooled by him.
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so he was somebody that possessed the skill set, but did not possess the moral or ethical requirements to be a leader. he eventually dragged the company down. why took over, it was almost -- it was impossible for me to do business with certain companies. for instance, i couldn't entertain walmart as a customer, even though they were potentially would buy 7 or 8 million batters a year. they're saying i'm sorry i wouldn't deal with a former -- company with a former ceo was heading for the penitentiary. the company was under indictment in several states. so this was a guy whose personal greed and willingness to cheat and lie to achieve his goals actually destroyed the company and drove it to chapter 11.
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>> host: all right. i think you did right, by the way. let me ask you this question. why don't you talk a little bit about the end of the book you have a scoring metric system for which you call the bean counters that need to have things in metrics. talk about that a little so people understand what the metrics are. i don't think people who know you very well would think of you as a bean counter or metrics soul. ic you have passion. >> guest: i'm not. [laughter] but an of course, debby, when you -- first of all, a set of leadership attributes are my own. i don't claim that they're complete, other people might have others. but i think i have a fairly comprehensive list. secondly, the importance or the weighting of those leadership skills, to be honest some people may not attach a high weight to integrity. others might attach a greater
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weighting to creativity. and i think it depend. and i think i gave the disclaimer and said, look, these weightings are subjective. they the way i see it. other people might have different weight. but i wanted to -- at the end of the book, i wanted people to have an opportunity to kind of see an effort, even if it's subjective quantify indication. i wanted them to see some sort of quantified way of assessing who is best, who is second best, who is third best. i also wanted to encourage people to do a self-assessment or to assess their present leaders. and, you know, probably recall at some point in the book, i said, those individuals who have worked for me in any of the four companies that i worked for, i certainly would welcome them filling out the same form on me and sending it back to me. because you're really basically
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never too old to learn. >> host: well, why don't we use it as a chance to talk -- do some self-assessment and talk about yourself as a leader. what do you think about some of the leaders thought about having a member of the team. some clearly close you and a few may not have. what do you think of yourself as a leader using that self-assessment. >> guest: well, first of all, i don't classify myself as articulate and competent. i classify myself as articulate. i can describe what i want, i can describe the vision, i can get people enthusiastic. i was clearly always very passionate about the business i was in. i think, thanks to my training in the marine corps., and also my early training in general motors and later training in ford -- i. e. large american automobile companies. i think i had a pretty
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impeccable sense of business ethics what you do and don't do. i think on the integrity front, i passed. i certainly -- i think i'm a creative person, so i was easily -- i found it easy to come up with new ideas and new solutions to old problems response i give myself a high score on that. i think i was probably better leader than subordinate, because i found -- i had a lifelong problem of not being able to tolerate fools, gladly. at times when i was working for a leader who was behaving in a particularly strange fashion, i didn't always keep it to myself. and of course, one of the rules you should observe as a subordinate is you maintain loyalty to your leader, and you should not openly criticize that leader in the presence of others. and that's one that i
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occasionally violated. so my mark myself down on that one. >> host: one of the things that struck me in reading your book is an organization can become a bureaucratic institution that can dampen inspiration. i don't think you ever let that happen to yourself. >> guest: yeah. >> host: how do you and leaders ensure that doesn't happen? >> guest: well, it basically -- this is what i say good leaders really good leaders are often impatient. they are often somewhat intemp rate. they are sometimes arbitrary. because the leader who always listens to everyone, always listens to all of view points wants to make sure that everybody is convinced before he or she finally makes a decision. you just lose valuable time. and i think a good leader does have a sense of impatience.
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is impatience in overly long meetings where a lot of people make contributions to demonstrate their knowledge as opposed to actually advancing the cause of the meeting. a lot of leaders, you know, then violate good management behavior in that they say stop talking about that, please. we've heard it before. just keep quiet, please. we need get this over with. well, you know, that's unpleasant to hear. it triggers some fear and anxiety in the meeting, but, you know, good leaders are focused on getting the job done and focused on getting it done fast. and you have a very pleasant environment absent that leadership trait but not as much gets done. and i think you and i, you know, both know examples of leadership style that was overly patient, overly tolerant of other opinions, and finally was too
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slow moving. but good leaders -- good leaders run rough shot over that. >> host: i actually agree with that. we did know people that were too patient. you were allowed to show your impatience more than i was. [laughter] let me ask you a different question. how do you encourage -- how does leaders encourage creative thinking. how do the great ideas come forward and be heard in an organization? >> guest, you know, i don't think anybody is -- anybody has ever completely solved that, but certainly one way you codo it is by espousing new you reward people who think out of the box even though the idea may not pan out the first
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time. and above all, when people try something out of the of the box, and it doesn't work, you don't punish them. i'll just tell you a little 30 second story. two young engineers at chrysler, when i was there, took company car home with them because company engineering car because they thought they could make some modifications to where you could shift the fourth speed automatic transmission with a little switch. which is now known as a tap shift and every car has it. they successfully did that, and they were able to demonstrate that chrysler could now, for a cost of about $10 a car, introduce a manually shiftable automatic transmission. well, when the organization heard about it, it was immediately "how do you do unauthorized work on a company war." who authored do you take the car home with you? who authorized the work?
