The hiring of Jim Press from Toyota by Chrysler’s private equity owner Cerberus Capital Management throws important new managerial talent into the job of turning around the flagging Detroit auto-maker but it also adds to its cultural problems. We now have several different managers with very distinct corporate cultures working together to resurrect Chrysler and it isn’t clear if it’s going to work.
You have Tom LaSorda, from the old Chrysler culture (as well as advisor Tom Gale who was design guru at Chrysler for years), Press from the Toyota culture and sitting on top of them Bob Nardelli from Home Depot and the old GE-Six Sigma culture.
Press, who was the only American on the Toyota board, is used to the Toyota Way—employee involvement, constant improvement, and customer focus (think hybrid Prius). Nardelli’s record at Home Depot was employee alienation, retail customer rejection and displacing the existing business model with an entirely new one (HD Supply was just sold and Home Depot is returning to its traditional retail customer focus).
Let’s see how all this works out and who survives as top managers. I hope the Cerberus folks know what dish they’re cooking.
Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.