Ideas are easy. Execution is hard. Every Friday I will share an idea that's been rolling around in my head that I have neither the time nor the where-with-all to execute. Remember, it's free, so take it for what it's worth.
Stay away from product planning.
A couple of weeks ago, Ed Whitacre appointed himself the head of product planning for GM. A lot of the car guys I know think it's a bad move, seeing as Whitacre has less than a year of experience in the auto industry. Yesterday, Nielsen released a study that confirms it.
According to the study, which reviewed 30 of the country's leading CPG marketers, companies with less senior management involvement in the new product process generate 80% more revenue from new products than those where senior managers are heavily involved in the process.
In my experience, when the head of a company gets involved in new products it usually ends up badly. Most CEOs are millionaires live in their own little world, and have absolutely no idea how the people who buy their products actually live. They cavalierly ignore well-researched consumer insights, pushing the project in the direction of their personal preferences, and no one on the project team has the authority to challenge his ego.
GM has done a lot of things right since Big Ed took over. Nothing's more important than the product, however. And by putting himself in charge of product planning, he's putting our investment at great risk.