126 episodes

Prepare yourself, your team, and your business for the future of automotive.
We are all evolving the products we make, have you thought about the leadership model to get us there?
In-depth interviews with leaders, authors, and thought leaders, provide the insights you need.
This podcast is brought to you by Gravitas Detroit.

The Automotive Leaders Podcast Jan Griffiths

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 26 Ratings

Prepare yourself, your team, and your business for the future of automotive.
We are all evolving the products we make, have you thought about the leadership model to get us there?
In-depth interviews with leaders, authors, and thought leaders, provide the insights you need.
This podcast is brought to you by Gravitas Detroit.

    Bridging Startup Culture and Traditional Auto with Ted Serbinski

    Bridging Startup Culture and Traditional Auto with Ted Serbinski

    This episode is sponsored by Lockton, click here to learn more
    Watch the full video on YouTube - click here
    In this episode of the Automotive Leaders Podcast, host Jan Griffiths dives into the changing dynamics between traditional automotive companies and tech startups, featuring guest Ted Serbinski, a pioneering figure in Detroit's startup ecosystem.
    Ted opens up about his journey, shaped by a military upbringing and a rebellious spirit. He recounts his move to Detroit in 2011, where he played a crucial role in establishing Detroit Techstars and building a collaborative environment among automotive giants and tech startups.
    Offering advice to tier-one suppliers struggling to engage with startups, Ted highlights the importance of patience and a long-term vision. He notes that innovation takes time, and results aren't immediate. He advises against the tendency to reorganize frequently, which can disrupt the growth of innovative ideas.
    When asked about the most vital trait for automotive industry leaders, Ted emphasizes trustworthiness. He believes building authentic relationships is crucial for long-term collaboration and success in the startup world.
    Ted introduces his current venture, HAAS Alert, a startup in the connected vehicle space. The company, founded in 2015, aims to enhance road safety by sending digital alerts from emergency vehicles to nearby drivers. Ted shares the story of HAAS Alert's inception and its journey to becoming a production-ready solution in the automotive industry.
    Reflecting on the visionary approach of leaders like Dan Gilbert, who believed in Detroit's potential even during its downturn, Ted emphasizes the importance of believing in and trusting the innovation process rather than relying solely on measurable metrics.
    Ted's passion for innovation and deep understanding of the startup and automotive world make his insights important for anyone looking to thrive at this intersection.
    Themes discussed in this episode:
    Bridging the gap between startup culture and traditional automotive practicesFostering trust and long-term vision for successful collaborations between startups and established companiesStrategies for tier-one suppliers to connect with startupsThe evolution and growth of Detroit's tech scene, particularly through initiatives like Techstars and the impact of community and collaboration in driving progressThe pivotal role of trust in successful leadership and partnershipsNavigating the differences and intersections between corporate and startup environmentsIntegrating innovative startup technology within traditional automotive frameworksEmbracing continuous learning and a growth mindset to tackle the challenges of the startup ecosystem and innovation.
    Featured: Ted Serbinski 
    What he does: Ted Serbinski is a tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist dedicated to investing in founders who are shaping the future of transportation. Currently, he serves as the Chief of Staff & Detroit General Manager of HAAS Alert, a company focused on advancing automotive safety through real-time alerts. After relocating from San Francisco to Detroit in 2011, Ted played a crucial role in catalyzing the Detroit startup scene. His work has significantly influenced Detroit's tech scene, earning him multiple recognitions for his contributions to economic growth and innovation.
    On leadership: “As a leader, I think of...

