Jim Taylor has been the CEO of Hummer since October of 2008. Prior to that, he was the General Manager of Cadillac. Since beginning his GM career in 1980 with GM of Canada Limited in Oshawa, Ontario as an industrial engineer, Jim Taylor progressed through several production and purchasing positions, including management positions at Saturn, Adam Opel, Worldwide Purchasing and GM Truck. Taylor was appointed Cadillac General Manager in 2004, and was responsible for the division’s global product, marketing and promotional activities.
Although Taylor is a skilled tactician and engineer, his creative side is exercised through music—he is a concert-level pianist. He also spends free time enjoying the open road on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
Question: What is the best business advice you ever received?
Taylor: Best advice… I’ve had a lot of mentors and bosses, some good and some bad, it’s a good question if the… I think about for a second. I think the one that, you know, I like slogans. They are easy to remember and [IB] little bit [IB] somebody asked the same question and I think one that is very true and, you know, not corny and not just out of a book but [IB] in mind or start with [IB], I think works, you know, almost universally. And especially in senior management at large, complicated companies, I think is perfect advice that is… it may seem so simple but it’s not. Again, big companies that have a lot of variables and a lot of trade asset have to be made but you really have to decide where [IB] story back in ’98 [IB] where do we have to be? Where do you want to be? Who do we want to be? Until you answer those questions, you can’t work yourself back into any kind of product plan or marketing plan or financial plan, that’s really… the end is the start of all those strategies. And the second is from one of my bosses, specific bosses and it was urgency, action and empowerment. So you got to work everyday like it might be your last [IB] so, you know, the trade off of keeping [IB] which was always long term but operating everyday with a high sense of urgency, you know, actionable, make decisions, you know, don’t [IB] so… and the empowerment and you can do everything. So one of the talks that we’re going to hear this afternoon is focused a lot on that, you really have to empower people [IB] about it, you know, right people on the right bus and then, given the right tools [and they let them go]. If you think you can do it all, you’re grossly mistaken and you’re going to learn the hard way so those are a couple I’ve found to live by that worked.