I get nervous when I hear the conversation about what needs to happen to "save Detroit." I'm going to stay away from the politics of the debate, I want to focus on the growth part. Today on several of the "Sunday Shows," I'm hearing the proponents of bailout say things like, "we already know what needs to be done, they're doing it at Toyota and Honda. We need to make more fuel efficient cars."
While Toyota, Honda, and several others certainly have made fuel efficient cars, and cars that are (clearly) more popular. However, if we listen to the proponents and follow their advice to "save" the industry, we're going to make the exact types of mistakes that we've made before - that is we are going to try to copy our way to success. Merely making the same types of cars as Toyota will give Detroit no more likelihood of success.
It's easy to focus on the end products of Toyota, and hard to focus on the causes. Toyota is one of the most forward thinking, aggressive, and disciplined businesses in the world. Their focus on lean manufacturing and lean design are critical causes of their success. Simply put, they run their businesses differently then Detroit. They know who their target buyers are, what they value, and how they feel. The understand that success yesterday doesn't mean success tomorrow - they are always looking at the world from their customer's viewpoint.
As I've written before, The Five Unbreakable Rules for Creating Demand mean that first and foremost you must focus maniacally on who your customer is (and who they are not) - then you must run your business.
I am not saying that Detroit cannot be saved. I'm not even saying that the government (unfortunately) doesn't need to play a role (I haven't made my mind up about that yet). What I'm saying is that if all we do is restructuring their business - without restructuring their approach to business; then we will fail.
The same is true for you.