    • 35 min
    The WRI Study 2024: Toyota's Surge, Ford's Decline

    The WRI Study 2024: Toyota's Surge, Ford's Decline

    This episode is sponsored by Lockton, click here to learn more
    Watch the full video on YouTube - click here
    In this episode of the Automotive Leaders Podcast, host Jan Griffiths dives into the findings of the 24th Annual North American Automotive OEM and Supplier Working Relations Index (WRI) with guests Dave Andrea of Plante Moran, who led the study, and Sig Huber, Chief Commercial Officer for ELM Analytics.
    Dave starts by giving a macro-level overview of the industry's recent challenges, from electrification and new market competitors to supply chain disruptions and cost inflation. Despite these hurdles, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and General Motors have emerged as top performers in the WRI. Toyota, in particular, saw another significant 30-point increase, reflecting their strong culture of continuous improvement and respect for people, known as The Toyota Way.
    They discuss General Motors, which has shown steady improvement despite leadership changes. Dave credits the company’s progress to the consistent focus on supplier relations by successive Vice Presidents of Purchasing. Sig emphasizes that GM's efforts under leaders like Steve Kiefer have embedded supplier relationship management deeply into the company’s culture.
    Jan and Dave then address the decline in Ford’s ratings, attributing it to organizational challenges and a more command-and-control purchasing style. Sig warns that Ford’s recent UAW negotiations and slower-than-expected EV adoption rates add to their struggles.
    On a brighter note, Stellantis shows signs of improvement under Marlo Vitous’s leadership despite a rocky past with supplier relations. However, Jan questions how much Stellantis's top executives value the WRI.
    In their closing comments, Dave and Sig reflect on the industry's future and the need for change. Dave emphasizes adapting business practices to navigate uncertain technology trends and regulatory issues. Sig highlights the industry's resilience, stressing that collaboration and trust with suppliers are crucial for overcoming challenges.
    Themes discussed in this episode:
    Understanding the significance of the Automotive OEM-Supplier Working Relations Index (WRI) Study as a tool for assessing industry performance and supplier relationsAddressing electrification, supply chain disruptions, and cost inflation and their impact on OEM-supplier relationshipAnalyzing the cultural and organizational elements that contribute to Toyota's enduring success, including continuous improvement, respect for people, and long-term relationship-buildingThe influence of leadership changes, such as Vice Presidents of Purchasing, on supplier relations and organizational performanceFord's decline in WRI scores and the organizational issues contributing to challenges in supplier relations and performanceThe role of effective communication in fostering strong relationships between OEMs and suppliers.The importance of trust and collaboration between OEMs and suppliers in navigating future challenges.

    Featured guest: Dave Andrea
    What he does: Dave Andrea leads the a href="https://www.plantemoran.com/"...

    • 38 min
    Taking a break

    Taking a break

    This episode is sponsored by Lockton, click here to learn more
    In this episode, Jan Griffiths announces she is taking a well-deserved break to head back to her homeland, Wales. She reflects on this year, filled with unexpected achievements like becoming an author and launching AutoCulture 2.0. Amidst the highs of success, Jan opens up about the inevitable crash that followed, shedding light on the less glamorous side of achievement.
    Despite the challenges, the overwhelming support for her book on social media and its rapid rise to the top of Amazon's charts in the leadership category left Jan grateful for the dialogue it sparked on culture change in the automotive industry.
    With the audiobook and Kindle versions released and the paperback version still available, Jan eagerly invites feedback from listeners, encouraging them to engage in conversations with their teams about the book's insights. She shares her email, jan@gravitasdetroit.com, welcoming thoughts and questions.
    For now, Jan invites listeners to tune in to another podcast she co-hosts and produces, Auto Supply Chain Prophets, where recent guest Shiv Taylor, VP of Enterprise Technology at Volta Trucks, shares valuable insights on the company's revival after facing bankruptcy.
    Themes discussed in this episode:
    The importance of taking breaks to recharge and reflect on both personal and professional aspects of lifeEmbracing both the highs and lows of achievementFostering dialogue and community engagement around topics like culture and leadershipThe value of learning from experiences, both positive and challenging, for personal and professional growth
    Your Host
    Jan Griffiths is the architect of cultural change in the automotive industry. As the President & Founder of Gravitas Detroit, Jan brings a wealth of expertise and a passion for transforming company cultures. Additionally, she is the host of the Automotive Leaders Podcast, where she shares insightful conversations with industry visionaries. Jan is also the author of AutoCulture 2.0, a groundbreaking book that challenges the traditional leadership model prevalent in the automotive world. With her extensive experience and commitment to fostering positive change, Jan is at the forefront of revolutionizing the automotive landscape. Reach out to her at Jan@gravitasdetroit.com
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Listen to the AutoCulture 2.0 Book Launch speech.Grab a copy of AutoCulture 2.0: Leading with GravitasVolta Truck's Electrifying Comeback to EV Business
    Mentioned in this episode:
    This episode is sponsored by Lockton, click here to learn more

