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Ford and the EV split, Stellantis and a few more stumbles
Episode 6410th March 2022 • Finding Gravitas • Jan Griffiths
00:00:00 00:20:09

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In this episode, Jan covers a few of the noteworthy topics in the automotive industry and how they relate to leadership.

👉 Ford announcement on the EV split, how will this work?

👉 Stellantis and a few more stumbles 🤦🏻‍♀️

👉 "A golf club to a tennis match" Stephen M.R. Covey on command & control leadership

👉 Surprise guest coming.......

👉 A new podcast is on the way - check it out here, it officially launches March 21

Episodes referenced in this episode:-

Stefan Krause

Doug Conant

Articles referenced in this episode:-

Ford separating EV business from ICE vehicles

Tavares: Suppliers will need to eat cost to keep EVs affordable

Stellantis CEO, UAW spar over worker absenteeism after robust 2021 earnings report

Boost employee engagement with an internal podcast by Gravitas Detroit, learn more here.

Meet your host Jan Griffiths and get ready to be inspired in this video short 

Transcripts

Dietrich:

Welcome to the Finding Gravitas podcast. It's time to stop trying to fit someone else's mold and step into the world of authentic leadership. Connect with that irresistible force that is Gravitas. Your host, Jan Griffiths will guide you through an exploration into exactly what this elusive quality means and how you can get it. Now, let's join Jan on the quest for Gravitas.

Jan Griffiths:

Today, I want to share my thoughts on the recent announcements in the automotive industry, and what they mean as regards to leadership in the industry. Because we all know that what happens at the OEM level tends to filter down throughout the entire supply chain. Before that, I'd like to first of all say thank you, to you, my beloved Finding Gravitas audience, for all the feedback from Stellantis, what the **** episode, it seems like that really resonated with you, it certainly struck a nerve, and I'm thrilled to be able to provide a platform for your voice, the voice of the automotive supply chain, to be heard loud and clear. You know, I spent decades of my life living in fear of displeasing or upsetting the OEMs. And I no longer have that fear. I'm leading a mission driven business, and I'm not for everyone. And that's okay. Some people asked me, was I concerned about any sort of pushback or feedback from Stellantis after publishing that episode, and I smiled, and I'm not gonna lie, there was a moment where I had a moment of hesitation. But look, Stellantis, I'm pretty sure is never going to hire me to do any work for them. Our culture, and our value system is just not aligned. And I don't want to live my life in fear of what people may think of me. I'm way beyond that now. And the things that I shared in that episode, were my thoughts, my perspective, based on all of my experience and the data that I had around me, and it seemed to resonate. And as long as that continues, then I'm going to keep doing it.

Jan Griffiths:

And so I'm glad to be able to provide that platform, the podcast platform, to talk about the things that we often think about and leave unsaid. May we talk about in private. In some of the feedback, somebody called me the Joe Rogan of the auto supply base, and that's okay by me cuz he's that guy, right, that asks the difficult questions, encourages different viewpoints. And let's face it, authentic leadership is all about being transparent, and asking the right questions. So bring it on, keep the feedback coming. And if you feel moved to do this, please drop us a rating or review on iTunes. That would be great. And stay through this entire episode, because I've got some exciting news at the end. Alright, let's get into it. Let's start with Ford. Ford recently announced that they were splitting the business up into two very distinct business units separating its internal combustion and EV businesses. I applaud that bold move, to stand back and recognize that the legacy organization is not going to get you where you need to be in the future. And then take action to split the business into two. Wow, that's take some guts.

Jan Griffiths:

And it reminds me a lot of my interview with Stefan Krause. And if you don't know Stefan Krause, Stefan has a deep rich experience of both OEMs and EV startups. He was previously Head of Sales for BMW, Europe, CFO of Deutsche Bank, and then he was with Faraday and CEO of Canoo, and on and on, and now he's a CEO of MOOV and double o v. So he knows a thing or two about both sides of this, the traditional OEM and the EV startup.

