THE SPEECH: Upbeat but showing signs of frustration, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson told employees Thursday that he's trying to change GM's antiquated culture by wiping out fiefdoms. He urged workers to fix problems on their own without being told, and said the company is making progress.

THE AUDIENCE: Akerson spoke for about an hour at a town hall meeting that also was broadcast via conference call. It gave him a chance to reassure the rank-and-file after a series of management changes and disappointing second-quarter earnings. A participant on the call allowed an Associated Press reporter to listen.

THE IMPACT: Akerson said he hopes the company will be structured much differently in four years so it's more focused on brands and customers. "So get ready. Change is inevitable," he said.