The WSJ began an article lamenting the untimely death of Sergio Marchionne in this way: “In an industry beset by problems [such as] productivity, technological disruption, trade threats [etc], bosses need to create their own luck. For years to come, Sergio Marchionne will have set a high bar for what in possible [in the auto industry].”
I’ve featured Marchionne’s excellent organizational change management abilities in both ALL THE MOVING PARTS: ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT and THE BLAIR RULES: A STRATEGIC GUIDE TO ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT. I start my segment on Marchionne in this way (p. 86, ALL THE MOVING PARTS): “Sergio Marchionne took over ailing Fiat SpA as its CEO in July of 2004, at a time when chaos reigned supreme in the company. Two years later . . .sales were up 19 percent, the business was profitable, and the stock had doubled in one year.” There are six pages in the book devoted to the details of how Marchionne accomplished his miracles, or, as the WSJ noted, his “high bar.” He later took over the merger of Chrysler and Fiat, making them both far stronger companies in the process. In fact, Marchionne is viewed as having saved Chrysler, as well as Fiat – quite an accomplishment for one manager’s life and career. Here’s to the industry’s ability to learn from the measurement standards that Marchionne set.