Jan Griffiths:

He understands the challenges of the legacy business, and then what it takes to run a startup in California. And I asked him in our interview specifically, I said to him, Stefan, what advice would you give traditional OEMs and he said this and I quote, to recognize that it is a legacy business and not hold on to it too long.

Jan Griffiths:

and to start preparing yourself on how you're going to down manage your legacy business in a smart and considerate manner. The job in the legacy business is different than when you have a future business to develop. For too long companies are defending the legacy business as something they track until it gets too late. They should start thinking about how to properly and carefully manage the new business to grow.

Jan Griffiths:

And he's exactly right. And it seems to me that's exactly what Ford is doing. And I applaud Farley for making this move. In any automotive news article for all he says, in his words, our legacy organization has been holding us back, we had to change. But how exactly is that going to work?

Jan Griffiths:

There's a quote from Ford CFO in the same automotive news article from John Lawler. And he said that by making the most of existing capabilities, adding new skills wherever they're needed, simplifying processes and lowering costs.

Jan Griffiths:

Okay, making the most of existing capabilities and simplifying processes. What does that really mean?

Jan Griffiths:

If you're tier one right now, and you're going to supply both the legacy business and the EV business? Does that mean you're going to have two different sets of terms and conditions? Or are they not changing? Are you going to have different ways of managing the supplier relationships? Or is that not changing? Will the program launch process be the same? Because I am pretty sure that the legacy process that we have today in this industry is not going to be the program launch process that will ensure a successful launch of EV product? Or will all the legacy systems seep over into EV and the back end won't be all that much different?

Jan Griffiths:

I am really interested to see how all of this will work out.

Jan Griffiths:

But how do you do that when you're dealing with a supply base, that's, for the most part going to supply both business units. I would imagine of course, there's some technology that's required for the EV, that will be unique to the EV. But there will be suppliers that will will crossover into both businesses.

Jan Griffiths:

Trust is a thread that runs through all of this, it starts with trust in the marketplace in the product. There's still a lot of range anxiety out there. And then trust shows up again in the workplace, in the workplace culture. Do we trust, inspire and empower people? Really? Do we trust all the stakeholders in the process, including the supply base?

Jan Griffiths:

Hmm. Because the mindset for the new business surely will have to be based on trust and revolve around the traits of authentic leadership. It all has to change. And it all starts with the leadership model. So is the leadership model for the legacy business going to be different to the leadership and the culture of the new EV business? Are we going to lead with compliance as we have done in the past all with it conviction.

Jan Griffiths:

In the words of Stephen M.R. Covey, following a command and control leadership model, which, you know, we tend to gravitate to in automotive, in today's world is like bringing a golf club to a tennis match. So that would imply that we need a very different style of leadership for this new Evie business. And how is that going to play out in the same company with some of the same suppliers. Ohh.. I'm very interested to know. But hey, at the end of the day, good move Ford Motor Company, bold move. I'm thrilled to see it happen, and I can't wait to see what's going to happen next.

Jan Griffiths:

Now, let's talk about Stellantis. Oh, Stellantis, What have you done now? Stellantis reported record profits 15.2 billion in 2021. I don't know how you can with a straight face report 15.2 billion in profits, at the same time, published some of the most strict and severe terms and conditions for the supply base that the industry has ever seen. And then it gets worse.

Jan Griffiths:

In addition to that, Stellantis wants the supply base to carry more costs in the years ahead. And suppliers will have to be significant contributors to the quest to build attainable EVs. It's a quote taken directly from Mr. Tavares. I don't know about you, but that doesn't inspire me to want to do anything for scientists, let alone support them on their EV quest, but I'm sure there's somebody out there that wants to do that. And as if that wasn't enough, on February, the 23rd, Automotive News reported that Tavares said that absenteeism at US factories outpaces the rest of the world.

Jan Griffiths:

So again, this is very indicative to me of a command and control type model, where it's all about the numbers and shareholder value. It's not about stakeholders, meaning all of the stakeholders. This is an ecosystem that we're into. Now, this is not command and control. And it's all about the shareholder. It's about employees and suppliers, we have to consider all of it. It's not just about making the numbers and reporting this great profit number, because that won't sustain that will not sustain in the future. This makes me think about the words of my friend, Doug Conant, former CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, and he says this, "To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace."