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do you realize you did unauthorized dabbling to the company car. and the whole weight of the bureaucracy was about to descend on this. they were going to be quashed. and i found out and said wait a minute, the kids exercised their own initiative, did something that every automobile company in the world is trying to do, general motors hasn't done it, ford hasn't done it. they figured out a low-cost way to give the owner the convenience of being able to shift the automatic transmission at his desire. i think these guys are heroes. so we finally wound up giving them the chairman's prize. and i think if do you that sort of thing, once or twice, you reward innovation as 0 supposed to quashing it. the word gets out. then what you find is all the invast people in the authorization --
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>> host: i think the government could use help on. i knew what you were going say when you talked about the organization's reaction. i worked in those organizations. and the autos like so many corporations, that have been successful for decades or hundreds of years have grown to the large bureaucratic organizations that do squash and become more -- you weren't authorized to take a car home than the creativity. what is your solution for government and bureaucracy? how do you get rid of levels of bureaucracy that come to existing organization that have been successful at lasting but aren't successful at innovation, creativity, et. cetera. >> guest: right. i think it's a problem still facing a lot of american businesses. it certainly is facing a lot of american communities. we saw what happened to detroit. where over time we have built an apparatus and administrative
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apparatus that is simply no longer supportable by the revenues. i was just talking to a consult assistant today about a major american corporation that is facing head wind seeing decline in revenue, declierns in margins, and as they are also reluctant to reach in and take the bitter medicine that is going take to right side the company. basically, what it takes is somebody who doesn't try to solve a -- what is so amusing the american government when there's a new problem instead of existing the organization to deal with this new problem, you know. expand this. a new department is formed. and so we have department all over the place. many of them operating across --
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a lot behave the same way. as it happened, the ceo wanted to know how many were occurring throughout company. who was creating go fast. which department fostered the most go fast. how fast were go fast being processed. how many were adopted? what were the savings for the go fast. so a huge parallel bureaucracy was built up around the go fast initiative. which was designed to eliminate bureaucracy nap is the ultimate irony. i see all organization doing that.
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they create a new bureaucracy to solve the problem of the old bureaucracy and the old bureaucracy doesn't want the problems solved. the only way is got to be either external factors like chapter -- 11, which unfortunately would be a great way to fix companies if it weren't for the fact shareholders get wiped out. but, i mean, detroit is undoubtly in a couple of years going to emerge as a new, stronger, well-balanced city with a realistic tax base, a lot of here to fore public services privatized, et, et. cetera. and certainly it's true for general motors and true for chrysler and true for a lot of american companies. government is going require -- i hate to say this, but it's going require a chief executive who has not consensus driven, but who is very much focused on
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streamlining government and reducing the size of big government, reducing budget, and unfortunately, forcing a lot of "nice to have "people out of government service and encouraging them to find jobs somewhere else. again, it gets back to my comment on leadership. a highly effective leader who is facing a difficult or seemingly intractable situation cannot wait around for everybody to agree with what he or she is doing. at some point, you know, that's why he or she is the leader. it's supposed to force change. and it's going take somebody in government really, really force change. and say, i don't care about all of this. we don't need this. we don't need that. we can consolidate this. or hand out tasks to everybody and tell everybody, everybody is
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going get rid of 25 to 30% of the people. you guys figure it out. i'm not going tell you how to do it. it's going take something arbitrary like that. of course, is it an unpleasant task? yes. would the person get heavily criticized? yes. negative press? yes. he or she likely voted out of office the next time around? again, yes. that's why it's so difficult to do. so instead of actually tackling the problem, most leaders in government and industry they just kind of kick the can down the road and say, well, this something we're really going have to address someday. then a lot of these people kind comfortable in doing long-range plans. and the long range plans are usually five years out. and they're usually designed to show we'll address this problem in a few years and sheer how we plan to do it. but meanwhile the revenue will
