A Thought About GM's Q1 Results

While it is encouraging to see that GM's first quarter 2010 results are positive—revenue of $31.5-billion and operating income of $1.2-billion, of which GM North America had earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $1.2-billion, up from a loss of $3.4-billion in Q4 2009, so that's a good, healthy swing—one thing that needs to occur within the GM RenCen HQ is that the men and women who are running the organization keep ever in mind what brought them to bankruptcy court.

While it is encouraging to see that GM's first quarter 2010 results are positive—revenue of $31.5-billion and operating income of $1.2-billion, of which GM North America had earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of $1.2-billion, up from a loss of $3.4-billion in Q4 2009, so that's a good, healthy swing—one thing that needs to occur within the GM RenCen HQ is that the men and women who are running the organization keep ever in mind what brought them to bankruptcy court. Arguably, it has a whole lot to do with arrogance.

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Or, in the word that was once used in an earlier time, when the Seven Deadly Sins were being codified: vainglory.

For too long, too many people at the top figured that they knew better than everyone else. They knew better than the customers—many of whom decided that they no longer wanted to be customers for product that they learned was subpar compared with what was out their from other companies. They knew better than the suppliers—those organizations that supply the parts and components that constitute the better part of any car and truck, organizations that were often treated as though GM's willingness to consider buying from them was reward in and of itself.

So there are three things—counted among the Seven Virtues—that GM management needs to keep foremost in mind going forward:

  • Diligence

  • Patience

  • Humility

And it really needs to be all three.