    • 6 min
    AutoCulture 2.0 Book Launch

    AutoCulture 2.0 Book Launch

    This episode is sponsored by Lockton, click here to learn more
    Watch the full book launch speech on YouTube - click here
    In this special episode, we'll take you through the electrifying launch event of the book AutoCulture 2.0: Leading with Gravitas, where Jan Griffiths, the visionary force behind Gravitas Detroit, takes center stage.
    Jan shares a heartfelt reflection on the significance of the book launch. Surrounded by industry veterans, friends, and supporters, she describes it as the best night of her life, where everything in her career and life converged. 
    Jan starts her speech by diving straight into the core issue: the automotive industry's transformation. She highlights the flurry of discussions around technological advancements but questions the neglect of culture in these conversations. Jan challenges the traditional leadership model and advocates for authentic leadership rooted in trust and inspiration, drawing from Stephen M. R. Covey's wisdom.
    Jan weaves in stories from influential figures like Sandy Stojkovski, Dr. Andy Palmer, Stefan Krause, and Jessica Robinson, illustrating the essence of authentic leadership. Through their experiences, Jan underscores the urgent need for a cultural revolution in the automotive industry.
    Jan reflects on Tesla and BYD's remarkable journeys from skepticism to success. She warns against the Blockbuster fate, urging a culture that nurtures innovation instead of stifling it with outdated practices.
    With unwavering determination, she calls on the audience to take action and become agents of change in an industry on the verge of a revolution.
    Themes discussed in this episode:
    Revolutionizing leadership and workplace culture in the automotive industryThe essence of authentic leadership and its significance in driving positive change Learning from visionary leaders in the automotive sectorThe importance of creating safe spaces where employees can freely express their ideas without fear of judgment or backlashConfronting the common challenges entrenched in traditional corporate culturesTransitioning from top-down management to a more people-centered approachCultivating an environment that nurtures innovationElevating the voices and contributions of every employee through inclusive communication and community-building efforts
    Your Host
    Jan Griffiths is the architect of cultural change in the automotive industry. As the President & Founder of Gravitas Detroit, Jan brings a wealth of expertise and a passion for transforming company cultures. Additionally, she is the host of Automotive Leaders Podcast, where she shares insightful conversations with industry visionaries. Jan is also the author of AutoCulture 2.0, a groundbreaking book that challenges the traditional leadership model prevalent in the automotive world. With her extensive experience and commitment to fostering positive change, Jan is at the forefront of revolutionizing the automotive landscape. Reach out to her at Jan@gravitasdetroit.com
    Mentioned in this episode:
    a href="https://bit.ly/AutoCulture2" rel="noopener...

    • 33 min
    Martin Fischer on Shaping ZF's Automotive Leadership and Culture

    Martin Fischer on Shaping ZF's Automotive Leadership and Culture

    This episode is sponsored by Lockton, click here to learn more
    Watch the full video on YouTube - click here
    Meet Martin Fischer, a member of the ZF Group Board of Management and the President of ZF Group Americas. In this episode of the Automotive Leaders Podcast, we'll discuss his views on automotive leadership and culture and how they play a vital role in his position at ZF Group. 
    Martin talks about his leadership style and explains why aligning personal and professional values is essential to creating a consistent leadership identity. Reflecting on his intercultural experiences, Martin advises integrating the strengths of traditional German-style leadership and people-focused leadership styles for organizational success.
    Martin gives a glimpse into ZF's culture transformation journey, including their "culture pioneers" program, which empowers employees to drive cultural improvements from the ground up. Martin describes "The ZF Way" as ZF's framework for running the company and identifies its core principles as part of its roadmap for success.
    Discussing the emergence of EV startups in the automotive industry, Martin says ZF sees this change as an opportunity for learning and collaboration, sharing the approach they took with these startups and its positive impact on innovation.
    Martin's role as chairman of MEMA OES Group takes center stage. His explanation of his motivation to give back to the industry speaks volumes about his commitment to collective progress beyond the confines of ZF.
    Jan asks Martin, "What is the biggest challenge you see in this transformation?" Martin points out that uncertainty is affecting the entire industry. Martin said investing in new tech like EVs comes with risks, and solutions are needed to avoid supply chain collapse during the transition period.
    Going personal, Jan wants to know what gets Martin out of bed in the morning. It turns out he's all about office life—meeting people, fixing problems, and getting that adrenaline rush from solving crises.
    Stay until the end of the episode to hear Martin's advice for automotive businesses dealing with the industry's changes.
    Themes discussed in this episode:
    Exploring a leadership style that is deeply rooted in values instilled by upbringingWhy we should create a safe space for innovation and growth within teamsImportance of collaboration in driving progress, both within ZF and across the automotive sectorHaving initiatives that empower employees to contribute to cultural improvement.Discussing the necessity of authenticity and the ability to connect with employees regardless of hierarchyUnderstanding ZF's methodologies and strategies for realizing its corporate visionExploring collaborative opportunities presented by emerging EV startups in the automotive industryHighlighting the importance of investing in education and innovation to drive industry electrificationThe importance of comprehending industry transformation and setting a clear vision for organizational direction
    Featured: Martin Fischer 
    What he does: With extensive management experience at Siemens VDO Automotive, Hella, and Borg Warner, Martin Fischer provides valuable expertise in his role as the President of ZF Group Americas and a member of ZF Group Board of...

