One thing’s for sure around here: Life next week is not going to be the same as life this week.
Over the last four months, and especially in the last few weeks, I have come to develop an even deeper respect for the people I now have the privilege of calling colleagues – my fellow Saab employees.
It’s been a tough time here and I’ve faced my own personal challenges as part of that, but I’ve come to realise that I’m surrounded by veterans who have endured plenty of challenges in the past. Some of those challenges have lasted months, some years (heck, if they survived two decades inside GM’s decision matrix, they can survive anything).
More tests are to come this week.
As I write this, we are awaiting the release of our parent company’s mid-year financial reports, which will be published this afternoon. I have no doubt that there will be another outpouring of damaging headlines for Saab as a result of those reports. What else could one expect after spending almost half of that six-month period without making any cars? Whatever rare nuggets of optimistic news might be in those reports, the factory stoppage will most likely dominate the bottom line and the consequences will dominate the headlines here.
As with previous media outrages over management fees, executive pay and dealership loyalty, these headlines will prove to be a current-day outrage based on historical data. I don’t mean to downplay the severity of the results, but we’re already living with the effects of our first six months activity, right now.
No. Financial reports are not what’s foremost in my mind this week. In fact, the financial reports are not even on my personal radar. What’s important right now is the next 36 hours or so.
This week we have a hard, tight deadline from our employees’ unions. Our management team must find money for wages and salaries or the unions are likely to commence actions in the Swedish courts. This is a fast-closing situation and one that has real and immediate consequences.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the fact that our leadership have been working tirelessly on deals to get this company through the short term liquidity crisis that we face. We have long-term deals in place that we’re very confident about, but we need a short-term bridge to get us to those deals. That’s what they’ve been working on and that’s what will continue to be prominent in most Saab employees’ minds in the coming days.
I’ve still been at my desk every day because there have still been things to write about every day. The people I see here are concerned about the future, for sure, but there’s still a sense of camaraderie here – a shared sense of purpose and determination. Despite the troubles of recent times, people still believe in this company, our raison d’être and our growing product program. Some are taking steps to investigate options for the future. Such measures make sense at times like these. But the vast majority are hanging in there because they want to be part of Saab’s success.
So. Tonight we’ll all hunker down. I know the news will be poor and I know that much will be made of this in the media. I also know that in the overall scheme of things, it’s nowhere near as important as what has to come in the next few days.
As I said at the beginning. Either way, life next week will not be the same as life this week.