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pick up and we'll will okay. i've seen in my career, i've seen hundreds of those plans. which make everybody feel good. they all go home at night and are tired. and they have worked on this long range plan and they actually mistake that for doing something about the problem. and once the long rain planning is finished, and it's put to bed, then everybody says, well, we fixed that one. of course, they haven't fixed a darn thing. >> host: well, i agree with everything you said, by the way, comp is probably scaring some people out there. i call it kind the program deinjury. we used to have the program de jour. there was a new phrase that could be used and things come in. i'm not sure that any of them really made a difference. did any of them make a difference -- >> guest: no. >> host: we agree on that too. >> guest: you know, we do. all of these similarly initiatives of this and that and it was really the program de
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jour they were usually sold to the company by consult assistants and i think one of the cancers in the side of american industry and the american society of human resource professionals is going to be sending me a bunch of angry e-mails on this one, but human resources in the united states have almost become a cancer use growth in the side of american industry. in that human resources used to be keep track of people, keep their personnel records, and make sure they get paid and serve the right ones up for raises periodically. well, human resources has expanded in to all kind of programs that betterment and, i mean, just myriad programs. and they grow and grow and they grow. and they are the inthat --
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instigators of many of these enormously time-consuming bureaucracy-creating, new initiatives that everybody has to pretend believe in and then usually books are handed out that everybody has to read and it's just a huge waste of time. and i saw this, i saw a lot of that at chrysler. i saw a lot of it at ford, obviously. and you and i both saw more than we wanted to see at general motors. i think if human resources were either outsourced or cut down back to their basic functions of keeping the personnel records and making sure people get paid and that the promotional increases take away. i think we would all be a lot better off. because they create way more work than they actually alleviate. you and i both remember the --
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what was it? performance management system that general motors -- the pmp. >> host: pmp. >> guest: performance management program. we would spend literally hours -- or days developing next year's goals and quantifying them all. and then checking them against other people's goals. and then having big meetings to make sure that everybody's goals were consistent with everybody else's goals. when it was all done, it put them in the desk drawer and never looked at them again. >> host: your communication to people would be having a heart attack at one of the companies. you speak the truth. that's what we're trying to go in the weak about leadership. it begs the question i was going have to ask it sometime i'm going ask now. you don't have any women leaders in the book. and i'm curious about what you think about women as leaders, and what you think of them as being part of your team, and why does the auto industry still
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have a glass ceiling for women at the top? >> guest: okay. well that's a several questions in one. several female review of the book said this guy is obviously sexist because he doesn't deal with the single female leader. the reason i didn't deal with a single female leader is i never had a female superior. so it was just an opportunity that i missed. it was my career was mostly in the days before women achieved any sort of significant promotions. so, i mean, it's just not my foment. it's other people's fault for not having promoted women early enough so i could report to them. having said that, i think all in all, and what do i think of women as leaders? i think women are highly effective as leaders. not all of them, but good female leaders are highly effective. i would have to look at national
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leaders like margaret thatcher, a brilliant leader, or a -- of israel and so forth. we have numerous examples of highly effective female leaders in politics. and to a certain extent, in industry. looking at general motors, i don't think we can really complain of a glass ceiling at gm anymore, i mean, a number of officers are female now like grace and, of course, mary, who is executive vice president for product development, and certainly in the case of mary often spoken of as a candidate to succeed dan angerson of ceo of general motors. and ford motor company has a number of highly-placed females whose names escape me now. i'll make the prediction, i would say within five to six years at the latest, one of the
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large automobile companies will have a female ceo. >> host: do you think it took someone like a dan angerson coming in from outside the industry to start to appreciate the value of women? do you think this recent trend in the last five/10 years of bringing people in from outside the industry is something the industry needed to get it shake up a little? >> guest: yes, i do. first of all, i think in the case of general motors, i think rick wagger in was very, very open to female leaders and wanted to see them promoted as fast as possible and wanting to put them in positions of greater responsibility and willing to take -- willing to push female leaders pretty fast. maybe even take a little risk and push them faster than what we normally say they are ready for.