Jan Griffiths:

Mr. Tavares goes on to talk about attracting talent into Stellantis. And he says, and I quote, they're receiving tons of resumes because our company is conveying a message of change a message of bold thinking and message of flexibility to the remote working and a message of shifting to being an automotive tech company that's attracting a lot of talents.

Jan Griffiths:

And he goes on to say that people do not see Stellantis as a dinosaur. Oh, I'm not so sure, Mr. Tavares, great, you're able to attract new talent, fabulous! But you have to be able to keep them and you have to engage them. Employee engagement is going to be critical. You have to treat them with respect. You have to inspire them, you have to nurture them. Command and control leadership is dead. It is the dinosaur and it is extinct. So please stop using it.

Jan Griffiths:

Ohh I almost got emotional there.

Jan Griffiths:

And he took the Campbell Soup Company which was on its ass and he took employee engagement from 4:1 to 77:1 and completely turned that business around being one of the top performers in the industry.

Jan Griffiths:

He knows how to balance focusing on the numbers, the performance of the business, and the people, you can't do one without the other. So that's enough of that. If command and control is dead, then what? Where do we go? What's next? I would say that it's authentic leadership. That's the way to lead in the future. We need collaboration, we need authenticity, we need vulnerability. We need trust, we need to drive out the fear of the relationships that we have with all of our stakeholders. We need everybody to work together in a vibrant, living, breathing ecosystem. To be able to move this industry forward. I have to find the 21 traits of authentic leadership as a starting point, with an easy to digest documents in an online course. And I recently interviewed a man who has spent the last five years really most of his life if you think about it, researching why command and control is dead and exactly what type of leadership will allow us to thrive in the future.

Jan Griffiths:

And that man is Stephen, M.R. Covey. Stephen Covey, you know, the Seven Habits guy, the Speed of Trust guy, Franklin Covey guy. Well, one of the top leadership minds of the century probably has written a new book, and it's called Trust and Inspire Leadership, and it will be available April 5th, I'll drop a link in the show notes.

Jan Griffiths:

Stephen provides a direct comparison between command and control leadership and trust and inspire leadership. He provides tons of both qualitative and quantitative data, you're going to love it.

Jan Griffiths:

He recognizes. While the world has changed our style of leadership has not mostly it is an organization's faced with the new disrupting challenges continue to operate from this base of command and control. And in this book, Stephen offers a transformative approach for the kind of leadership we need to move toward today. And he calls it trust and inspire.

Jan Griffiths:

And I love it. And I've read the book, I was fortunate enough to get an advanced copy. And here's a surprise, a special treat for you. I have interviewed Stephen on this book, specifically as it relates to the automotive industry. And that episode will be released on March 24th. And after you listen to that, you'll want to rush out and get that book it is right on and it is perfect for the time that we're at right now, in the age of transformation for the automotive industry.

Jan Griffiths:

In addition to that, I am pleased to announce that I'm co-hosting a new podcast produced by QAD and Quistem. It's called Automotive Supply Chain Prophets. Prophets spelled P-R-O-P-H-E-T-S. And along with your co-hosts, Terry Onica from QAD and Cathy Fisher of Quistem. We'll be going deep into what's happening in the supply chain to help you recognize, prepare for and profit from whatever comes next. And the tagline for the podcast is this, "Because supply chain is where the money is." And boy, is that true? And that podcast releases March 21st.

Jan Griffiths:

So that's it for this episode. Thank you my loyal audience for your continued support and for joining me on the quest for Gravitas. We need a place where authentic leadership can thrive, where people can thrive with the auto industry can thrive. Let's change the way we lead right now. For ourselves, for our future, and for our children. Have a great one!

Dietrich:

We love feedback. Email Jan directly at jan@gravitasdetroit.com to tell us about your journey into authentic leadership. We want the show to be meaningful to you. So leave a comment on what you thought of today's episode and let us know if there's any topics that should be covered in future episodes.