Listening example from GM’s FastLane

GM is in the midst of a major turnaround that is required to save the company’s very existence. They are definitely making progress, and most certainly still have a long way to go. It seems that their FastLane blog is a part of the turnaround process, and it appears to be paying dividends. Rick Wagoner, GM’s CEO, recently posted to FastLane on GM’s progress. What a remarkable development …. any individual with an Internet connection can now get an audience with GM’s CEO and it’s Vice Chairman. Reading through the comments on Rick’s post, you’ll see individual customers, dealers, and suppliers all commenting. These are all insights that Rick in his position as CEO would have a tough time gathering one meeting at a time.

There is a saying that “necessity is the mother of all invention,” and it seems that GM has a high degree of urgency and necessity these days. I do not know if this is why the Vice Chairman started the FastLane blog or not, but if all was well at GM I’m not so sure they would have done it.

What seems obvious now is that it is an important piece of the overall strategy, and I expect is providing valuable insight. I think Rick’s post is yet another step in the direction of customer engagement that will aid GM’s turnaround. I look forward to seeing how FastLane contributes to the GM turnaround.

I can provide one anecdote in support of GM’s turnaround. For the first time in my life, I am considering buying a GM car (or for that matter a car from any American-headquartered automaker). Between my wife and I we have purchased eight automobiles over the past 16 years. It may be because we have two kids and hope for more …. the vehicles currently under consideration are the Suburban, GMC Yukon Denali XL, or the Cadillac Escalade ESV. This extra-sized SUV is a segment that GM seems to own by itself, but there are options in the large SUV class that we considered and ruled out. Plus, I will say that if the GM vehicle ride, comfort and styling was not there, we would not consider buying the vehicle. In fact, the 2007 model is the only one we are considering in this case, and our interest was solely due to the improvements that GM made, and not our family situation.

Good luck GM. I look forward to following the progress on FastLane.

— brian