Wednesday, March 19, 2014

GM Key Recall

Time magazine online had an article on March 18, 2014 about GM naming a safety czar .

The problem is not that they need a focal for safety but just like Morton-Thiokol, of the Challenger disaster, their whole system is designed to keep bad news from the senior managers.

If their or your system is not specifically designed to reward the first person to bring a potential problem to management it will get minimized and buried by the lower level managers. The next big problem is that any manager who takes a problem to his boss is judged incompetent because he didn’t handle it at his level. But as in this case most managers don’t have the authority to fix the problem at their level.

The last big stumbling block is the false concept that you should bring your manager the solution not the problem. Most lower-level managers are “lower level managers” because they are still in training for the next level of responsibility. That means they should be bringing their boss problems they can’t solve and the boss should be using that problem as a training exercise to mentor that employee and prepare them  for their next assignment where they will know how to handle those issues.

Remember Colin Powell’s great quote - The day people stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.

This is a fast and short post because this is a fast and short issue! If GM had a decent system of reporting that elevated issues to the proper level this would have been handled in a timely manor. 

From the information in the article timely would have been several years ago.