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The 1000hp individual - a 1000nM team

Jobs for GM is what Thomas Friedman is calling for in his NYTimes column. And unlike many others I totally agree. Matt Hardigree at Jalopnik thinks Friedman is on crack for the suggestion, because Steve Jobs knows nothing about the car industry.

So…. obviously many of the current CEOs don’t know much about their own industry anymore. It has been changing for years, and like everything these days, at a rapid pace. Unfortunately the big manufacturers are full of inertia and there is nowhere near enough torque in the teams driving them to change direction.

To quote Friedman; “somebody ought to call Steve Jobs, who doesn’t need to be bribed to do innovation, and ask him if he’d like to do national service and run a car company for a year. I’d bet it wouldn’t take him much longer than that to come up with the G.M. iCar.”

While I think Jobs may need just a bit more than a year to turn things around ….. maybe two years. He is the man for the Job.

Would he want to do it … who knows. His job at Apple is done. So he can relax. Retirement has been spoken about, as well as his premature demise in a leaked pre-prepared obituary. The analyst’s estimation of the effect on Apple upon his death or retirement is 20 billion dollars. Not bad to know what you are worth.

The trouble with current global business model is that there are not enough Steve Jobs and too many Sol Trujillos. One is paid less than his worth and returns a profit. The other is paid virtually more than the company he runs makes. Imagine if Jobs took his traditional $1 salary plus share deal in GM. Also we would get to see Wagoner being shown the door… a CEO made responsible and shown consequences…. That is something we don’t see enough of.

The automotive industry has had its fair share of great leaders. But there aren’t many around at the moment…. and it would appear none of them are in America. Germany has the family Piech, France has Ghosn and Italy has Montezemolo. If we look at Ferrari individually it has had far more than its quota of 1000hp individuals and 1000nM teams. Ferrari himself, Montezemolo, Todt, Schumacher…. All amazing team builders and powerful individuals. What has happened to all the great American leaders? There are Jobs and Obama. Who else?

So I’ll add to Friedman’s call and raise with – “if he doesn’t take the job, GM is as good as dead.”

Here in Australia that will mean Shanghai Motors Holden.