Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. -Henry Ford
Several years ago I had the opportunity to consult with the senior team of Ford of Europe on a massive turnaround. After 12 CEOs in 22 years and as many different strategies, Ford of Europe was losing money and market share. Enter one of the best CEOs I have had the privilege to work with in my 35 year consulting career, Lewis Booth, a Ford executive who had previously been CEO of Mazda and South African Motors (a Ford company).
Lewis knew exactly what needed to be done; improve quality, focus on designing and building cars people wanted to buy, and get the senior team to work together. And working together as one team, instead of independent fiefdoms, created the real breakthrough. With all the information available and with transparency it became easy for the senior team to move the strategy forward. With great leadership (and great humour) Lewis and the team led a stunning turnaround.
Lewis is now Executive Vice President and CFO of Ford Corporate and his experience and skills, coupled with the vision, optimism, belief and leadership of CEO Alan Mulally, along with a committed executive team are creating one of the greatest corporate turnarounds on record. Everywhere you look there are business articles and presentations about Ford and its path to a successful turnaround. And the Ford story is rebuilding hope throughout American and the world that big companies can be well run.
One of the keys to the success of Ford is Mulally’s commitment to transparency, working together, breaking down silos, and focusing on the few key strategic imperatives. Contrast the way the Ford leadership team works together to how most companies are run, with the individual members of the senior team more focused on their own departmental goals and budgets than on moving the enterprise strategy forward. As a result there is little openness, little transparency, and lots of time wasted on budget squabbles. Sound familiar?
I guess that’s why Mulally is so focused on his vision of One Ford : One Team, One Plan, One Goal. Putting the overall strategy first and functional objectives second is the only way to win the long game.
Why not run your business like Ford? A word of caution. It takes real leadership, on everyone’s part!
Tight Lines . . .
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