How to deal with internal differences

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How to deal with internal differences

Alfred Sloane led the team of general motors for more than 42 years. He created the kingdom of General Motors and pioneered modern management practice

before the Sloan Management Era, there was a basic problem in the organizational structure of General Motors: the lack of a formal and effective feedback model, and the company's management could not listen to different opinions from employees. The top management of the company does not pay attention to the existing differences of opinion, nor do they believe that such differences are conducive to solving problems, so they do not advocate openness in their work. The result of this practice is that the company has become the boss's "one voice"

dissatisfied with authoritarian style

in the history of the U.S. automotive industry, Durant, the 6th president of general motors, is a pioneer in the same position as Henry Ford, but his management style is authoritarian and autocratic - when he makes decisions, he neither discusses with his subordinates, nor reads research reports, nor studies sales; Even, he never made a collective decision with the Committee

during Durant's tenure, the heads of General Motors once decided to look for land in Detroit to build an office building. The meeting was held at the headquarters of General Motors in New York. The mainstream opinion at the meeting was to select a site in downtown Detroit. As a subordinate of Durant at that time, Sloan accidentally intervened in the meeting, and then put forward a different opinion to Durant: the land in the suburbs will be cheaper, and China is still in the deep development stage of industrialization, informatization, urbanization, marketization and internationalization. The location is also more convenient for many employees living in the suburbs. Durant's answer was, "next time we go to Detroit, we will go to the place you recommend." Then Durant persuaded Sloane to buy the land without even asking the price

the historical significance of this relocation is very obvious, because this is likely to eventually be the headquarters of general motors. When Durant makes a decision, he is as casual as ordering a box of paper clips - making a decision without analyzing the variables of the real estate market, taxes and location. This practice seems unreasonable today. Durant's authoritarian, casual management style and personal manipulation of decision-making made Sloan, who had been reticent, very dissatisfied and had been marginalized

so when Durant left office, Sloan's first goal was to systematize and promote the practice of "encouraging employees to raise objections in time". His goal is to make the general atmosphere more democratic in order to listen to opinions; Instead of cultivating a group of people who are submissive to themselves

accommodate dissenters

after Durant left office, DuPont, the then chairman of the General Motors board, succeeded the president of the company and became the immediate boss of Sloane, the then executive vice president of the company. He once read Sloane's "organizational research". Sloane was deeply impressed by his methodical and concise style. Sloan encouraged the free exchange of views and introduced this into the reform plan of corporate restructuring, which was strongly supported by DuPont

at that time, Charles Kettering began to experiment with air-cooled engines, which he hoped would replace water-cooled engines and make them the standard of the automotive industry. In the years of the formation and development of the automobile industry, a group of mechanical masters and scientific giants appeared at the forefront of the industry, of which Kettering was an outstanding representative

the water-cooled engine needs a fine water pipe system and water tank; In theory, air-cooled engines seem to be more efficient and less costly. But a few months before the air-cooled engine was put on trial on the company's production line, Sloan was skeptical. For him who is pragmatic, this is a new system for gambling. He believes that for such a thorough and radical reform, the company should try it first, and then gradually introduce it to the automobile production line, and should start with the lowest price Chevrolet. But his executive committee and DuPont, who has always supported Sloan, are more inclined to make drastic reforms and order the production of all water-cooled engines to be stopped

the decision to assemble the air-cooled engine in the new Chevrolet turned out to be a disaster. Three years later, Chevrolet recalled all cars equipped with air-cooled engines. Because Sloane insisted on his opposition, the executive committee finally abandoned the invention and stopped producing the new engine. Caitlin was furious that plans for an air-cooled engine had been shelved. Angry that the results of his work had gone up in smoke, he submitted his resignation to the company and requested that the air-cooled engine technology be brought to other automobile manufacturers

at this time, Sloane has succeeded as the 8th president of general motors. What happened next showed his outstanding ability again - he adopted a wise method to appease those organization members who disagreed with the company's decision but were frustrated by the facts as much as possible. He is very clear about the next task: "my task is to coordinate the contrast between Mr. Kettering's enthusiasm for new ideas and reality."