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there was no problem there. it was really dan who made, what i consider, the boldest move of putting mary in for product development. .. this. >> to be able to listen to
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the right people. as alan mulally recently said, somebody asked him your not automotive how did you know, what to do? i came to fort i did not have a clue about what to do to fix ford. but with all of the idea is were right there with my people who had been held down, not this and to but i listened to them and their ideas made sense slight global product development which general motors, it took me from the time i got to gm in 2001 through off 2005 to get global product development implemented instead of each continent doing its own cars. alan mulally ask the people what is wrong with the way we do business? they said gm just converted
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to global product development that is obviously what we should do. reordering duplicate cars all over the world. he said why don't we do it? they said bucks there is resistance but he was there three weeks when he went to global product development. i have similar examples from aker said to just use a judgment and common sense. why do they do that better than this season and automotive professional? because they had 30 years of trading of running the business the wrong way. by the numbers, a product plan, laid out with cost
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targets and investment targets in a grid of return and only those with the highest rates of return and basically the encounters excellence and product suffered but actors and comes in and says all i know general motors used to make not very appealing cars and we were losing money. right? now they are highly desirable they cost more but we make money? right. why would we change? let's keep doing great cars the best we know how with content because this is the lesson of of the highly trained and 30 year veteran it doesn't matter restaurant
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for food but if you rent -- if run the plant making as much money as possible, if you spend this much on product and then to sell it for this much in five years the stock to be at $100. i have been to one zillion meetings but we never talk about what you do for the customer to get to that number in the philosophy i have followed the most successful follow the satisfy the customer, get the product right the end of the money will follow because profitability is a reward for doing the job right. not god giving you can put down the spreadsheet been managed the rest of the
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business to get the profit. are they businessmen? sure. do they care about the bottom line? of course. but they want to get to the bottom line by producing excellent product that the customer is willing to pay for. >> host: building on that why did the auto industry go to your collapse? was it just good product could anything have been done differently and did you have any responsibilities? >> i will start with the last one first, sure, i probably wasted somebody here or there with those that turned out not to sell as well but as wayne gretzky says you miss one of the
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percent of the shots that you don't take the of my batting average is probably success to failure it is a bold statement, probably not many people could equal my batting average for success vs failure with the products they help create. i think the problem was, debbie, what we talked about earlier, is the institutionalized, do everything through the bureaucracy, don't take any risks, chances comment don't risk the obvious, a study everything then study it again. a futile like the way it comes out, a steady one more time and have the department's in this of groups and initiatives that absolutely had no customer value but we are a large
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organization we will have a staff like a large organization and to executives often see their role as overseeing this huge apparatus and successfully as opposed to creating real customer value as their primary goal. as i said in my books, i really do play a lot of the blame on the u.s. business schools the way graduates are taught in this country. >> host: i will ask a different question you did not necessarily like everybody that you worked with. as a leader of you have to like the people you work with and if not had you keep it from poisoning the
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organization? >> guest: a good leader may or may not like the people he has got but he or she should try to hide that and try your level best not to play favorites that really destroys morale. every time i opened my mouth fell one time my leader would say there you go again we're not interested in your opinion prokofiev then smiles and praised would be heaped on him and it is sickening and it destroys morale.
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try not to play favorites if you will be nasty then do it with everyone if you are nice and funny i always tried to inject a lot of humor because i felt it loosened eveready up with a better exchange of ideas but it has to be consistent. again the most important thing is don't play favorites and treat everybody the same. a lot of coaches of sports teams are extremely tough but they've managed to convey to the players they are tough for a reason because they want the team to win. a good leader does the same. he is tough but people know not because he is the saddest but he once the company to win. >> host: most leaders have to deal with conflicting
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priorities how you choose the priority that drives the business decision ultimately? >> that is a good question. part of the general motors process where we had to write down our goals there were a lot of conflicting goals on their. of course, leaders of organizations are faced with conflict all the time. meeting we should not do this right now or short-term success like quarterly earnings make the stocks look good make the stock go up all options are more valuable but it will hurt long-term so that conflict is there all the time that one of the famous ones from the automobile business is
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cost of its first is quality. do you spend $15 more per car to put in the added rustproofing or a better quality bearing? in the past with the over emphasis on cost cost cost with the american automobile industry, whether there was a conflict between quality and cost, quality was prioritize that if this last 30,000 and it is out of warranty anyway it will not cost anything but if we put in a better berry we go that cost is $2 off a car. we know these decisions were driven to cost. good leaders can walk -- look beyond that like the
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people running the business now will say quality is free. he may be investing a little better right now but the downstream effect with customer loyalty, resale value absurd recall or warranty will more than pay for the added quality we put into the car. that is an act of faith because you cannot prove that with numbers but good leaders are able to make those trade-offs but to do those trade-offs with long-term results. this is why private companies do better than public because privately-held everybody can make the decision lets not behaved foolishly but public
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companies are under unbelievable pressure for short-term results and that holds them back but a good leader will let the moral compass be his guide what is better? short-term cost reduction or customer satisfaction? a quarterly earnings report and next quarter explain why we are down but we look like heroes? he will say let's not do funny business. let's just run the business soundly and have a good proportion next quarter. good leaders make those judgments intuitively but they tend to be ethically guided as opposed to putting up the short-term
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smokescreen. >> host: that is good advice. what is the one mistake you see the leaders make most to be aware of? >> guest: the largest mistake that i certainly witnessed what is the leaders that i worked for that have too great of faith in numerical analysis. they will take a five-year sales projection to revenue projections and/or of health care cost or five-year projection of price per barrel of oil and accept that as gospel. they got it from one of their great departments that is to create the numbers when i joined general
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motors' 1963 and worked in one of those departments as a senior analyst for cowen i know at the of the earth -- and of the day through the layers of management to the mba who actually does the numbers i've looked at the sheet of paper in and say 10 is too much five is too little i will go with 7.five very then it goes up through the chain by the time it gets to the ceo it is possible in the everybody believes it. if i always made myself popular in the beating where records say there is the analysis what do you think? i would say the only thing i can tell you is every single member on the spreadsheet is wrong the only thing we don't know is how long it is and what direction.
