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Ford e-mail headed in wrong direction [by Michael Kinsman] Bill Ford thought he had a better idea.
Ford, the chairman and chief executive of
global competition in the car business makes
Ford Motor Co., recently decided the time
his job daunting.
was right to shake up his employees.
just as it had for most of the 20th Century. He could have made a challenge to every
Frankly, most of us wouldn’t want his job,
Ford employee to play a role in that, to bring
“Anyone who thinks or attempts to convince
or the sacrifices his family will make to al-
the brains, energy and spirit to work each
you that it’s business as usual at Ford is
low him to adequately tackle the company’s
day for the express purpose of making the
wrong and would best serve us all by pursu-
pany employees in an e-mail. “Our heritage
He has to be under enormous pressure. He
Companies - even the largest corporations
of innovation must be reclaimed and renewed
is the great hope of the Ford family that he
in the world - are really nothing more than a
or the greatness of our company will become
will be able to steer the automaker back to
bunch of people working together for a com-
part of our past. It’s that simple.”
In other words, it’s Bill’s way or the highway.
The odds certainly are against him accom-
That’s not just a succinct, glib description.
a smart man. The great-grandson of Henry
Yet, it makes no sense to lash out at Ford’s
You hope that deep down every executive
Ford went to college at Princeton and later
employees. These are the very same people
knows this and remembers it every day. It
obtained an MBA at Massachusetts Institute
he will need on his side if his revitalization
doesn’t matter how brilliant your chief ex-
plan is to be successful.
ecutive is, if he or she doesn’t have the ability
And, even with a bloodline to the pioneer au-
Ford isn’t the first executive to make this
tomaker, Bill Ford didn’t get his job because
mistake. It happens every day.
ing their interests elsewhere,” he told com-
Let’s start off by agreeing that Bill Ford is
to inspire those who work for them to pursue
he’s a nice guy or has a friendly smile. He’s known as a shrewd and innovative strategist.
Bill Ford probably knows that. But right now, Executives sometimes forget that all the
he should be saying that to his employees,
great business plans, strategies, resources
not casting threats over their future.
So why does he antagonize the members of
and successes are implemented by the
his company’s work force by inferring that
people who work for them. And, the more
they are part of the problem his corporation
motivated and inspired these employees
are, the more committed they will be to the company and its initiatives.
You have to give credit to Ford for stepping up to take on the challenge of righting
It would have made a lot more sense for Ford
the course of one of America’s greatest
to send an e-mail message to his employees
companies ever. But these are tough times
that candidly assesses the plight of the cor-
in the auto industry. Failure to properly ad-
poration. He would have discussed its glories
dress environmental concerns, hamstrung
of the past, the immense challenge of trying
by costly salary structures and benefits
to rebuild the company into an entity that
packages as its work force ages, and intense
would be able to thrive in the 21st Century
a common goal.
© Copley News Service
Published on Oct 30, 2012
Bill Ford is a smart man. He is a nice guy or has a friendly smile. He is known as a shrewd and innovative strategist. The great-grandson of...