"reality" refers to a sales boom period experienced by the automobile market at that time. GM must focus on meeting the growing market demand for water-cooled engines. This kind of engine has been recognized by the whole industry. Two years later, Sloane completely solved this "problem". He invited Caitlin to relocate the Dayton electronic engineering laboratory to Detroit, where Caitlin will become the principal director of the General Motors Research Institute. The newly established research institute is 46mm long, larger than his previous laboratory. There, Caitlin can carry out any experiments on cars at will, without being bound by any branch or financial institution within the company. Sloan also raised Caitlin's annual salary to $120000, which is $20000 higher than Sloan's salary

no inventor can refuse such a generous discretionary condition, and Caitlin is no exception. He moved to Detroit with his team. This relocation makes Caitlin closer to the General Motors empire. 2. The basic nature of fillers. Sloane always does what he says, giving Kettering the freedom to conduct research. The result of this decision is the two most successful and profitable inventions in the first half of the 20th century - ethyl gasoline and Freon liquefied gas for refrigerators. Both of these two inventions were born in the Catlin Institute and improved there. Both of them have brought millions of dollars of profits to general motors

Sloane insisted on the policy of encouraging employees to raise objections, which enabled him to hear opinions from all sides in the engine dispute. Based on the facts, after Sloane won the first battle of argument, he also tolerated the opposing side and allowed them to publicize their own positions in the meeting and report. Finally, Sloan found a wise way to comfort the frustrated Caitlin and his research team - he made up the gap between the company and the research team and won the final victory

from disagreement to agreement

Sloane, the eighth president of general motors, always encourages employees to disagree. This generosity encourages middle-level managers to express their objections to decisions. Even in the face of the company's top management, managers do not have to worry that this behavior will endanger their career

Sloane understands that the best way to reach an agreement among many subsidiaries of General Motors is to hold a company meeting and let all people with different opinions attend. He stressed that many differences should be concentrated so that everyone can understand different ideas and the basic ideas of different views. Therefore, he instructed the heads of the branches to hold regular meetings, and required the heads of engineering design, manufacturing and marketing departments to attend. For example, if an engineer wants to add a part to a car, he must first go to the production department to inquire about the feasibility of this practice; Also go to the marketing department to understand what impact the increased cost may have on the price. From the past engine battle, Sloane drew a painful lesson: if there is no communication and coordination between departments, the company will have trouble

Sloan will never want GM to get involved in any conflict, which will undermine the smooth operation of the company. During his tenure as president of general motors, he created various special committees and held round tables regularly and irregularly to meet various needs. Sloane stressed that these committees must have the power to make decisions. Before implementing these decisions, the committee should listen to the different opinions of each member

three principles for hearing objections

when hearing objections, the company should follow the following three principles: 1. Encourage members to exchange views with each other; 2. Let members know how to reflect these opinions; 3. Never punish people who behave too aggressively because they raise objections. These three basic principles contain a set of practical systems to ensure that the top management of the company can hear all kinds of different opinions

encourage different views

Sloane not only allows employees to raise objections, but also encourages objections from all aspects, believing that this is a necessary part of the management process. Sloane organized the personnel into different special committees, and his duty was to encourage these committees to unify different opinions and reach a generally acceptable consensus. Sloane's goal is that every committee can make a carefully planned plan. For him, this method of encouraging team members to raise objections is exactly a channel to help team members reach an agreement and understand each other. He knew very well that only when there were different opinions could an agreement be reached in the end

express dissent

in the process of discussion, the use of memos is a common method of expressing dissent. At general motors, executives have learned to express objections in the form of memos. Sloan's memo is powerful and concise, which is not only a good example of the facts, but also very persuasive. In fact, such memoranda have played a role in prompting members to raise objections whether before or after the meeting. At the meeting, such a memorandum can list the topics to be discussed; After the meeting, the memo can also be used to comment on the contents of the meeting. Importantly, if employees' opinions are adopted, the company will give certain rewards. Employees can speak freely, which indicates that the company encourages openness

admit objections

as Sloane repeatedly demonstrated, it is very important for the company's management to listen to different opinions. No matter how grumpy, tough and uncompromising the opponent is, he should be allowed to make comments. Once, a colleague had a conflict with Sloan, and many people thought that Sloan could completely ignore it. At that time, a lawyer of General Motors asked, "since this employee is so annoying, why don't you fire him because the material also includes polymers and other materials naturally existing in bones?" Sloane asked, "what a ridiculous idea to fire him? He's just completing his task." (end)

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