Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Management Lessons From Ford

Some people think that entrepreneurs cannot manage well. To that end, I'm recommending a terrific interview with Alan Mullaly, head of Ford Motor, which appeared in the New York Times on Sunday, September 6. It has so many nuggets of great advice on management and building an organization. It also has excellent personal advice for anyone who wants to advance their career.

Here is a brief excerpt and link to the article:

"One of my favorite stories is an analogy where this reporter stops by a construction site and he interviews three bricklayers. He asks the first bricklayer, “What are you doing?” And he says, “Well, I’m making a living laying these bricks.” The reporter says: “Oh, that’s great. That’s very noble.”

"He asks the next bricklayer, “What are you doing?” And he says, “Well, I am practicing the profession of bricklaying. I’m going to be the best bricklayer ever.”

"And the reporter asks the third bricklayer, “What are you doing?” And he says, “I’m developing a cathedral.”

"There is technical excellence and professionalism, but we all want to contribute to making a cathedral. And the more we feel that and we know what our part in it is, the more I think you can take the team performance to a whole other level of excellence."

To me an entrepreneur is building a cathedral. An entrepreneur always has to have the big vision in mind -- the end grand result. He or she can then turn that dream into something real by getting others to share the vision.

Planes, Cars and Cathedrals
Published: September 6, 2009
Ford’s chief executive says corporate leaders should articulate a compelling vision for their employees.


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