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Jim Luckman is quick to tell you that he absolutely loves solving big problems, in fact he finds them fascinating. “The tougher the problem, the better I like it,” he says. “In almost every organization where I have worked, my associates have told me that when they have had a big problem, they brought it to me.”
And, because he was willing to take on these difficult tasks, he has been blessed to be a part of solving some of the bigger technological and management puzzles of our time. For example, Jim was the lead product engineer responsible for developing the first digital computer on a car, a 1977 Oldsmobile Toronado. He would later be a vital member of a General Motors team that designed the first computers installed on all cars to meet 1981 emission standards.
He began his management education by being thrown into the deep end of the pool. He had grown up in the traditional management structure at GM, but then was asked to take on the role of Plant Manager in a troubled facility with deep schisms between management and the unions. He was wholly unprepared for what he found there. “I had to learn as I was going along,” he says, “And, that experience led to my interest in transforming organizations, a subject that still fascinates me today.”