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i think a lot of leaders take to agree to of a sense of comfort from numbers prepared by somebody else us opposed to their own experience and intuition and judgment be a guide. this is one of the things lee iacocca was so good as they started off with the numerical presentation if he would say whether you doing? i'd want to see that. we know what we will do. don't we? everybody says yes. pack it up we will do something else could leaders cut through it but bad leaders of our weaker leaders will tend to place far greater importance on numerical analysis which at the end of the day is
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exactly like quantification where you so night -- nicely pointed out you could argue because the numbers of less it is a store called the any future numbers is always the product of somebodies judgment. that of large corporations is usually follow little -- low-level people of russia of business school that are smart but have no experience the why would you believe those numbers? >> host: i am sitting here and not sure how to frame the question but out of political correctness i thank you would say it is the government hypocrisy and corporation but how would lew did you deal with legitimate issues like when i started to market general
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motors, this is a true story they said why would a woman want to work at general motors? had to broaden the organization to be aware of things while at the same time not have political correctness killed the ability to be competitive a and productive? >> i think we have to separate diversity from political correctness. diversity programs up and tell a few years ago arguably is a white male dominated culture it is good to force open opportunities. and that has nothing to do with political correctness. where that becomes absurd is where i was once hugely
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chastising a meeting because we were talking about a female designer and how skilled she is and it happened she is without question one of the most attractive women i have never seen in my life and i made the offhand comment and she is also extremely beautiful. oh my god. you thought i would have used blasphemy in a church. the full weight of h. r. and senior management came down to say we don't comment on women's appearance any more. excuse me but what is so negative to make a comment as long as you don't say or imply she got to the position because of her beauty were those that to her beauty but fully
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recognize tuesday and by the way she is a very attractive woman. but any comments relating to someone's appearance is now banished from the lexicon in all large organizations and some point, debbie, the political correctness stars to in french on the first amendment because what we see is a network of dues and don'ts you can say this but not that. when you work your way through this political correctness ticket and what ever happened to to the old first amendment rights? you're not even allowed to refer to it of the extremely obese person as fact. somebody who weighs
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380 pounds 5-foot 11 inches, excuse me, she is that we can use euphemisms that she is large or queen size but the total perversion of our language to avoid phrases or references that could conceivably be offensive to someone i think is wrecking a lot of things in this country and if i was the dictator i would step did. >> host: in you know, you will have a lot of reaction to what you just said. i would love to have a locker conversation with you because i do think it is not as simple as you make it but there is some doubt it viewpoints have to have a valid discussion although i will tell you quite frankly i did experience is --
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discrimination almost my entire career but you don't talk about because that would hurt as well so it is not as simple as people would like to make it but that is another conversation >> host. >> guest: i am sure that is true we go barbara is african-american and female she had great discrimination as well but i don't think that has the the thing to do with the political correctness movement that is entirely separate. >> host: we only have a few minutes left and you have so much wisdom and straightforward things to share, what would you do differently if you were starting over again? >> guest: if i was less outspoken and for less
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critical the way the company is ride off but not have alienated as many bosses as i did it might have risen to greater heights but all of the other hand i would have denied my own being, my sense of critical analysis analysis, in my frustration with things not run as well as they could have been. first of all, i would blind up being frustrated as opposed to happily retired prettify had to guide my own personality and probably would not have gotten as far as i did. as a look back on my time at chrysler with iacocca i wish i was not
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