Principles and Practices
I had the opportunity to hear Alan Mulally, former president of the Ford Motor Company, speak at a conference this past summer. The title of “Working Together” is his and his story is one that we can all learn from. Alan was the first outsider brought in to run Ford. As such, he had a lot of proving to do and Ford needed some turning around. He started his story by telling how he was picked up from the airport in a Land Rover and when he entered the executive parking lot he noted that there were very few if any Fords parked there. His key word here was trust the process, an interesting thought that we will explore further.
Alan had a simple strategy in concept but one that is not necessarily easy to execute. He started with people. People always need to be first. Evaluate your people, train your people, change out those you must but start by truly caring about them. Once this is in place then make sure everyone is included in the plan and has an opportunity to participate in the success being generate. If someone is not really participating in the plan; then what are they really doing and why are they doing it?
The next aspect was to create a compelling vision for success, develop a comprehensive strategy and then relentlessly implement it. Where do most strategies fail? Is it the plan? Or is it the execution? The reality is that most plans fail due to execution. So relentlessly pursue execution but make sure there is only one plan that you are executing. Over communicate the plan; you have everyone involved so make sure they all understand the plan.
Make the plan a part of the daily DNA of the organization. Create sub goals; create leading indicators of success; then create a scorecard to make sure you are actually tracking toward the goal. Focus on facts and data no impressions. Create a find a way attitude toward the fulfillment of the plan. Respect people’s opinions, listen to them, help them understand the plan but at the end of the day there is only one plan and everyone needs to trust the plan and move toward it.
The last thing Allan emphasized was to have fun and enjoy the journey together. If everyone is on the same page, moving toward the same goal, it is easy to celebrate each other’s successes along the way. Make sure you stop and celebrate each milestone, because if it is truly people first then you need to show them you care and that what they are doing is important.
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