General Motors : After the Bailout

I just finished watching the General Motors press conference concerning the funds the will be receiving and their plans moving forward and thought it would be a great case to start up some conversation regarding communications and dealing with public perception.

There were a few things that I thought CEO Rick Wagoner did right and somethings he could have improved upon.

What Went Right:

Presenting a sense of humanity and teamwork: He came with two members of his management team and made mentionof their hard work and put human faces to his company . This included making mention to his COO’s business casual wear for casual friday and how his CFO had not been able to change his clothes since yesterday being so busy . To me this showed that they aren’t taking an easy route out and that as a company they will work to meet the requirements of the deal.

Humbly acknowledging sucess: Mr. Wagoner made mention of the design and quality success of the 2008 Malibu, mentioning that this is the direction that GM plans to move towards. It demonstrates that GM has the potential to become a strong company once more.

What went wrong:

Arogance: A key peice of this press conference should have been directly thanking the American people and stating that they will not let them down. Instead of this Mr Wagoner made statements of how GM had made america in its first 100 years and will help to bring the american people out of this recession as they reform themselves and move into the next 100 years. You don’t even know if you’ll last past 2009!! Now is now the time to be making any grandiose statements, it should be acknowledging that you’ve been making mistakes and that they will be fixed ASAP!

Lack of details: Often there were statements made towards the plan presented to the US government but no clear direction or details had been mentioned on how exactly they plan to change themselves. I think they should have at least stated some details of a clear plan like for example how they plan to focus on strengthening core brands,begin retooling factories to be more efficient or completely re-inventing themself to be a leader in green technologies. Other than some very broad and ambigious statements from the COO I heard none of that…. in the months to come its going to be very important to communicate how GM is going to make itself profitable.

Moving forward: In the months to come its going to be ever important that GM has strong communications between government and all of its stakeholders. Its going to be very important as well to demonstrate that they aren’t wasting the public funds given to them, especially in these hard times. With the many billions invested in the banking industry I feel that a feeling of anger and disdain is the general sentiment of the public towards banking firms who are doing little to show how they deserve the public trust ( the term “banksters” says alot about this sentiment). Being close to bankruptcy GM cannot afford to go this route, they need to change their past perception that America ( and the world ) needs GM and instead that its exactly the opposite.

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