    • 36 min
    Getting to Know Collin Shaw, the next President of MEMA Original Equipment Suppliers Group

    Getting to Know Collin Shaw, the next President of MEMA Original Equipment Suppliers Group

    This episode is sponsored by Lockton, click here to learn more
    Watch the full video on YouTube - click here
    In this episode of the Automotive Leaders Podcast, Jan Griffiths interviews Collin Shaw, the incoming President of MEMA Original Equipment Suppliers Group. They talk about leadership, transformation, and culture in the automotive industry.
    Collin shares his leadership philosophy: enjoying work, showing empathy, and building a solid team. He tells us how his early leadership role taught him the importance of guiding others toward success and how leadership isn't just about the leader but about empowering others to thrive.
    Collin identifies focus as the biggest challenge in the auto industry as we wrestle with electrification, software-defined vehicles, and supply chain disruptions. He stresses the need for leaders to provide a clear vision for the future and rally their teams around it to foster unity and direction.
    Discussing his new role in MEMA, Collin highlights the stability and strong leadership already in place. He emphasizes the need to understand current trends and member needs without " blowing things up." He aims to adapt and enhance existing foundations to serve members better and foster community engagement.
    Collin identifies vulnerability and empathy as crucial authentic leadership traits, especially in a multi-generational workforce. He underscores the importance of leaders admitting their limitations and fostering connections across diverse teams.
    On a personal note, Collin shares his passion for music and how it takes him off the stress of business life. Discussing the importance of mindset in setting the tone for the day, he stresses the importance of starting the day with meaningful connections and a sense of purpose, setting the stage for productivity and fulfillment in both personal and professional endeavors.
    Themes discussed in this episode:
    The ongoing transformation in the automotive industryLeadership philosophy that focuses on enjoying work, empathy towards employees, and team-buildingPersonal stories and experiences that shaped ideas of leadershipIdentifying focus as the primary challenge facing the automotive industry amidst various disruptions Building a community within organizations and associations like MEMA How Vulnerability and Accountability contribute to effective leadership The importance of starting the day with a positive mindset, fueled by meaningful interactions with family and a sense of purpose in work
    Featured: Collin Shaw 
    What he does: Incoming President of the MEMA Original Equipment Suppliers group. He initially joined MEMA as president of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) in early 2022. 
    On leadership: “The very first thing that I find to be important as a leader is: let's have fun, let's laugh. Now, second to that, I think it's important that you have empathy for those around you; you know, we all bring things to the table when it comes to leadership. We all have baggage, good or bad, and making sure that you're empathetic as a leader is vitally important to the success of your team.”
    Mentioned in this episode:
    Julie Fream to Depart MEMA, Collin Shaw Named as Her Successor, Effective April 1, 2024a href="https://www.hdaw.org/"...

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
26 Ratings

26 Ratings

jcright ,

UAW & Supply Chain

Great episode. Tor and Sig nailed it. Having been in the industry and now teaching Supply Chain you hit all the issues we have been discussing in class. This episode is going to be required listening for my classes. Great work Jan.

Chad Toms ,

Excellent Content!

Jan Griffiths is a well-connected Automotive industry veteran. She has amazing guests on her show and she has relevant & insightful conversations!

Well done Jan!

Kameshtheone ,

Very Engaging and Informative

One of the best podcast on Authentic Leadership. Great conversations that propel you to become a great leader

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