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Leadership Reality

Back in the golden days of the auto business when personalities and egos were expected, and often delivered. Do we really need to mention names?

These guys back then, right or wrong had an innate understanding and knowledge base of the auto industry and business. Compared to today there was a minuscule media bubble around the auto industry. At the time the social autosphere did not exist.

Fast forward to today, the individuals in the auto business have subdued public personas, while the social autosphere is constantly expanding and evolving.

Here is the deal:

There remains a lack of leadership, accountability, populated by sidestepping, supported by reasoning that often defies gravity. This often captures the attention of the autosphere for a few fleeting moments, before its lost or superseded by another story which is more timely and might capture a few additional eyeballs.

In the autosphere its the superficial opinion often supported by a catchy headline (you need the headline for the eyeballs). When the opinion is discussed or questioned, the ensuing discussion is often deflected, since there is little "real" knowledge to corroborate and support the opinion.

In the business arena its the project that goes forward at a glacial pace, speeds up to a snails pace, while never getting into real time. It begs the question "Who owns this sh&t?"...which often is deflected with a seemingly rational explanation of various stakeholders, acronyms, and teams. While never answering "who owns the sh&t" or who is going to make it work.

Leadership, teams, teamwork, contributions, knowledge workers, the "thing" gets bogged down, and its easy to double back and distribute the ownership of the sh&t. To the point of "this broke while the team member was in the bathroom"

Think about this...who in his right mind is going to step up (lead) and own the sh&t while potentially jeopardising their mortgage payments?

Yes...we agree the Peter Principle remains enduring.




How Many Models Is Enough?

If you have been in the auto business long enough you hopefully remember from a few decades ago the movement to rationalise the number of models that were offered by a make. At the time the rationale was the Europeans and Japanese have less models.

Back in the day, Chevrolet as an example had a myriad of models and body styles, the same for Ford, and Chrysler. The thinking was to cut back on the number of models, to stop trying to fill every minute segment of the market, while selling more vehicles, and improving profitability.

The  Japanese had dramatically less models, and were inexorably gaining ground.

Once the models were rationalised, the focus shifted to decreasing the number of platforms. When you hear that a manufacturer has gone from 15 to 5 platforms. You can conclude that they are saving money while increasing profitability.

You also remember when models had an actual name, and not an alpha numeric (alphabet soup) nomenclature. Today the names are still around, Impala, Taurus, Camry, Accord, Elantra, to name a few. While the alphanumeric also thrives and seems to gain in disciples. A few examples, 3 Series, X5, CLA250, RX300, CTS, A3 to name a few.

From a manufacturer identification most vehicles have a body/platform identification; its a B Body, a W222, and a model designator its a 7BL57, 1BP67.

If you get the feeling that the model designators are creeping as "marketing" model names that are used to identify the vehicles in the market, we agree with you.

If you get the feeling that some manufacturers are establishing a parallel model line up with even more alpha numeric identifiers, we again agree with you.

Not only do the additional alpha numeric names confuse, you have to ask if they do not also dilute.

This business that constantly pushes the envelope, 1 is good, 2 is better, and 3 might be too much; with a fine line between 2 and 3.

If you think that some manufacturers are close to, or even past the 3, be patient it will be clearer in the following months. Its the classic case of sell 10 with 3 models, sell 12 with 6 models, sell 13.5 with 8 models. The sales are increasing along the the complexity, confusion, dilution, and perhaps even values.



Make A Dent

Spread a bit of love, understanding, compassion, humility...

Tell your friends to do the same...

We might just make the world a better place...

We urge you to give it a try, we will in 2015...




This morning we have The Colonel enjoying a cappuccino with us, while we pick his thoughts on "perspectives". Lets get going...

Q: Colonel Good Morning as usual you look refreshed and still with a tan from your gone fishing days.

A: Thanks guys, the tan is quickly going away with the cold climate.

Q: What can you tell us about perspectives at Strada?

A: It starts with "We don't follow, we lead"..."passion"..."always seeking an advantage" to name the most obvious.

Q: We get the feeling that you are a competitive individual.

A: To thrive in the auto business you have to be competitive, you have to "win", you need an advantage.

Q: Do we conclude that through the years you have developed and calibrated a different perspective.

A: Precisely, often we all see the same thing, its what you do with the same thing.

Q: Could that make you an outlier, somewhat off the vector that most folks adopt.

A: Absolutely, it often becomes a question of "Who is this guy?"..."What does he do? How does he see things?"

Q: At times it might be simpler/safer to follow the common path, and reap results faster as an example.

A: I don't know about reaping results faster, and I'm not well versed in following, never was.

Q: With social media, perspectives can take many nuances.

A: Yes they can and will, but if you do the right thing, tell the truth, are polite, humble, generous, share knowledge. The perspectives remain constant.

Q: You are saying that "intellectual integrity" upholds a constant perspective. Even when its easier to do something else.

A: Precisely, and intellectual integrity is a precious/priceless commodity.

Q: How do you uphold your perspectives in an age of technology, social media, being on 24/7?

A: As we always say, you have to be your own editor, you have to be observant, you have to connect dots instantly. More important you have to be brutally honest with yourself.

Q: Experience, knowledge base, wisdom surely helps, being around this business for a few decades is a huge asset.

A: Yes it is, lingering on the past is futile. Focusing on the future, seeking an advantage is essential.

Q: Its easy with social media to quickly "fall in line" with a pedestrian thought process.

A: Its the tragedy of our times, lets fall in line, lets pump our ego, lets connect, and so on. Its dramatically more demanding to have a different, thought provoking perspective.

Q: Some folks might be "turned off" or might not understand a different perspective.

A: Agreed...the reason we say "Brain Power to Energise Your Automotive Experience" folks that are not seeking the brain power are not interested.

Q: In one respect its a narrow focus.

A: Its a wide focus, wide spectrum, but you need an ongoing intellectual curiosity that is not widely appealing. 

Q: Perhaps being in the business for a few decades compromises change.

A: Not at all, with intellectual curiosity, change is easy even if uncomfortable.

Enough for this morning...




Lead With Humility

A fascinating and thoughtful read, its time well spent.

Business is a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that those engaged in it see themselves challenged “by a greater meaning in life". — Pope Francis