Imagine you can time travel and are dropped from a helicopter onto the Titanic (James Bond like). The ship is full steam ahead rapidly approaching an iceberg in the distance. The passengers are partying oblivious to the danger ahead, even worse so is the captain and crew. It’s your job to avoid the iceberg and turn the ship around, how do you achieve the seemingly impossible?
Well, it’s not that hard if you are Alan Mulally and you have done it before (with Boeing after 911 that time). Alan used his remarkably simple “Working Together” system and “BPR” (Business Plan Review) process to save the Ford Motor Company from going bankrupt in 2008 when it was just months away from running out of cash. Without Alan there would be no Ford Rangers on our roads today! (Hybrid and Electric Rangers are on the way)
When Bill Ford Jnr (Henry Ford’s great grandson) invited Alan Mulally to join the company as CEO, Ford was in the process of posting a $12B loss. Within 3 years the company was again profitable going on to post record profits, paying all employees a US$8,800 bonus, lifting share values from $1.01 to over $18 per share. Even more impressive, employee engagement scores went from 42% to 91%.
I highly recommend reading “American Icon” which details the story and reads like a business thriller. To me this is an inspiring story as it shows that whatever the size of our organisation, if we can get everybody aligned using apply good principles and practices, then any change is possible.
Alan is a great fan of Dale Carnegies principles we have collaborated with him to incorporate his Working Together principles in our senior leadership programme, Leadership Training for Results (next programme 6th September in Cambridge)
This Take Command podcast is an interview of Alan Mulally by Dale Carnegie’s CEO Joe Hart.