6 Leadership Tips From Ford CEO Alan Mulally
"Leadership means pulling everybody together around a compelling vision," Mulally said. Of course his "One Ford" vision is by now well-known. To ensure that it remains so, many Ford employees carry plastic cards on which the vision is carefully detailed. The card provides definitions of "one team," "one plan" and "one goal," with the goal being: "An exciting, viable Ford delivering profitable growth for all."
Don't Just Have a Vision: Have a Plan to Implement It
Vision alone is insufficient. You must "pull everybody together around a strategy to implement that compelling vision," Mulally said. "Have a really clear plan for delivering it, one with really clear performance metrics so that everybody knows what they are. That way, in the areas where you're not on plan, everybody can work together. That's about the relentless of implementation."
The back of the plastic "One Ford" cards lays out 16 "expected behaviors" for Ford employees. They include "ensure process discipline," "Have a 'can do, find a way' attitude and emotional resilience" and "set high expectations and inspire others."
When Problems Arise, Disclose Them
"When you run into an issue, trust the process," Mulally said. "Share them with everybody. Then, collectively, you're going to find a way to fix them.
At a weekly Thursday morning management meeting, Mulally said, everyone is encouraged to disclose whatever has gone wrong. "We celebrate every issue that one might consider to be a problem," he said. "When you're off plan or something happens, we celebrate that as a gem. Meaning: 'I'm glad we know, thank you very much.'
"Facts and data," Mulally said. "The data sets you free."
This is where "Alan being Alan" comes into play.
Mulally "trusts his people," said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president for global marketing, sales and service. "He gives you responsibility and lets you run."
Said Mulally: "People are first. The main thing about (implementing) a compelling vision is to include everybody -- pull everybody together around the plan to implement a compelling vision."
As an example, Mulally cited an event from his days as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, where he presided over development of the 777. When the first plane came off the assembly line, each employee who was involved with the project signed a banner that was attached to the section they worked on.