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The Leadership Genius of Alfred P. Sloan

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The Leadership Genius of Alfred P. Sloan

Invaluable Lessons on Business, Management, and Leadership for Today's Managers


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Alfred P. Sloan Jr. made General Motors into America`s largest corporation. Then, General Motors helped build America.

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


Alfred P. Sloan’s achievements during his 42-year career at General Motors went far beyond manufacturing and selling popular cars. He built GM into a world-changing corporation and reshaped American management by using critical thinking and democratic principles. Author Allyn Freeman puts Sloan into his proper historical and corporate context, showing how bold and innovative his management style was for its time. Freeman builds the book around Sloan, but weaves in modern examples that explain how other businesses have applied Sloan’s practices. While these examples are interesting, they sometimes distract from Sloan’s unusual and powerful story. highly recommends this book to managers and business strategists looking for techniques and guidance from one of America’s greatest corporate leaders. It’s also good reading for people who are interested in corporate history. This is an exceptional book about an exceptional man.


"A Car for Every Price and Purpose"

During the 42 years that Alfred P. Sloan Jr. (1875-1965) ran General Motors, he transformed not only the U.S. automobile industry but also the way corporate executives worldwide managed their businesses.

Sloan was president of the Hyatt Roller Bearing Company when General Motors acquired it in 1916. GM’s president, William Durant, appointed Sloan to lead GM’s new United Motor Company division. In 1920, Sloan became General Motors’ director of operations. He found GM organizationally and operationally flawed. The company had no rational management process. Favoritism governed hiring. Executives made decisions with no staff input. GM had five car divisions but only a 12% market share; Ford dominated 60% of the U.S. car market. Yet when Sloan studied Ford, he grew sure that it was vulnerable, because it did not offer drivers enough choices. Sloan created a new slogan for GM: "A car for every price and purpose." He became president of GM in 1923. Between 1923 and 1936, he increased GM’s market share to 43%, as Ford’s fell to 22%. Under Sloan’s leadership, General Motors became the world’s largest corporation.

"The Sloan System...

About the Author

Allyn Freeman is a writer, consultant and author of six business books. For 20 years, he has worked in qualitative research and management, consulting for numerous Fortune 500 companies. He heads an international consulting firm.

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